Customer ratings and reviews lead to a 119% conversion rate increase.

Visitors to’s product pages who click into consumer reviews are more than twice as likely as non-clickers to buy, says Jimmy Healey, the retailer’s senior manager of social media and e-commerce. “Shoppers on product detail pages who click to read reviews are 119% more likely to convert than those who don’t,” he says.

He adds that the conversion tends to go up as more reviews are added to any product, regardless of whether the rating is high or low, or whether the review says something good or bad about a product. “For every five extra reviews, products convert better,” Healey says.

OnlineShoes, which uses a hosted ratings and reviews application from PowerReviews Inc., has also been finding ways to take advantage of its ratings and reviews content in more areas of its site. In the process, the retailer has better optimized for natural search. “Every day, we get hundreds of new reviews, and we’re learning how to leverage that content,” Healey says.

For example, Healey says, the retailer has worked with PowerReviews and Liveclicker, a provider of online video management technology, to embed ratings and reviews content into video screens. Once a product video runs its course, the video screen shows images of several related products that visitors can click to see review content. The feature helps to cross-sell merchandise while also boosting conversion rates, Healey says.

OnlineShoes, No. 135 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also is checking out new features of the PowerReviews application, including the ability to filter review content such as by the comfort level of walking shoes, and to see the percentage of reviews that, for example, said a certain style of shoes runs true to width.


Footwear suppliers have noticed how ratings and reviews help sell products, he says. OnlineShoes routinely shares information with its suppliers on what customers are saying about products.

In fact, he adds, several suppliers will now provide samples of new products to’s customers before the product officially launches in order to build up a base of review content to display on the first day a product is offered to the public.

The retailer itself, however, has not found it necessary to provide incentives to get customers to write reviews, Healey says. When it launched the PowerReviews application three years ago, OnlineShoes garnered 22,000 reviews in the first two weeks by offering customers who had purchased in the previous incentives e-mail incentives such as a chance to win a $100 gift certificate by writing reviews.

But now it finds that such incentives aren’t necessary, because just having an extensive base of review content on its sites apparently encourages customers to write reviews, Healey says.