The Highest-Spending E-Commerce Customers Are Seeing Stars—Star Ratings, That Is

The Highest-Spending E-Commerce Customers Are Seeing Stars—Star Ratings, That Is

Author: Barry Feldman / Source: MarketingProfs Star ratings are simple, but they have an immense effect. They increase social proof, bo

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Star ratings are simple, but they have an immense effect. They increase social proof, boost word-of-mouth marketing, and improve the results of paid ads. And, most important, they influence purchases.

So… What’s social proof?

Social proof is “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” That’s the answer you get by Googling “social proof,” courtesy of Wikipedia.

Stay tuned. The rest of this article is 99% jargon-free.

If you’re hip to the teachings of Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, you’re familiar with these six principles:

  1. Liking
  2. Reciprocation
  3. Consistency
  4. Scarcity
  5. Social validation
  6. Authority

Here social proof goes by the name “social validation,” but it means the same thing: People look to others for cues on how to think, feel, and behave.

This article is about e-commerce, so I’m going to add, “buy” to that list. Buying is a behavior, and people are more apt to buy the stuff others approve of and suggest.

Amazon made us star-struck

Clearly, the world had star rating systems (often 1-5 stars) before Amazon. Customers would often rate a product, service, or a site from one to five stars. However, it’d be naïve not to credit the mighty king of the e-commerce jungle for making it so mainstream.

Should I part with $4.99 to get guitar music from this app? A quick glance at its star ratings help convince me it’s a good buy.

Want proof for star ratings’ powerful influence? Yotpo analyzed one million reviews across multiple e-commerce sites.

It found that products with higher star reviews have a much higher volume of purchases. Additional data from the study revealed the following:
  • Products with an average rating of 5 stars make up 54% of the orders.
  • Products with an average rating of 4 stars make up 40% of the orders.
  • Add them up: 94% of all purchases are made for products with an average rating of 4 stars or more.

Star ratings have a snowball effect

When people begin praising a product, others are quick to join the party. And people tend to write reviews for products with higher average ratings. Since there are more reviews for higher-rated products, the quantity of reviews also influence purchase decisions.

Here’s some data:

94% of the reviews were written for products with an average rating of 4 stars and above.
  • There were…

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