We just implemented product reviews onto our site. There's a serious lack of reviews obviously and we believe it's really hurting our sales since we haven't made any other big changes. Our sales were down 10% this month.

What would be the best way to approach this? Should we collect a bunch of reviews and wait to even show the ratings system or should we ditch the idea all together? The content they create is very helpful and good for SEO but we'd really like to sell more.

Do you think people view a lack of reviews negatively or apathetically?

4 Answers 4


Lack of reviews certainly looks like lack of activity, I would personally recommend taking advantage of the "0 reviews" situation. Instead of just displaying that you could have a little label that says something like "No reviews yet; be the first to Review!" Or maybe just "Own this product? Write a review!" if you want to not draw attention to the fact that there are no reviews.

Users like leaving feedback and being the "first," I've seen lots of sites attempt to capitalize on empty comments sections by encouraging the behavior (however I haven't done it myself so I don't know how effective it is). Also make sure your review process is as easy as possible for the user, maybe even remove sign-in requirements if users might have a product but not be signed in. Heaven forbid the the dreaded $300 million button is preventing user feedback.

Quality of reviews can be a problem, but you can always remove spam afterwards, it's certainly better to filter 9 unhelpful reviews to get one helpful one than to have no reviews at all (Just don't use this as an opportunity to discard unfavorable reviews). As @Kashyap said, holding reviews to vet them might discourage users by removing instant feedback and making them think you're moderating for unfavorable reviews.

  • Very unfortunate that uie.com allowed that link to go dead, it's a must read for anyone wondering about the value of UX design. Updated with Internet Archive link. Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 0:26

Reviews add a lot of credibility to your product. Especially if they look genuine. The more detail you add to them the better. Also the more interactivity you add to the the better. Take a site like Amazon for example. Anyone that purchases a product can write a review, at any given time.

Seesmic also does a great job a putting a face on their testimonials. The add an image and the occupation and location of the real person. If there was any doubt that these people are real, Google their name and find out! Of course Seesmic has an advantage of having some potentially well kn own users but you get the point.

The thing you want to avoid is something saying "John Smith rates our product at 5 stars because it really help him be more productive." This doesn't look very credible and could have been written by anyone, such as one of the marketing copy writers (and they often are, unfortunately).

This site talks about some things to watch out for when adding this type of content, such as:

"Don't try to fake sincerity. I'm sure you've seen websites loaded with testimonials that all sound as though they were written by the same bad advertising copywriter. Breathless, urgent, loaded with supposedly "hypnotic" sales trigger words - and completely unbelievable. Nothing will ruin your credibility faster than the use of phony testimonials It's perfectly okay to solicit testimonials. Ask your customers for feedback, and include the best comments on your website. However, do not under any circumstances succumb to the temptation to write your own testimonials or to hire someone to write them for you."


So when there are no reviews for a particular product, is something like '0 reviews for this product' displayed? As a user you could probably interpret that as, 'No reviews, so no one has probably bought this product, I won't risk it either!'

I think that could be the problem. If there are no reviews then just don't display any 'zero reviews' text. I can't think of any other reason why adding the reviews feature is costing you.

As for waiting to collect reviews, if a user writes a review now and it doesn't show up on the site, he or she may not write another one for you. They may actually think u are moderating/editing before display or something, credibility takes a beating.


To solve your problem of no reviews, reward customers for leaving a review. After purchasing the product, tell them they can get a discount of lets say, 10% on their next purchase if they leave a positive review. All negative reviews will be moderated, so you shouldn't suffer from that problem. Promote new products on your homepage so that if you buy this product (therefore pushed to review it), you will receive X product as a bonus.

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