Customer-submitted product reviews can be a powerful tool for building trust with online shoppers, boosting conversion rates and gathering product data. They can also be used as a way for retailers to interact with customers and build loyalty. Such benefits are spurring some retailers to get creative in their efforts to collect and use them.

The influence of online reviews on shoppers is enormous: 97% of shoppers consult reviews and 89% regard them as an essential component of their purchase decisions, according to data from consumer engagement technology provider PowerReviews Inc. Various surveys show more than 80% of shoppers  consider online reviews to be as valuable as personal recommendations from friends or family.

Also, 42% of consumers cited product reviews as a critical product page tool that’s an essential part of their purchase decisions, according to a late 2019 survey of 984 online consumers by Bizrate Insights for Digital Commerce 360. On a list of features, only the ability to zoom in on pictures was cited by more respondents (50%) as an essential purchasing tool. Respondents cited reviews more often than alternative product views (34%), the ability to see products in different colors (16%) and user-generated content showing how buyers use the product (13%).

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