How customer reviews differ across leading marketplaces

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Customer reviews allow shoppers to see the transparency of products’ offering which plays an important part in their purchasing journey. The more detailed the product reviews section, the more are the chances of shoppers’ getting reassured about their selection. It is often questionable when products’ reviews are unavailable to a consumer’s eye. Fraudulency, quality and price factors come to mind to bridge the imagination gap and asses what might be wrong with a product.

But do all of the leading marketplaces offer their clientele product reviews, and if not, might there be a reason to ‘sabotage’ shoppers purchasing intent? I’ve set myself on a quest to analyse item reviews pages of Amazon, eBay and Etsy to see how much transparency exemplary marketplaces give when it comes to their products. I will rank them based on the existence of reviews, clarity and seller interaction with a consumer.

To asses all of the mentioned marketplaces fairly, I’ve input the search term “headphones” and clicked on the first available item.


The 24-year old marketplace are taking the leading place in the product reviews marathon. Scrolling down at the bottom of a product’s page I’ve stumbled upon a useful ‘customer questions & answers’ bar. The section allows shoppers that have previously bought a product, and the seller itself to answer customers questions about a particular item, with the best-rated questions appearing at the top as the most product-relevant enquiries. It is displayed as a question blog to encourage shoppers to participate in a somewhat live-chat discussion about their desired item which also serves to grab the attention of by-passing shoppers.

My favourite of all sections comes further down which showcases customers photos of a product. For myself, that’s the most deciding point of purchase, as I can use my photographic memory to decide whether a product will fit in and is useful in my day-to-day life.

On the left, the mini customer reviews section is also a strong selling point as it gives the number of customer reviews, and therefore a close indication of the certain product’s popularity amongst shoppers. Customers can search reviews based on product-specific features to give themselves a piece of mind when it comes to its functionality in the post-purchase environment.

As we have different opinions on things, Amazon’s last ‘customer groups & interest’ section displays how different shopper groups have rated this product. Amazon say that “customers are assigned based on several factors including past purchases, shipping addresses, and Amazon program memberships.”

customer reviews



When it comes to Etsy’s customer reviews it offers a fair amount of feedback on a product, but not to Amazon’s extent. It’s simplistic, yet some may say, has a practical approach to product reviews which allows shoppers to see the number of customers’ reviews and their overall view on the product.customer reviews


eBay have introduced customer reviews relatively recently in comparison to their key competitor Amazon. In 2016 the marketplace have announced an introduction of product reviews to help increase conversion on merchants eligible listings.

Looking at eBay’s product reviews today, they appear somewhat limited or possibly non-existent. It appears that the black space where the customer review section is meant to be has been taken over by ads.

I’m a type of shoppers that always buys on Amazon so when I’ve clicked on the first available pair of headphones on the marketplace I couldn’t spot any sign on customer reviews. Creating a customer account didn’t help either, which is another disadvantage as it took time to register.

Whether eBay have or haven’t got a product reviews section isn’t a customers mission to find out. Sellers have a limited time to persuade shoppers to purchase and if one product doesn’t offer a simple product review section, would they waste their time to look for another?

5 Responses

  1. eBay’s reviews system is a joke. They didn’t want to copy Amazon for two decades and when they finally DID it, they implemented the reviews system in an absurd way which is based on EAN codes and NOT actual listings!

    Unlike on Amazon, on eBay, anyone can use your EAN code and create a new listing for it – selling a totally different item and still, reviews will count towards that EAN number and associated reviews.

    How stupid that is?

    Yes, on Amazon reviews are also based on EAN codes BUT the difference is that Amazon only allows one listing for each product while on eBay there can be 100 listings for the exact same product.

    Maybe they have changed the system recently, I don’t know, as I don’t sell there anymore but this is how the reviews system was rolled out few years ago and how it worked in 2017.

  2. Yes there are more reviews on Amazon but if you buy a product from Amazon you are not allowed to leave feedback for Amazon’s service. In the days when you could check customer feedback for Amazon on Google, Amazon rated below most good marketplace sellers on Amazon. Amazon clearly worked out that if they spent money on telling customers that their service was 2nd to none they could brainwash customers into believing it. As a result a lot of common problems on Amazon get swept under the carpet and people will buy from Amazon in preference to a highly rated marketplace seller based on Amazon’s self promotion.

  3. I had a swimming pool related item on ebay and one of the reviews slating it it was actually about shoddy service for delivery of a kettle… The EAN was the official one for my product and when i did some research it seems that the other guy had used the same barcode for every single product he had listed. so i geta big fat crap 1 star and he had never even purchased from me or the damn product in the first place!
    Don’t even start me on the ebay catalogue which is riddled with errors that they simply wont correct. I’m so close to using my own barcodes for everything now, as we have to get our own for many items we have made for us anyway.


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