Research: Verified Buyer Reviews Are More Positive, Have Greater Impact on Sales

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Launched at eTail West 2016, new study explores how reviews differ by origin and subsequently impact sales

FEBRUARY 23, 2016 – CHICAGO –  As the credibility of review content becomes increasingly important, more companies are instituting systems to ensure that the consumer who purchased a product is the same as the person who reviews it. However, little is known about how reviews from verified buyers differ from those left by anonymous consumers and how those differences impact conversions.

Working with Northwestern University’s Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center, PowerReviews, a leading provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology to more than 1,000 global brands and retailers, found that reviews from verified buyers tend to be substantially more positive, with higher average star ratings and more positive tags, than those written by anonymous consumers. The full study, “Self Motivated Versus Prompted Reviews,” which further explores how reviews from these two sources differ, will be released in tandem with eTail West in Palm Springs, Calif., February 22-25, 2016.

The study found that reviews from anonymous consumers often have more extreme, and often negative, opinions, which researchers believe may be a factor of social bias. Since anonymous reviewers have to navigate to the retailer site, they’re able to see reviews that have already been written about a product, which can influence their review. For example, if a consumer sees a high average star rating for a product they had a poor experience with, they’re more likely to give the product an even lower rating than initially planned to bring the average star rating down.

Implications for Retailers
It’s a well-established fact that products with more positive ratings and reviews tend to see better sales. Since reviews from verified buyers tend to not only be more positive but also come from credible sources, this content is an essential part of a retailer’s content mix.

“Reviews from verified buyers not only build credibility for retailers by capturing the opinions of customers who’ve actually used the product but also help drive sales with consistently positive sentiment,” said Theresa O’Neil, Senior Vice President of Marketing at PowerReviews. “It’s essential for retailers to develop a strategy to request reviews not only from shoppers who buy online, but also those who buy in-store. Actively requesting reviews from verified buyers will provide a more accurate representation of consumer sentiment.”

Other key findings of the study include:

  • The average star rating for reviews from verified buyers remains steady over time, while the average star rating for reviews from anonymous consumers tends to decline over time.
  • Reviews from verified buyers have 6.5% more product “pros” and 50% fewer product “cons.”
  • Reviews from anonymous consumers are 85% longer than those from verified buyers.

Members of the PowerReviews team will showcase the benefits of its platform and discuss these research findings at eTail West, booth #801.

To learn more about PowerReviews, visit  

About PowerReviews
PowerReviews works with more than 1,000 global brands and retailers to collect and display ratings and reviews on 5,000 websites. Ratings and reviews are an essential resource for consumers as they search and shop online and in-store: they drive relevant traffic, increase sales, and create actionable insights to improve products and services. PowerReviews’ mobile-friendly rating and review and Q&A software is fast to implement and simple to customize, making it easy for brands and retailers to generate more authentic content that is seen by more consumers. The PowerReviews Network is the largest in the industry, reaching 2,500 retailers and more than 700 million in-market shoppers every month, giving retailers and brands the power to reach shoppers wherever they are. For more information, visit

For additional information:
Meghan Spork
Walker Sands Communications