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It's been proved many times over in A/B tests that I've been involved in that reviews on product pages increase the add-to-basket conversion rate.

This effect can be multiplied when those reviews have meta-data surrounding them and multiplied again when there is an image, generally of the person's face, alongside the review.

If you are not familiar with the process of adding meta-data to your reviews then you should take some time to read Fabian's guide to improving your reviews with some additional meta-data: 'How to optimise your product reviews for higher conversion rates'.

This provides good insight into the extra information that should be added to reviews to help potential customers relate to them and increase their persuasiveness.

At a minimum I would always consider adding the location of the reviewer, their gender and their age-range as these will be common matching factors to other potential customers.

If you are familiar with the psyhology of conversion you will know that visitors are generally influenced by people who are similar to them so this form of matching is a good starting point.

One step that many ecommerce websites are yet to take full advantage of is the inclusion of a reviewer image to further increase the persuasiveness of the reviews.

Adding a reviewer image makes reviews appear more credible and genuine as potential customers can relate easier with faces than they can with names. The reviewer image would usually take the form of an image of the face of the reviewer.

To give some insight into the effects I have seen when using images on product reviews I refer back to an A/B test I studied at the end of last year.

In the first phase meta-data was added to the basic reviews and tested against the original version that simply had a basic review of name, review date & review content.

In this phase the variation beat the control by 17% in terms of product page add to basket conversion rate. 

Original version example:

New improved variation:

In the second stage the new version of improved reviews was tested against a variation that had the new format but included an image of the customer who left the review (where available).

The second stage generated a 22% increase in product page add to basket conversion rate.

Further improved variation:

The biggest barrier to adopting this approach is likely to be obtaining the images to display next to the reviews. In the test described above I decided to use a service called Gravatar, people familiar with WordPress will know that this is the service that puts images next to comments on blogs all over the internet.

Visitors sign-up to the service once and upload a picture of themselves that then gets linked with their email address so when a call is made to Gravatar with the persons email address it will return an image if they've signed up.

To boost the effectiveness in the test the company decided to promote Gravatar to visitors who left a review explaining that it would add an image next to their reviews if they signed up to the service.

It found that 35% of visitors went off to the site to add their images and around 22% already had a Gravatar when leaving their review.

Bonus tip:

On the test mentioned above a phase three was also performed to see if the conversion rate could be improved further given that more people were now adding products to their baskets.

It tested adding a review of one of the products in the basket to the shopping basket page and checkout page. These reviews included the image of the reviewer and were tested against a control that had no reviews in the checkout funnel. This test resulted in an 11% increase in the checkout funnel conversion rate.

Hopefully you can see the value that was obtained from adding images to product reviews and I hope that you will give this a test on your ecommerce site to see if you can generate a similar lift in conversion rate.

If you have run or decided to run a similar test, why not share your results in the comments section?

Disclaimer: The images used in this post are not from the original test. This is to protect the identity of the company who provided the data.

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Published 7 February, 2014 by David Shaw

David Shaw is Business Web Analyst at Catalyst Consulting Solutions and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow David on Twitter or Google Plus

2 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Nathan Barnett

This is one reason why Facebook was so desperate a while ago to get ads in place where they post people's faces or use their identity in the ads - they know its attention getting to see your friends faces on there. There are a lot of companies listed at http://www.buyfacebooklikesreviews.com that try and take advantage of this phenomenon, any many businesses use these things, but odds are they'd be better off trying to enhance their user experience and doing things to enhance their own conversion rates.

over 2 years ago

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john summers

Thanks David. We often find that the product page of our clients are neglected compared to home/cat pages. Most understand the importance once we educate them of the importance of the product page.

We have recently experimented with approaching social media followers to allow us to use their images on our clients site. Sites
Like tumblr and instagram are full of fantastic images that will help to show off your products. Obviously this only works with popular branded products as it will be harder to find niche product images. We have found literally hundreds of amazing photos and for the most part the social followers are over the moon that you have asked them to feature on your site. In return we send them a link to the image on the product page and a discount code to say thank you. Word of mouth has played its part and we are now approached to add images.

Sales, followers and conversion rates have gone through the roof from this simple tactic.

I hope this is helpful

over 2 years ago

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WizardTech

The views of your customers define your services or brand. That’s why client reviews or testimonials are important. Client reviews should be included in your webdesign to give voice to you clients and show how pleased they are with your products or services.

Having these client testimonials give you the credibility that you are indeed knowledgeable in the business or field you are in. It can also serve as a useful tool for product or service improvements. Using images on your client review section adds credibility to the comments made.

Potential customers can also associate themselves with the people who gave their comments if additional information such as location, age, and gender are included in the client review section.

This is an excellent article. Thanks David!

over 2 years ago

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David Shaw, UX & Conversion Manager at vouchercloud

@ John : The benefits of social proof have been proved many times over to boost conversion rates. Using images from Social Media is a great way of obtaining content!

@WizardTech : The added bonus of getting Voice of User feedback is extremely powerful for improving your website and your product offering.

over 2 years ago

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Increase Conversion Rate Ecommerce

No doubt social media has changed all the previous methods of living. It really matters the person give rating to your product must have some identity which should be shown that generates the confidence of customer that leads to his/her satisfaction.

about 2 years ago

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