Product Reviews & Buyer Psychology

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Do product reviews positively or negatively affect the buyer psychology of your online shopper?

Let’s start by understanding the buyer psychology of product reviews:

  1. Product reviews drive conversions. According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
  2. Product reviews also reduce return rates. Products with 50+ reviews have a return rate that is half of those with less than 5 reviews. ( research).

Why is it that reviews have such a big influence on buyer psychology? It’s because, simply put, shoppers know marketers lie exaggerate.

Product Reviews Counts and Buyer Psychology Paradox

A lot of sites have a lot of reviews. Maybe too many.

Here are some examples: (566 reviews):

Soylent has 566 product reviews. What impact does this have on shopper psychology?
Soylent with 566 product reviews (855 reviews): has 855 reviews. Does this positively or negatively impact buyer psychology? has even more reviews (3,177 reviews): and shopper psychology. and their 3k+ reviews (12,041 reviews!):

12k reviews and buyer psychology
Ok, so this is insanity.

As the product review count goes up the review interface starts to get unwieldy. No one has the time to read 12,041 reviews:

The problem with 12k reviews is that it's not humanly possible to read so many. Negative impact on e-commerce buyer psychology.

Correction: just realized they only show 10 pages by default. The actual number of pages is 3,000!! Holy moly.

At this point is the review count really providing value?

  • Maybe some people will just see the top line number of 12,041 and say, “that’s good enough for me. I’m ready to buy“. For these people, the product review count is enough to influence their buyer psychology.
  • Some will look at the first 10 and be convinced.
  • Some would personalize the sorting options (screenshot below) and that would be enough to influence their purchase intent. We know from testing that buyer psychology is greatly influenced by adding any type of personalization options.
Sorting certainly helps online shoppers.
Sort reviews

2 possible solutions has partially solved this by allowing shoppers to search within reviews using a keyword (screenshot below). This is powerful because the keyword shoppers pick most likely the keyword that would have the biggest influence on their buyer psychology. understands buyer psychology, which means they know how to convert online shoppers.
Amazon certainly has the right buyer psychology idea.

Another solution is one used by, this is what they do.

But these aren’t enough because the core issue with reviews is that shoppers either write too little:

"Awesome" does not influence my buyer psychology, which means it doesn't convert me.
What value do I get by reading a review that simply says “Awesome”

Or they write too much and incoherently. Your shoppers haven’t had training on techniques to influence buyer psychology.

There must be a better way

There is. It just hasn’t been invented yet. But I hope to invent it. Here is the basic idea. I love infographics (an example of an infographic). I love them because they:

  1. Show info visually versus a wall of text.
  2. Zero into the most important details versus the user having to tease out that info by reading a super long description.

But first

Before we go down the rabbit hole of building an infographic we need to pick the attributes to be plotted on the infographic.

List of attributes

Here are the questions I’d like to have my past buyers answer:

Were you skeptical before buying*? [yes] [no]

* Why you shouldn’t be scared to ask this question: 99% of buyers are skeptical before buying. People on your product page right now are skeptically reading your product description. Knowing that past buyers were skeptical but happy post-purchase will directly relax their buyer psychology.

What surprised you the most? [option 1] [option 2] [option 3] [option 4]

Have you tried products like ours in the past? [yes] [no]

If they pick [yes] we’ll ask: How did they fall short? [option 1] [option 2] [option 3] [option 4]

Do you wish you hadn’t waited this long to make the purchase? [Yes] [No]

Ok, so how do we collect these responses?

You know how product finder wizards ask a bunch of questions and help new site visitors find the perfect product? This will be exactly the same but will be sent to past shoppers and used to collect their responses.

The key element here is that the interface has to be slick and super easy to use.

Who do we send it to?

So the wizard link email will be sent X days after the review request email. You’ll need to experiment with X to find a formula that works best for your brand. Some brands might decide to first send a review email and after 4 weeks send this wizard link to maximize participation. You’ll need to experiment to modulate performance. Ultimately we want to configure things so that the review response rate holds steady while also maximizing participation for the survey questions. High participating will make the infographic content more impactful. An infographic based on 50 buyer responses is way less valuable than one based on 5,000 buyer responses.

Hidden conversion benefit

Almost forget, the infographic offers yet another conversion boost. Here’s how. Because we as the marketers can frame the questions this means we control the tone of the infographic, which means we control the buyer psychology and ultimately the conversion rates.


Remember this is version 1 of my concept. Over time I plan to both make these questions way more strategic (to have a bigger impact on buyer psychology) plus personalize them based on the type of product that’s being sold. Clearly, the questions will change from dog wheelchair (link) to room air purifiers (link)

In summary

It’s clear that product reviews impact buyer psychology. But if you have too many you really need to use this wizard concept to maximize conversions.

Other articles about how product reviews influence buyer psychology

Review Count & Buyer Psychology

Buyer Psychology and Product Reviews

Review Counts and Conversion Rates

Getting Better (and More) Customer Reviews

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