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How Do Customer Reviews Impact Ecommerce Sales?


Reviews and ratings for Ecommerce have grown into prominence in recent years.

With brands vying to win customers over with aggressive marketing, online reviews have become an important consideration for consumers. Over 88% of Ecommerce shoppers buy only after reading reviews of products. Product ratings and reviews secure the customer journey by giving them the confidence to complete the checkout process.

User-generated content provides valuable consumer insights. It helps Ecommerce retailers understand the needs of consumers. Brands can use this information to ideate, improve and innovate products or services, foster customer loyalty, and improve their business.

User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content created voluntarily by users. This includes reviews, images, videos, comments, and questions. Creating platforms for users to discuss the products and services that improve the relationship between a brand and its consumers.

quote about reviews and ratings

A Nielsen study undertaken to determine the Consumer Trust Index found that 92% of shoppers trust organic user-generated content more than traditional advertising. By outsourcing content creation to its consumers, brands can save time and cost and increase brand credibility. UGC, when leveraged smartly can be an asset to content marketers. At the outset, it might help to understand the motivation for people to create and share content for free.

  • Consumers like to share their opinions on products or services that they’ve bought. The internet provides a platform for them to express themselves and feel heard.
  • Even though consumers don’t get paid for user-generated content, they enjoy other incentives like social recognition and appreciation.
  • Some brands invite users to try their products and share their reviews with a specific hashtag and photo. In contests like these, a winner is chosen and gets gifts or coupons.

In general, people consume a lot of content before buying. But user reviews are not just for consumers. Let’s see the benefits brands can reap from User-Generated Content.

Shoppers read at least 10 online customer reviews before they feel they can trust a brand

Significance of Reviews

Reviews are able to garner trust because they represent personal and unbiased users’ experiences. Written by customers, they constitute unique content that search engines love. Naturally, a good number of Customer reviews will drive higher organic traffic to Ecommerce websites. There is a great demand for original content that equally impresses the customers and search engines. User-generated content is authentic and distinctive. Since it is created by customers, brands need not use much of their resources to build it. User-Generated Content is the solution to the ongoing search for original content. It is a steady stream of quality, searchable content for a brand’s website. User-Generated Content also helps brands learn about the latest trends and the preferences of their customers. 

We’ve analyzed and studied 500+ eCommerce stores, the majority of them were Shopify stores. However, given the huge amount of data we gathered, it should come as no surprise that the Shopify product reviews app improves trust in a brand, boosts conversion rates, and also gets more traffic from search engines. Since most customer journeys start on search engines, brands must leverage User Generated Content (their strongest tool for marketing) to power SEO and create social proof. Since most customer journeys start on search engines, brands must leverage User Generated Content (their strongest tool for marketing) to power SEO and create social proof.

In addition to how it influences SEO, customer reviews have an effect on driving real-world shoppers to trust-based purchase decisions. The Independent SaaS and SMB industry research studied factors that improve trust in website visitors, and here’s what they found: 

Reviews and ratings improves trust

How does the Review Collection Process Work?

Process for UGC

How User-Generated Content Can Boost SEO for Your Ecommerce Store?

Search Engines love fresh content. At the same time, the content ideation and creation process takes time and resources. It is not easy to continuously create new content for SEO. There is a great demand for original content that equally impresses the customers and search engines. User-generated content is authentic and distinctive. Since it is created by customers, brands need not use much of their resources to build it. User-generated content is the solution to the ongoing search for original content. It is a steady stream of quality, searchable content for a brand’s website. User-generated content also helps brands learn about the latest trends and the preferences of their customers. 

User-generated content plays a valuable role in SEO and marketing strategies. Here’s how it works:

Organically Strengthens SEO

Search engine optimization for Ecommerce websites involves several attributes like keywords, internal links, backlinks, and creating a good website design. 

When customers write reviews, they often use phrases that are closely associated with a product or service. Appropriate keywords and links are included naturally in customer reviews. This is the best way to shape and strengthen SEO.

From the organic search standpoint, customer reviews provide several key benefits for Ecommerce retailers:

Organically strengthens SEO

  • Unique content is generated regularly
  • The content is unique for every brand and product
  • Search engines can fully crawl the content
  • Highly relevant to the keywords searched for by shoppers
  • Making brands look trustworthy to search engines
  • Easy SEO scaling for individual product pages

Thus, the organic traffic to the website improves over time, resulting in increased conversions and order value. Brands can observe a significant improvement in their bottom line while also satiating the demand for genuine product reviews.

Helps Ecommerce Websites Rank for Long-tail Keywords

Let us imagine that you’ve returned from a spectacular vacation in Spain and have a sudden craving for tapas. What would you search for, ‘restaurants,’ ‘Spanish restaurants near me’ or ‘best Spanish restaurant near me’? If you pick the last option, you belong to the majority of people who use more than four words in their search query. These are called long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are phrases that have low search competition and a high potential for conversion. Typically, a search query that is longer than four words produces traffic through long-tail keywords. Such phrasal search queries are frequently used by shoppers, but brands are largely unaware of them and end up omitting long-tail keywords in consumer marketing.

As keywords become more specific, the search volume becomes less competitive, and the customer intent is much higher. Long-tail keywords are very specific and can help Ecommerce websites rank higher in search results. They can be used to target specific demographics and produce excellent short and long-term results by attracting qualified shoppers who are highly likely to convert. 

customer reviews and long-tail keywords

An online clothing retailer might optimize a skirt on their Ecommerce website for the “latest trend”. Being generic, this keyword is likely to have heavy competition, making it hard to rank high.

The customers who have used the product may write reviews which include words like ‘best-fitting ankle-length pencil skirt’ or ‘great fit, stretchy fabric wraps and contours well’. By posting about the product, customers are providing insight into what fellow shoppers might be searching for. 

Long-tail keywords resonate stronger with shoppers and improve website SEO. 

This is partly due to an increase in voice search. Thanks to Siri, Amazon Echo, and Google Home devices. Over 20% of mobile searches are voice searches, and this is expected to increase. Another reason why people key in long search queries is to filter and find the most qualitative content on the internet. People want relevant answers, and they want them fast. Search engines are becoming better at filtering through content from all over the globe and providing the most accurate results.  Long-tail keywords help search engines in their mission to find the most accurate match for the users.

A Better Understanding of User Intent

As search technology evolves, search engines are getting better at understanding user intent. By combining this with keywords, they’re able to provide highly-relevant results for searchers without them explicitly stating what they are looking for. By studying various signals, search engines can identify the device used for the search, the location, the search history as well and the time of the search. 

Search engines are also learning to recognize the difference between shoppers looking to buy a product and those simply researching. BayReviews can help brands garner and distribute user-generated content efficiently and systematically, thus optimizing their review strategy to match the intelligence of new-age search engines.  Search is no longer just about keywords but also about user intent.

Social Media Optimization

The reviews posted by customers on social media platforms also help in Social media optimization. When customers share photos, videos, and textual testimonials, people begin to start interact through likes, comments, and shares. This increase in community engagement creates brand awareness and gives a boost to SEO. 

User-generated content improves trust in a brand, boosts conversion rates, and also gets more traffic from search engines. Since most customer journeys start on search engines, brands must leverage User-Generated Content to power SEO and create social proof.  This not only helps with SEO strategy but also helps brands improve connections with customers and build loyalty.

TargetBay’s Reviews Research

We analyzed,

Ecommerce stores product reviews

TargetBay studied the impact of 294,185 product reviews on 589 eCommerce stores based in the US. We analyzed 12 eCommerce verticals to arrive at this data. The date range for this research is from November 2016 to December 2019.

Product reviews report

We also analyzed more than 6.3 million orders and more than 1.2 million review request emails.

Customer Reviews Impact of Sending Emails

Customer Reviews

To put into perspective, let me share an example review request email:

Targetbay Review request

Product Reviews Breakdown

Product Reviews Breakdown

From our research, it turned out that more than 90% of the reviews were 4 stars and above. But still, over 8% of reviews were 3 stars and below.

Why is Q&As Important for Your Product Pages?

Customers aka shoppers typically collect all possible information about a product before buying. A good product Q&A section acts as a platform for customer recommendations. Brands can increase trust when visitors of your online store see efficient answers to other users’ questions. Therefore, empower them to make purchase decisions by answering all their questions. Engage in meaningful and helpful conversations that drive them to purchase decisions. 

Example of Q&A on Product Pages


  • 16 shoppers out of 100 made a purchase after asking questions! 
  • Q&A is a very powerful tool to have on your product pages.

Impact of Not Having Q&A on product pages

Impact of Q&A on the Product page

Impact of Having Q&A on product pages

Impact of Q&A on the Product page

16 shoppers out of 100 made a purchase after asking questions! Q&A is very powerful and is a must-have on your product pages.

What are Negative Reviews?

Negative reviews are feedback from customers’ who encountered an unpleasant experience while shopping from your store.

Not every customer will be 100% happy with your product or service. So it is natural to have the occasional bad review. However, the longer you leave the customer hanging, the faster the situation will get out of your hands. Timing is everything. Be on the lookout for dissatisfied customers. Prompt, constructive responses could alleviate the pain of the customer. It is the key to building trust and retaining customers.

Negative reviews are gifts that very few brands recognize.

Significance of 1-star and 2-star Reviews
  • 5-star reviews are too good to be true and shoppers are skeptical of overly positive reviews
  • Don’t Remove Or Hide Negative Reviews
  • Acknowledge the poor feedback and reach out to the customer publicly or privately

Customer Ratings


How 1-star or 2-star Reviews can Impact the Sales of a Product?

Negative reviews build trust! Yes, they reflect the true pulse of a customer. 

Customers Product ratings

How to Handle Negative Reviews?

Improve efficiency in handling your negative reviews,

  • Set up alerts if you receive less than 3-star reviews – Improve reviews moderation and respond to those unhappy customers ASAP. 
  • Auto-approval for 4 and 5-star reviews – As far as possible use “auto-approval” if you receive more than 4 stars. It can be a real time-saver!

Customer feedback contains qualitative data that can help you improve your products or services, win back customers, and improve their loyalty, all adding up to incremental revenue.

The next time you see a bad review, look beyond the negativity, and uncover the secret to increasing sales and scaling your business.

What are Picture Reviews?

Pictures uploaded by users are more persuasive than the brand’s professional photographs because shoppers get to see the products in a relatable, real-life environment. A study on image memorability at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology confirms that objects with real-time semantics are the most memorable. In other words, it is easier for the human brain to remember items when they are shown in real-life environments.

Picture reviews help strengthen text reviews. They give shoppers a chance to relate the product with their needs and also, they convey authenticity.

Picture reviews

Significance of Picture Reviews

Picture Reviews are Powerful!

From our overall reviews’ research, Picture reviews comprised ~13% of the overall reviews collected. 

Total picture reviews collected

The higher amount of picture reviews collected increases the credibility of the product for other customers that want to purchase the same product. 

It increases your sales by as much as 3%!

Quantity of reviews plays an important role!

How Sales of a Product are Impacted When the Product has 5 & 10 Reviews or More?

10 reviews or more

What are Review Widgets?

Review widgets are those that allow you to display Brand Reviews or Product Reviews on your Ecommerce store. It serves as authenticity for reviews that you have collected on your website, frequent buyers and other shoppers are able to see evidence of your service and trustworthiness by reading about past experiences of other customers.

Review widgets play an important role in increasing add to carts/sales.

Impact of Review Widgets

Impact of review widgets

Review widgets

How to Collect More Reviews?

Quick tips & tricks

Contests and Games

Who doesn’t like gifts? Brands could host a contest and invite customers to post photos or write reviews of their product or service. The winners could be given goodies or coupons. An activity like this could immediately boost customer engagement with the brand and increase brand awareness.


A brand community helps in personalizing the shopping experience for the users. It establishes trust and creates a space for consumers to voice their opinions and share their experiences. A community acts as social proof for visitors and can convert them into shoppers.

Social Media

Social Media contains a wealth of User-Generated Content in the form of text, images, and videos. Brands can integrate this UGC into their websites. TargetBay’s Instagram curation is one way to do this. Brands can also embed a social hub on the websites to display UGC from multiple social media platforms.

Aggregating and displaying content from social media defines the brand personality. It creates a unique vibe for its customers and in a way defines its audience. Using any of the best QR code generators, generating QR codes, and sharing them as social media posts could also help in collecting feedback.

Closing thoughts

Generating unique, high-quality content on every product page is a big challenge for Ecommerce businesses. Scaling content for thousands of products in the inventory is a Herculean task that online retailers cannot possibly handle on their own as it demands a lot of time and resources. To add to the complexity of search engine ranking, Google algorithms are becoming more intuitive with every update. They filter out websites that do not have original content and those with duplicate content within the site. But on the bright side, when the content on a website is unique and valuable, Google recognizes it for being trustworthy. So, if a brand wants to stand out in search results, it is not enough to just generate unique content for the website, but also to ensure that the unique content is compelling and valuable.

Collect more customer reviews and to derive maximum SEO benefits from user-generated content by ensuring it is crawled and checking for duplication.

Picture of Narendar Rajagopalan

Narendar Rajagopalan

Narendar Rajagopalan is the Director of Marketing at TargetBay with a passion for MarTech and all things eCommerce. When he’s not at work, he will be busy drinking Madras Filter Coffee or green tea (without sugar!)

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