Online electronics retailer Newegg Commerce Inc. launched a new website feature this August that uses generative AI to summarize product reviews on its site.
The goal of the tool is to save shoppers time in finding the right product, says Andrew Choi, director of brand and website experience for Newegg. The AI generates a few product review features. Beneath the product image, Newegg shows “Review Bytes,” which highlight a few positive keywords that frequently appear in reviews, such as “battery life” or “sound quality.”
At the top of product preview section, the AI tool paraphrases the sentiment of all the customer reviews into a few sentences. This is posted as a summary review displayed at the top of all the reviews, aptly named “Summary AI.” The AI also lists out “Pros” and “Cons” for each product, again taken from the reviews. The Pros are typically the same words that appeared in the Review Bytes section underneath the product image.
“We feel that this would be helpful for many customers that are looking for a quicker analysis,” Choi says.
At Newegg, 20% of its shoppers read reviews. And shoppers who read reviews spend 40% more than shoppers who don’t read reviews. So any way to enhance this section of the website is important to Newegg.
“We ultimately want the customer to get the right product for their needs,” Choi says.
Customer reviews can help with conversion rate
Customer reviews are an important part to any ecommerce site. 39% of online shoppers say quality and quantity of product reviews is a website attribute that is mostly likely to place an online order, according to a 2023 conversion rate survey of 1,060 online shoppers in January 2023 by Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights. An April 2023 Gartner survey of 2,025 U.S. adults also finds that 51% of consumers look to user reviews when shaping their opinions of a new brand or considering a new purchase.
The effectiveness of reviews is likely why the large majority of retailers show shopper ratings and reviews online, with nearly 79% of Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 offering this feature, according to Digital Commerce 360 research data.
Reviews are especially important in the consumer electronics category, Choi says. Shoppers are spending more money and time to find the exact product they need. Newegg’s average order value is $511, according to Digital Commerce 360 research data, compared with the median AOV for the entire Top 1000 at $179. Newegg ranks No. 58 in the Top 1000.
Kassi Socha, director analyst, retail, at research firm Gartner, says AI generated review summaries are a great application of the technology.
“Ratings and reviews have become even more important to the consumer today than they were a couple of years ago, with one of the reasons being the general expansion of the retail catalog,” Socha says. “It’s harder to search and comb and find the right product and consumers rely on reviews to make the decision on what is the best product.”
“Retailers who take this approach may find conversion is quicker because the consumer is able to consume information at a faster pace and make a purchase faster,” she adds.
After Newegg debuted its AI generated review feature, Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Top 1000) also announced a generative AI review feature. Amazon’s generative AI product reviews, available to a subset of its mobile shoppers, also summarizes the sentiment of customers’ reviews with a few sentences at the top of the review section on the product detail page.
Newegg immediately publishes the AI generated review
It took Newegg about two months to develop its AI review feature in house, and about 20% of Newegg’s active SKUs with reviews have an AI summary review. The feature is only available to desktop shoppers, which is where the majority of its sales and shoppers are, Choi says. Overall, Newegg has 20.2 million SKUs on its website and marketplace, although not all of these SKUs are considered active.
Once a product hits an undisclosed number of text reviews — meaning more than just a star or “egg” rating on Newegg.com — the AI technology automatically creates the review. A product needs to have a certain number of reviews, fewer than 100, to qualify for the generative AI summary review, Choi says without revealing the number. The review is generated from only the reviews that have already been published on Newegg.com.
The AI summary is immediately published on the site and there is no manual review period.
Choi says shoppers can submit feedback on a Summary AI review or give it a thumbs up or down. If a product review receives feedback that warrants attention, Newegg can adjust if needed.
Socha suggests, however, that retailers have a human touch all content created by generative AI before it is made consumer facing.
“Generative AI can suggest copy and suggest opportunities, but there still needs to be a team in place to validate some of the outputs,” Socha says. “With any machine learning or artificial intelligence, it’s only as good as the inputs, and it take time to optimize learn.”
“I applaud retailers that are adopting the technology with confidence and testing the use of generative AI, but the continued guidance at Gartner would be to approach with caution and be prepared to adapt quickly if a weakness is exposed,” she adds.
Newegg will measure the success of the tool based on clicks, views and shopper behavior after engaging with the feature. In the two weeks since Newegg launched the feature, many shoppers have engaged with the tool, and the brand is happy with the results, Choi says, without sharing any data.
New customer features typically launch on desktop first at Newegg, Choi says, as the development work for its mobile site and app gets “heavy.” Newegg doesn’t have a date it’s sharing for launching the generative AI review feature on mobile.
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