Most eCommerce Reviews are Missing this Feature

We all use eCommerce Reviews

I don't know about you but when I visit Amazon and look at a product, one of the first things I do is scroll down to the reviews. And I'm not going there to read the great reviews.

No, instead, what I'm doing is reading the negative reviews.

I'm asking myself whether the negatives are believable and/or whether I am willing to live with them. After all, just because someone has something negative to say doesn't mean it will impact me, right?

Do you do the same thing?

Do you use SeatGuru? Been to BustedTees?

SeatGuru is one of the review sites I use when I'm flying on an airline I don't normally fly on. Ever been there?

They show you a map of the plane and highlight the particularly bad seats. But they also allow people to write reviews of the plane.

Take a look at the bottom right of this image of a Southwest plane (737-800).

When you read the customer reviews, you see one of the most common implementations of reviews, as text-based comments.

You see the same thing when you visit BustedTees. The only difference is that they use Facebook comments.

While there's nothing wrong with this approach, the value of these comments isn't all that great.

Highlighting Positive and Negative Reviews Helps

A better approach to reviews is to determine which ones are positive and which are negative – highlighting each so customers can quickly make a judgement. One of the cleanest ways I've seen this done is at 4Imprint.

The quick highlighting of one positive and one negative review at the top right is helpful. What's also helpful is that they show us the average rating (4.6 of 5), the total number of ratings (219) and a histogram of how those land across all the scores.

These are all features we've come to love at Amazon, right?

But there's still a problem with these. Did you catch it? Most likely you didn't because we've all become accustomed to what we get from Amazon and never thought about it differently.

But instead of telling you about it, let me show it to you. It comes to us from Under Armour.

Under Armour is better at eCommerce Reviews than Amazon

When you look at this screenshot, you'll likely see all the stuff we've seen already at 4Imprint:

  • Average Rating
  • Rating Breakdown
  • Comment Rating

But you also likely saw that they ask customers to score each product on three more variables:

  • Performance
  • Comfort
  • Size

That's fantastic, but it's not the missing feature I'm talking about.

Here's what makes Under Armour better than Amazon when it comes to product reviews.

They capture meta-data about the reviewer.

Think back, for a second, about the SeatGuru review. Imagine if the person who wrote the comment was a large guy. His take on seat size might sound different than if he was a tiny, skinny guy. Right?

Think about the person who might comment on shoes or workout clothes. Are they a professional athlete? Are they an avid runner? Or an average person who works out every now and then? Won't that change how we read their review?

Under Armour lets users filter reviews based on User Meta Data

When you look closely at that image, or you visit their site, you'll see that you can filter all the reviews by the kind of reviewer that you want to pay attention to. If you're a runner, you might only want to read reviews from avid and professional runners.

The bottom line here is something we know in person when someone tells us we should check out a movie. We don't just listen to the review or recommendation. We also judge the person giving the review. And that's a critical dynamic in eCommerce reviews – but a feature that is missing almost across every store I've visited.

That's why our team at Liquid Web, where we've created a platform for WooCommerce stores, is now working on a WooCommerce extension that will allow reviewers to give us more data about themselves, and we'll allow site visitors to filter reviews based on that meta data so that they can determine which reviews mean the most.