HomeeCommerce NewsHow Online Reviews are displayed affects shopping behavior in e-commerce: Study

How Online Reviews are displayed affects shopping behavior in e-commerce: Study

A groundbreaking study conducted by Javad Mousavi, an assistant professor of marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, has uncovered significant insights into how online reviews influence consumer decisions through the use of graphical display formats. Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the study, titled “Unveiling Stars: How Graphical Displays of Online Consumer Ratings Affect Consumer Perception and Judgment,” explores the nuanced effects of visual presentation on consumer behavior in the digital marketplace.

Online reviews are a critical factor in guiding consumer purchases, yet the visual format in which they are presented can dramatically alter their impact. Mousavi’s research focuses on two primary types of graphical displays used by leading e-commerce platforms: simple bar graphs and proportional bar graphs. The study reveals a strong consumer preference for simple bar graphs over their proportional counterparts, suggesting that the way product ratings are visually conveyed can significantly influence shopping decisions.

Mousavi examined the effectiveness of these graphical formats through nine comprehensive studies, comparing the traditional proportional displays, which represent ratings as a percentage of the whole, to simple bar graphs that depict ratings as a peak share. His findings indicate that consumers find simple bar graphs easier to understand and more straightforward, enhancing their confidence in making purchase decisions.

The study delves into the psychology behind visual perception, suggesting that simple bar graphs, with clear reference points on the x-axis indicating the most common rating score, allow consumers to quickly gauge the consensus opinion about a product. This ease of interpretation can lead to a more favorable evaluation of products and, potentially, to increased sales for items presented in this manner.

Conversely, proportional bar graphs, with their x-axes ranging from 0 to 100% of ratings, may require more cognitive effort to decipher, possibly leading to confusion or misinterpretation of the data. This could make consumers think twice before purchasing a product displayed in such a format.

By highlighting the importance of visual design in the presentation of online reviews, Mousavi’s work suggests that adopting simpler graphical displays could enhance user engagement and positively impact sales, offering a strategic advantage in the competitive online marketplace.

Alf Alferez
Alf Alferez
Dedicated writer with a strong track record of developing customer loyalty and managing general office operations. Enjoy being a part of a company where my skills and creative ideas will benefit the overall productivity of the organization. I have a strong desire to work in helping make the world a better place. Please reach out to me on alf@ecommercenext.org

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