When do online reviews start looking as too good to be true?

April 11, 2017 01:25 PM | Written by: Karlijn Fiesler

Everyone loves to get compliments. Especially brands. You would say, that having positive product reviews online can only do good to your sales, right? Well, it turns out that the credibility of your reviews are at stake, when too much positivity is taking over.

To good to be true.jpg


Positive VS negative reviews

Apparently consumers who see only 5-star reviews become suspicious. Consumers prefer to hear both sides of the story and if reviews are too positive, they are considered to be dishonest, biased and of lower quality. Looking at it from this point of perspective, you can even say that moderate and negative reviews can benefit your online sales.

However, you don’t want too many negative reviews. But you also can’t have too many positive reviews. OMG! Can anyone help us out? What is the tipping point? When do online reviews start looking as too good to be true?

Lucky for us, this question is answered in a scientific publication about the role of online reviews in probability to buy (June, 2016).

The tipping point for great online sales

Researchers used data from three different e-commerce websites in their study. In turns out that products with the average star rating of 4.5 through 5 are less likely to be purchased than those between 4 and 4.5 stars. Anything above 4.5 is perceived as too good to be true. Consumers may also think that such reviews are possibly generated by representatives from the company or their public relations agency.

So now you know the tipping point. The perfect rating for your product is between 4 and 4.5 and anything above 4.5 is too good to be true. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be real. Don’t freak out if you read a negative review, just recognize the value of it, and move forward. If you need some help with this, read our article about how to respond to negative online reviews.

Sources: Ewa Maslowska, Edward C. Malthouse and Stefan F. Bernritter

Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center, Northwestern University, 1845 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA; Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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