I'm trying to design an ecommerce concept around the idea that good sorting increases conversions. It's just an assumption, but based on my experiences and a few conversations, I'm wondering if an interface that places an emphasis on its ability to sort by Top Rated and Most Popular products / content drives users to perform more actions because of an implied social credibility.

Are there any case studies suggesting this?

  • This sounds like it would be heavily dependent on the type of products being sold. If I'm looking at shoes, what's popular or top rated doesn't interest me. I do care about style (sandals, flats, pumps), color, and price range. Beyond that, it's just a matter of going through all of the results until I see something that catches my eye. User ratings are only helpful for determining things like comfort (I've seen many shoes where users disagree here) or craftsmanship.
    – cimmanon
    Jan 6, 2014 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


After half an hour of searching the web, I found nothing relevant to your question of case studies. I did however find the UXMovement article Increasing eCommerce Conversion Rates: Category Page which has an insightful section on sorting.

Sorting is rearranging the order in which a group of products is shown. For example, if you have a set of cars you’re looking at, you could sort them by price (low to high). When deciding what sorting order you should use, you can start with the defaults of:

  • Alphabetical
  • Price
  • Date
  • Most Popular

However, there are others you can use that are specific to your niche. For example, Ebay understands that people may want to find products that are ending soon or newly listed. This sorting order is specific to Ebay’s product auctions.

Top Rated isn't among the default sorting options, and I would consider what benefit that may give users. No matter which sorting options you provide make sure to add analytics to your customer behaviour. That's the only way to know on your site, and with your users.

the article also reference Nielsen Norman Groups article E-Commerce User Experience, which addresses the possible issue of displaying results. It's rare for users to move beyond page three of a search result, implying that you may need use filtering as well. Filter makes user chose more specifics, and listing only products they are interested in.


The only thing I can tell you that comes anywhere close to what you're asking is that I've recently watched an usability test with eyetracking, the webshop I work for has done last year, before I started working there. The webshop features images of products with a 'popular' sticker on them if they get bought an X amount of time in a certain timeframe. My focus wasn't really on the subjects behaviour towards these popular products, but I did notice the stickers grabbing a lot of their attention. I would even dare to bet you every product chosen by the test subjects had a popular sticker.


Just my personal experience: on Amazon, or similar ecommerce sites, I always make sure the list of products is sorted by # of stars (i.e. user ratings, Most Popular).

You'll also notice that right here on Stack Exchange the answers to a question are sorted by # of votes, another measure of popularity. So I would guess that sorting by popularity is probably the best for user-friendliness and conversions.

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