Amazon Ups Customer Review Usability

Thumbs Up Thumbs DownWe talk about Amazon often here on Get Elastic, because you’ll always find some innovation, design or usability improvement to blog about there.

Amazon sometimes attracts more reviews than customers want to read. So Amazon provides tools to filter reviews by star rating and displays the “most helpful” positive and negative review as determined by Amazon’s community.

Most Helpful Reviews

Plus, you can also search reviews by keyword.

it sucks!

Which is helpful, because you don’t want to buy a product that sucks unless it’s a vacuum or a Flowbee.

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10 Responses to “Amazon Ups Customer Review Usability”

  1. Amazon does alot of things right. It makes sence to me to look at someone who is doing well.

  2. tiffany says:

    I’ve liked this feature.

    Sometimes you learn more from a critical review than you do from a positive one. Especially reviews that tell you something was too advanced or too simple for what the reviewer wanted.

    For example, if I’m looking for an intro guide a critical review that says “good content but too watered down” – it made be exactly what I’m looking for.

  3. Nice features, although I’ve never been a fan of reviews that completely contradict each other.

  4. @ tiffany

    Agreed. Negative reviews help shoppers select more appropriate items for them.

    i.e. what is good for an expert user is not always good for a beginner.

    More appropriate item selection leads to higher ratings/reviews, lower return rates, and I would suspect better word of mouth.

    @ CommerceStyle

    Ah, but reviews that contradict each other directly are simply due to expectations and shopper profile. The big mistake retailers make is having very poor product descriptions that are vague and non-descriptive.

    i.e. when shopping for a handbag a woman might love what she sees, but when it arrives is smaller than expected because there was no indication of dimensions.

    A simple statement of dimensions would alleviate that. Better yet, a visual comparison would be quicker and wouldn’t make the shopper have to think very much.

  5. @ Jason

    I agree that negative reviews due to lack of adequate product information does show room for improvement on the product page. But when two reviews contradict each other simply because of the shopper’s personal opinion, it can be a little harder to deal with.

    For example, a client I work with sells footwear, and one of the problems they have with managing product reviews is determining what’s actually helpful to their shoppers. They constantly get product reviews on the same item where one person will say…

    “This boot is terrible, it falls apart after only a month of very light use.”

    While another will say…

    “I’ve had these boots for 3 year and they still look brand new!”

    In this case, we know which review would sell more boots, but we don’t want to discount the unsatisfied shopper’s opinion either. It’s just a challenge to balance the positives with the negatives.

  6. I am curious and a bit anxious to see how Amazon.com handles the user submitted video reviews.

    “New feature! Amazon now allows customers to upload product video reviews. Use a webcam or video camera to record and upload reviews to Amazon.”

    Here are the guidelines for the files:
    Maximum file size: 100MB.
    Maximum length: 10 mins
    Accepted formats: avi, flv, mov, mpg, wmv

    I can see these video reviews as possibly having a large impact on the audience. I thinking back to the Johnny Bunko trailer you can find on Amazon or user videos on Youtube that show phones starting on fire.

    Could something like this damage product (and company) reputations? Ten minutes is a lot of time to steer someone’s opinion. How will Amazon manage the reviews so as not to favor or sway opinion?

  7. It’s funny, when I was figuring out what I wanted in my site last fall, I looked at top SEO sites to see what I could learn. For whatever reason, it didn’t occur to me to go to the bigshot ecommerce places where maxing traffic value is key. Oopsies!

    Anyways, nice find here. I was just reading about the idea in connection to analytics, in Web Analytics an Hour a Day (haven’t decided yet whether it’s worth recommending or not; first 5 chapters were very meh, very corporate, but it’s heating up). He makes the interesting observation that if you see people pogosticking around between category pages and detail pages, it might be because the filtering sucks. This would probably be another application of that; if they flit back and forth amongst products, maybe they can’t find helpful reviews.

  8. Where is the best place to put the reviews on the item page?

    In the right hand side panel? Or down in the page copy like Amazon does now?

  9. Searching reviews as a feature is useful however having to rely on people who rate products before they are even released yet it questionable.

  10. [...] items that could improve your conversion like unusual shaped cart buttons, delivery cut-off dates, customer reviews, mobile apps, triggered email or point-of-action assurances, I chose today to focus on 5 strategic [...]

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