Speakers at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition emphasized the significance of customer ratings on products listed on online marketplaces, especially Amazon.

A one-star rated product listed on Amazon.com Inc.’s site sells better than a product with no reviews or ratings at all, said Chad Brandon, key account manager of Amazon for athletic footwear manufacturer Asics.

When it comes to new products on an online marketplace, reviews matter more than price, said Fahim Naim, founder of e-commerce consulting firm eShopportunity. Those insights were shared at the “Amazon & Me” workshop this week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

Brandon and Nahim both suggested that first-party Amazon sellers, which are manufacturers that sell wholesale to Amazon, utilize Amazon Vine. The Amazon service puts products in front of customers to review. Amazon selects customers based on their reviewer ranks, “which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers,” according to Amazon. Sellers pay Amazon a fee for the service and can’t influence whether the rating is positive or negative. Customers aren’t paid to write reviews.

A service such as Amazon Vine can help add reviews, especially for new products, the speakers said. But some retailers and manufacturers don’t want to pay for reviews, says Eric Heller, CEO and founder of marketing firm Marketplace Ignition. He suggested that sellers run a campaign on a website like Snagshout, which discounts products and customers then review those products. if sellers run such campaigns, they should limit their use and not flood their product pages with reviews.

Review history also factors into Amazon’s search algorithm, Brandon said. This means that products with customer reviews typically show up higher in Amazon’s search results.


A recent Internet Retailer consumer survey indicates that shoppers pay attention to customer reviews when shopping on online marketplaces. An online survey of 200 consumers in May found that 51.5% say they always look at ratings and reviews, and usually base their purchases on them. 42.2% say they sometimes look at ratings and reviews and 6.3% say they never look at reviews.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.