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Can Product Reviews Help eBay Catch Up to Amazon?

Amazon product reviews have become a big draw to attract shoppers to its site, and eBay has been making a more concerted effort to have its own product reviews become more robust. It announced Tuesday it will expand its recently redesigned Product Reviews to more listings as part of its Spring Seller Update announcement.

eBay is requiring sellers to add UPC and Product Identifiers to listings, mimicking Amazon’s catalog approach, and that is helping it connect reviews across different sellers’ listings.

eBay Senior Vice President of Marketplaces Hal Lawton said Tuesday that eBay buyers had left more than two million product reviews over the past six months.

Brian Burke, eBay’s Director of Seller Experience, said “We know that when there’s product reviews at the item level, buyers are more likely to make a purchase, which is great for our sellers, great for eBay.”

eBay had introduced the new Product Review feature on the US site in August, and on Tuesday announced it would extend Product Reviews globally in the coming months, Burke said, as well as extending the feature to more and more products across the site. “It’s only going to get better over time as buyers and sellers use it, and we’re excited about it.”

When asked if product reviews would ever be appropriate for certain products like antiques, Burke said during a broadcast on eBay Radio that the Product Review team might say yes. A single item may not be reviewable, he said, “but even something we all think of as unique actually may be able to be productized. So that team will evaluate items on a case-by-case basis outside the catalog.”

The primary change to the eBay Product Review is the look and feel – it’s so much nicer, Burke said. “The information provided to the buyer is really clear, and you can see if the buyer purchased the item.”

He explained that if a buyer leaves a product review within 90 days of a purchase on eBay, it will display as a “verified” review.

Sellers who would rather not have product reviews show up in their listings are out of luck. Burke said as of May 6, there would no longer be a way to opt out, and any seller who had opted out would have the feature turned back on in their listings.

This page on eBay explains the new features of its Product Reviews, which include:

  • Item condition of the item reviewed
  • Item purchased on eBay
  • Sold by seller name when available and applicable
  • Reporting capability for inappropriate content

“Reviews are associated with a specific product, ensuring a reliable and consistent user experience for buyers,” eBay explains. “Reviews written by eBay buyers have the added benefit of having the seller’s username associated with the review.”

Will eBay ever catch up to Amazon when it comes to Product Reviews? Let us know what you think:

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.