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What should be default sorting for customer reviews on e-commerce website?

  • newest
  • oldest
  • most helpful
  • rating (High to Low)
  • rating (Low to Hign)
  • ???

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Obviously you want the most interesting reviews first. If time matters for the subject, sorting by date makes the most sense, if not, sorting by date will still be the safest option. If you have other options, be sure how useful they are for sorting.

Sorting by rating can be misleading if there are no or just a few ratings. The first item is in this case expected to be the most valuable but is in fact the only rated item (or maybe randomly sorted on top or by date). If you do sort by rating, make sure rating items is used a lot.

Another way to sort is by the length of the review. This more of a fall back option, and it needs a bit of experimenting. But longer reviews tend to be more informative:

"Don't buy this!"

is less helpful than:

"I can't recommend this because of (a) ... and (b) ...".

Obviously you can't communicate to the user that longer reviews are placed on top, let alone make it a sort option which they can choose, but it's an idea to keep in mind if the main priority is to have the better reviews on top.

2

It depends.

For something that's time sensitive, displaying newest reviews first is good.

e.g. Restaurant reviews

The food at a restaurant may be very good several years ago, but they may change their menu, staff may change that makes older reviews less relevant.


For something that typically don't change over time, displaying "most helpful" reviews is good.

e.g. Book reviews

The content of a book doesn't change. A review that other customers marked as helpful will probably be relevant regardless of when the review was written.

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