Display Product Reviews Better on Webshops

Product reviews are online reviews written by consumers about a company's products. These reviews (also called product reviews, consumer reviews, online reviews, or consumer ratings) can often be found on product pages of a webshop or on the websites of independent external platforms such as Kiyoh or TrustPilot.


Product reviews tie into various steps of a customer journey. For this reason, a lot of attention is paid to it, both by academic researchers and by online marketing specialists. In addition, the government is also starting to realize that consumers attach great value to online reviews. For that reason, they recently introduced new legislation that should help combat fake reviews.


Research by Alec Minnema shows that approximately 75% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Additionally, an extensive meta-analysis (conducted by Ana Babic and colleagues) shows that reviews have a significant positive effect on the amount of sales. It also applies that a greater volume of product reviews leads to a higher purchase probability. Minnema does make it clear in his research that it is important that the reviews shown provide an accurate picture of the quality of the product. In some product categories, overly positive reviews ensure that the products are sold more, but at the same time they are subsequently returned more often. Due to the high costs associated with returns, overly positive reviews regularly result in a net loss of turnover.


Within this article, the focus will mainly be on product reviews on online stores in the fashion industry. The reason for this is that the return rate in the online fashion industry is significantly higher than in other industries. All these returned garments not only have a negative effect on the turnover of the online stores, but also have a negative impact on the climate. For this reason, product reviews were previously included in an analysis of more than 100 Dutch fashion web shops for options to reduce the return rate. This showed that only 24% of the analyzed web shops show reviews for their products. It also turned out that additional features such as being able to filter reviews or adding a photo to a review were used by only 15% of the web shops examined.

Particular attention will also be paid to improving conversion for visitors who use a mobile phone. Many B2C websites (which include many fashion webshops) see that more than 80% of their visitors already visit the online store on such a device.


The tips below are not yet relevant for the 76% of web shops that do not yet display any product reviews. What they should focus on is arranging more (accurate) reviews. What I often encounter during a website review is that web shops add a 'Write a review' button (or even a complete form) to their product pages. In my opinion, this is not an effective way to collect more product reviews. Only very rarely will a visitor accidentally come across a product page of a product he or she has ordered and suddenly feel like writing a product review. A more effective way is probably not to show a button or form, but to send visitors who have made a purchase an email. This contains a link to a separate page with a form to leave a product review.

In 2022, the Dutch government also tightened its regulations on consumer reviews. For example, reviews must now first be checked for authenticity before they can be posted as a review or recommendation. As of May 28, 2022, there will also be a ban on having someone else post false reviews for a fee. Sellers must also inform consumers whether, and if so how, they check whether reviews come from consumers who have actually purchased the product in the webshop or a physical store.


The points of interest mentioned below have been distilled from how hundreds of online stores display their reviews. These points can therefore be valuable input for an online store optimization process.

It is important to realize that the context of every online store is unique. For example, you can think of different types of customers, platforms, competitors, etc. Therefore, make sure that you test the points mentioned as much as possible using, for example, user research or A/B testing. An experienced conversion optimization specialist can help you with this.


The aspects below describe elements that can help make product reviews more powerful. However, not all elements will be relevant for every type of webshop (for example, a filter based on body shape). The design must also be carefully considered, especially when many different elements are used.


What is the average score that reviewers give to this product? It is recommended to visually display this number using colored stars. Some of the stars are colored in, which represents the number. Optionally, the score can also be stated textually, please remember to display the scale (for example "4.2/5").


How many reviews has this product already received? Many web shops choose to combine this number with the average score. You will then get something like "4.5/5 (20 reviews)". The Coolblue website displays the number of reviews in an attractive manner.


A histogram makes the distribution of the number of stars clear. Optimally, the percentages are also stated and the different numbers are clickable as a filter. Amazon's webshop displays such a histogram in a suitable manner.


Some web shops choose to also offer the option to report a review. My suspicion is that this function is useful for a certain group of web shops, while this will be less the case for others. An option such as 'Helpful' may also be used instead or in addition to this. The underwear Hunkemöller webshop uses this option.



The more relevant the reviews shown are, the more impact they can have on visitors. Especially with higher review numbers, it is therefore important to ensure good filters. Depending on the industry, you can, for example, consider filters by size, size, color or weight. A filter based on the number of stars is certainly a best practice. A well-developed filter option is displayed on Shein's website.


Being able to sort reviews by things like posting date, relevance, rating, or helpfulness can be a valuable addition. This way, visitors can view the reviews most relevant to them. This option also becomes more relevant as a webshop has collected a higher number of product reviews. A good example of sorting options can be found on the Adidas website.


For readers of reviews, it may be relevant to know whether the reviewer actually purchased the product. If that is the case, you as a reader can attribute more value to such a review. ASOS displays this elegantly per review.



An important reason why products (particularly clothing and shoes) are returned is that the item does not fit properly. A solution to this could be to have reviewers also indicate to what extent an item is good. Consider characteristics such as length and width, etc. If you then visually display the averages, visitors will get a much better idea of the fit. Ulla Popken's webshop shows this in a beautiful way.

Some web shops choose to also display per review whether or not a reviewer recommends the product in question. When this data is collected, you can of course also create an average score such as "87% recommend this product". Levi's has developed the recommendation well.


Some reviews are more useful than others. By using a system with thumbs up and down, for example, you can let the best reviews float to the top. If you then display these more prominently, they can have maximum influence on the conversion rate and the returns ratio. See the Zappos website for a good example.



When visitors can see more properties of the reviewer, it becomes easier to assess the relevance of a review. If someone has similar qualities to your own, the content of the review is probably more applicable. Depending on the industry in which you operate, for example, the following characteristics may be relevant to display: age, gender, height, and size. You will find properties of the reviewers in the Hunkemöller underwear webshop.


Reviews are usually written in the language of the reviewer. Especially for web shops that are active in multiple countries, this may prevent the visitor from being able to read the review. This is why we offer an option to have the review displayed automatically, for example via Google Translate. Shein's webshop has worked this out well.


In some cases it may be relevant how long ago a review was posted. One industry this is particularly relevant to will be technology. However, this can also offer added value within fashion, for example when product methods change over time or the fashion image changes. It is recommended to display the date relative to today, see ASOS for a good example of this. You may also consider showing a 'Last Modified Date' if visitors actively change their reviews after they have posted them.

Read more

Some reviewers write very long texts in their enthusiasm. Such long reviews make it difficult for visitors to easily get an overview of what others think about the product. A solution to this could be to initially display only part of the review and only show the other content after a visitor has clicked on 'Read more'. Coolblue, for example, uses this.



Especially with high numbers of reviews, an option such as tags can help visitors find the right reviews for them. By automatically scanning the reviews for common combinations of words, you can place so-called tags above the block with reviews. When visitors then click on this, they will only see the reviews that contain that combination of words. See Amazon's webshop for an example of this feature.


Some reviews have a deviating status. Consider, for example, reviews that were done because the item was deliberately sent to the review for this purpose (also called 'Incentivized Review'). Alternatively, it also happens that certain reviewers are seen as an authority in this field. Such a status can be communicated during a review. For example, take a look at the reviews of Adidas for an example.

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More reviews

If there are many reviews to display, you have various options for displaying this. A popular option is to work with page numbers and then divide the reviews over those pages. Alternatives are to work with a 'View all reviews' link, for example, or simply a 'Next page' or 'View more reviews' button. In any case, make sure that options such as filters and sorting are properly in order, then there is the smallest chance that visitors will have to go deeper into the review archives. View MadeWell's webshop for a good elaboration.

Intro text

It may be of added value to provide clarity about some matters above the reviews. For example, the aforementioned legislation requires a number of things, but you can also indicate who exactly leaves reviews, how negative reviews are handled, and what exactly the moderation policy is. Zalando handles this well.

Top reviews

Top reviews

Top reviews can help visitors get a balanced view of a product. Within that feature, the best-rated positive and best-rated critical reviews are shown. The Zappos webshop contains this option.


To give a better idea of what a product looks like in real life, you can also have reviewers leave photos. Additionally, it can help to list all these user-generated photos above the reviews. This way, visitors immediately get an idea of all available photos, instead of having to read through all the reviews. See how Amazon worked this out.

Sometimes visitors are looking for a specific word in reviews. For example, think of something like 'wifi' or 'heating' in AirBNB reviews. If such a word is often mentioned, it will surface as a tag, but if this is not the case, a search bar can provide a solution. Visitors can then enter their search term here, after which the reviews that mention that term will be shown. This feature is used well in Marlies Dekkers' underwear webshop.


This article lists a number of ideas for how product reviews can be better displayed on an online store. By implementing these changes in the webshop, conversion may increase and returns may decrease. Please bear in mind to first test the planned changes with, for example, user research or A/B testing.

About the author

Theo van der Zee (MSc, Psychology) has been building and optimizing websites and web shops for more than 20 years. As a freelance conversion specialist, he helps companies to improve their websites based on research and experiments.

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