The ‘Traffic & Conversion Stack’ Ecommerce Survey

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In early 2021, we made an incredible discovery regarding how Amazon generates a ton of highly-target organic search engine traffic, while simultaneously maximizing their online conversion rates (generating an average 74% conversion rate for Prime members, and a 10-15% conversion rate for non-Prime members).  

 

We called this discovery the ‘Traffic & Conversion Stack’ (T&C Stack), which is made up of 3 main components: product ratings & reviews, product Q&A, and a website security seal.

 

At Shopper Approved, we knew that the T&C Stack highly influenced consumer’s buying decisions, but we wanted to quantify it, so we created a randomized survey with actual product page images to see which option consumers would choose to buy from, and then we asked them why.

 

The results of this randomized survey are included in this enlightening report.

 

Enjoy!

 

DJ Sprague
Chief Marketing Officer
Shopper Approved

 

Key Statistics

Traffic & Conversion Stack (Product Reviews, Q&A, and Website Security)

  • 88% of consumers surveyed said that they were more likely to buy from an Amazon product page with the Traffic & Conversion Stack on it, than an identical Amazon page without it.
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  • When asked the same question regarding a non-Amazon product page, 91% picked the Traffic & Conversion Stack option, which means that the Traffic & Conversion Stack is even more important for non-Amazon sellers and eCommerce owners, because they have less inherently baked-in trust than Amazon.
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  • Of those who selected the Traffic & Conversion Stack on the Amazon page, 51% said that ‘ratings and reviews’ influenced their decision, but a vast majority of the remaining respondents (40%) said that all 3 trust factors combined (Reviews, Q&A, and Website Security) influenced their buying decision.

 

Ratings & Reviews

  • 80% of consumers say that product ratings and reviews are important when searching for products online, with 61% saying they are ‘very important’ or ‘absolutely essential’.
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  • 81% of consumers read product reviews 50% or more of the time before buying a product, and over 1/3rd (35%) of consumers read reviews over 90% of the time before buying.

 

Website Security

  • 88% of those surveyed said that they are more likely to buy if a product page has a ‘Website Security’ badge or a ‘Secure Transaction’ link next to the ‘Buy Now’ button.
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  • 83% said that having a ‘Website Security’ badge or ‘Secure Transaction’ link on a website is ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ when buying online.

 

Q&A

  • 94% of those surveyed said that they are more likely to buy if a product page has a Q&A Section.
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  • When asked about the importance of having a Q&A section on a product page, 94% said it was ‘moderately important’,‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ when researching a product. 
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  • And 75% said it was ‘very important or ‘extremely important’ when buying a product.
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  • 80% of respondents said that if a website answered a question they had, and that website showed up in the top of Google search results, that website would have more credibility.
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  • And 73% said they would be ‘highly likely’ or ‘extremely like’ to visit that website.

 


 

T&C Stack (Product Reviews, Product Q&A & Website Security Seal)

To get started we showed consumers some different product page images – with and without the T&C Stack – to see which page they would choose to buy from.  We then asked them which factors influenced their buying decisions. The order in which the options were shown were randomized, to avoid any order bias.  The results are shown below…

 

Take a look at these two similar product pages. Which one are you more likely to buy from?

 

Option A (above)

 

 

 

Option B (above)

 

The result?  88% of those surveyed chose Option A – the Amazon page with the T&C Stack.  Even though virtually everyone is intimately familiar with what an Amazon page looks like, nearly 9 out of every 10 people chose the Amazon page with the ratings and reviews, Q&A results, and Secure transaction seal. 

 

Which factor or factors influenced your decision to choose Option A?

 

While 51% of respondents said that ratings and reviews influenced their decision to choose option A (the T&C Stack option), a whopping 40% of those remaining said that ‘All 3 factors combined (Reviews, Q&A, and Website Security)’ influenced their buying decision.

 

This is very important for 2 reasons.  First, it shows you just how important and highly influential ratings and reviews are; and second, it reveals that nearly half of all consumers look at multiple trust factors when making a purchase, and if you don’t make these additional factors available and visible, you may be alienating a large portion of your customer base, and missing out on potential sales.

 

Take a look at these two similar product pages. Which one are you more likely to buy from?

This question was identical to the original question, but we used a non-Amazon website to see if the results would be similar if consumers weren’t buying from Amazon. The order in which option the two options were shown were randomized, to avoid any order bias. The results were fascinating…

 

 

Option A (above)

 

 

Option B (above)

 

Unlike the Amazon option, which was 88%, respondents chose Option A above 91% of the time (a solid 9 out of 10 adults preferred the T&C Stack version).

 

This slight difference in preference is likely due to Amazon already having a certain level of inherent trust, which likely led to some of the respondents being somewhat indifferent.  However, in the case of a non-amazon site, it shows that having trust signals and social proof on your product pages is even more important in order to ease customer concerns and to get them to trust you and buy from you.

 

Which factor or factors influenced your decision to choose Option A?

While 50% of respondents said that ratings and reviews influenced their decision to choose option A (the T&C Stack option), a whopping 42% said that ‘All 3 factors combined (Reviews, Q&A, and Website Security)’ influenced their buying decision. Again, this is evidence that shoppers need to see more trust signals on a non-Amazon site than on Amazon itself. 

 

Bottom line: Adding the T&C Stack to your website significantly increases consumers’ likelihood of buying, because it answers the 3 critical conversion questions:

 

1. Can I trust this seller?

2. Can I trust this product?

3. Can I trust the security of this transaction? 

 

Ratings & Reviews


How important are ratings and reviews when searching for products online?

We asked this question to determine the level of value that consumers currently place on ratings and reviews during the research phase of the buyer journey.  61% of those surveyed said that ratings and reviews are ‘Very Important’ or “Absolutely Essential’ when searching for products to buy.  

 

 

An additional 19% said they were ‘Important’, which means that 80% of shoppers place a great deal of value on ratings and reviews when trying to determine which products look the most trustworthy and credible.

 

I read online ratings and reviews approximately ___% of the time before buying a product online.

For this question, we wanted to see if there was a correlation between reading reviews when searching for a product and actually buying a product.  (In the survey we bolded the words searching and buying to try to emphasize the difference.)  We also chose to ask this question in a percentage format mostly out of curiosity to see what percentage people would physically enter.  The results are very interesting…

 

 

As you can see, there is a very noticeable increase in the number of consumers reading reviews once you hit 70%.  There is also a spike at 50%.  Surprisingly, 81% of those surveyed stated that they read online ratings and reviews before making a purchase 50% or more of the time.

 

Website Security


If a product page has a trusted ‘Website Security’ badge or ‘Secure Transaction’ link next to the ‘Buy Now’ button, are you more likely to buy?

 

 

88% of those surveyed said that having a website security badge, or a ‘Secure Transaction’ seal, like the one in the T&C Stack, make them more likely to buy.  More than ever, website security is ‘top of mind’ for consumers, as more and more news footage of breaches, ransomware, and stolen credit card anda personal information run rampant.

 

The best way to eliminate your customer’s security concerns is to add a comprehensive website security solution to your website like Trust Guard.

 

How important is having a trusted ‘Website Security’ badge or ‘Secure Transaction’ link that shows that your information is safe when buying online?

 

 

Of those surveyed, 83% said that having a trusted security solution was ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’.  And another 12% said it was ‘moderately important’, which when combined together equals 95% of all respondents, which helps to give you an idea of how important website security is to consumers – especially when they’re deciding who to buy from online.

 

Q&A


If a product page has a Q&A section that answers existing questions you may have, or gives you the ability to get an answer to a question, are you more likely to buy?

 

 

93% of those surveyed said that they were more likely to buy from a product page that has Q&A on it, or that gives them the ability to ask and get an answer to a question that they may have.  This is significant, especially when you consider that one of our clients, RV Upgrades, consistently gets a 75% conversion rate on questions that customers ask directly, that are answered via Q&A.

 

How important is having a Question and Answer (Q&A) Section on a product page when researching a product to buy?

 

 

70% of respondents said that having a Q&A section on your product page was ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ when researching a product to buy.  Also, when asked the same question regarding actually buying a product, 75% said having Q&A on your product page was ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’.

 

Would a website that answered a question that you had, and that showed up at the top of the Google search results, increase the perceived credibility of that website?

 

 

When it comes to building trust, 80% said that having an answer to a product question show up at the top of organic Google search results increased the perceived credibility of a website.

 

This is of particular importance when you understand what ‘search-optimized Q&A’ is, how it works, and how Amazon’s been leveraging it for years to get tons of free, highly-targeted search traffic to millions of it’s individual product pages.  You can do this too, and even beat Amazon – if you know what to do.

 

If you asked a question about a product in Google, and the answer you were looking for came up at the top of the search results, how likely are you to visit that website?

 

 

Not only does having your Q&A results show up in the top of Google organic search listings increase your credibility, but it also significantly increases your traffic.  Based on the results, 73% said that they would be ‘highly likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to visit a site that showed up with an answer to their question at the top of Google search.

 

Summary of Findings

If you want more search engine traffic and a higher website conversion rate, then you need to implement the T&C Stack on all of your individual product pages.  While you can do this to some degree using cookie-cutter apps and widgets from your shopping cart provider, you will only get a small portion of the true benefit.

 

To beat Amazon, you need:

  • An official Google Review Partner in your corner to ensure that all of your ratings and reviews show up in as many strategic locations in Google, Bing, Facebook, and dozens of other high-profile locations as possible. 
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  • Someone that understands ‘search-optimized Q&A’, and how to leverage every question and answer to maximize their ability to rank highly in Google organic search results.  When done right, some of your answers can even show up as Featured Snippets and gaining the lion’s share of the traffic.
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  • A comprehensive, simple, and affordable website security solution that truly protects your customers from hackers, but also understands how to effectively market that security in a way that instantly builds trust and resolves their concerns.

 

As a Shopper Approved client, we can provide you with all of these solutions, with turn-key onboarding and setup, and make them look completely native to your website – just like they do on Amazon!

 

Bottom Line:

If you want to compete with Amazon, then do what they’re doing!  Consumers expect the T&C Stack, and honestly, if you do it right, it’s one of the best traffic and conversion strategies you can possibly implement for the price.

Get the full infographic, ebook and case study

 

Methodology
 

This survey is a compilation of two surveys.  Both surveys were given to representative random samples of 600 US-based consumers, ages 18 and older.  They were conducted by an independent 3rd party survey company and were determined to be a statistically accurate representation of the general population with a 95% confidence level and a 5% margin of error.

 
Reproduction and Use
 

You are welcome to quote, cite, or use any of the information or graphics in this report, provided that you credit Shopper Approved and link to this URL.  If you have any questions or comments about this report, please contact us at support@shopperapproved.com.

 

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by DJ Sprague

CMO

Duane "DJ" Sprague is a member of the Forbes Communications Council, a contributor to several marketing textbooks, a past marketing columnist for the retail automotive industry, a national speaker, and holds a master's degree in Integrated Marketing.

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