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Customer Review Widget Increased eCommerce Sales by 36% is a Dutch online biking solutions store. They sell everything from bicycle parts to accessories to cycling wear. Their homepage looks pretty impressive with shipping info and return policy right in the top banner.

The problem

Of all their pages, FietsPunt’s product pages had the highest bounce rate which was directly hurting their sales. The hypothesis was that may be the visitors were apprehensive and didn’t know if they could trust the company with online shopping.

This is how their product page looked:


The Facebook widget test

Roeland Van Oostenbrugge, the owner of, used Visual Website Optimizer to run a small A/B test. In order to assuage the fears of online shoppers, he decided to show them some social proof — one of the six persuasion principles from Robert Cialdini’s classic book ‘Influence’. In November last year, he split half the website traffic to a variation which had a Facebook widget showing more than 1,000 Likes on the product pages.

This is how the Facebook widget variation looked:

Facebook version

However, the test didn’t change the user behavior significantly and the problem of bounce persisted. He ran another test — this time changing the location of the widget – but to no avail.

The second test

The failure of the first test was hardly a setback for Roeland. In January this year, he picked up another tool from the credibility arsenal – a Trust Pilot widget showing the latest customers reviews. He ran a test to see if live testimonials were able to ward of visitors’ anxiety and tracked the sales and add to carts. The widget was added on the bottom right corner of the page. Take a look:


The results

The version with the Trust Pilot recorded 36.73% increase in orders and had a 99% chance to beat the original. The test was run for 15 days on around 16,000 visitors before Roeland happily implemented the changes on the website.

When asked how the 36.73% increase in orders will impact his revenue, Roeland said, “I assume the turnover to grow linearly with the conversion rate. In that case, our monthly extra revenue would be approximately 90,000 Euro ($122,660).”


Reasons why the Trust Pilot version might have worked

It’s interesting to note that Roeland used the same persuasion principle of ‘social proof’ in both the tests. The Facebook widget didn’t make any difference to the conversions but the customer testimonials had high impact. However, it will be unfair to directly compare the two tests as they were run separately in two different months and years.

The possible reasons why the customer review version worked better are:

1)  It was reassuring

The Trust Pilot displayed reviews by customers who had made the purchase. It assured the prospects that people were actually buying the products and removed the last barrier for conversion to take place. A VWO client, ExpressWatches, also saw 58% increase in sales by adding a Trust Pilot widget exactly at the same position as FietsPunt did.

In fact, Roeland got the very idea of running this test after reading this case study. “The inspiration for starting this test came from some VWO cases. It was funny to see another VWO case that was almost similar to this,” he said.

2) People read reviews  to make purchase decisions

  • Around 70% of online shoppers in US say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.
  • Some 63% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

We ourselves have seen many customers A/B testing reviews on their product page and seeing an increase in sales. One such example is of WikiJob which saw a 34% increase in sales by adding customer reviews.

What about you?

Do you use any trust enablers on your website? What has been your experience with them? Let’s take this conversation to the comments.

A lover of the written word, I plan to be the planet's first sit-down comedian. When I am not rethinking a misplaced comma, I write about conversion optimization and website usability. You can follow me @mohitanagpal

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