Bazaarvoice has served German customer reviews for some of Germany’s top brands, including neckermann.de, Karstadt and QVC, and now we’ve opened an office in Duesseldorf – I’m excited to be heading up this new effort.

We’ve seen that 84% of product reviews from Germans are positive (4 or 5 Stars) with an overall average rating of 4.24 out of 5 stars. This is another great example of the classic review “J-Curve” we have consistently seen in the UK and US markets thus far.

Average German star rating

Reviews important to German shoppers, merchants falling behind

German research company Fittkau & Maass recently highlighted the importance of customer ratings and reviews in their most recent 2009 W3B study of German internet users and usage. The research shows that about 80% of German online shoppers frequently read reviews before making a purchase decision.

The results of the W3B study also showed that German online shoppers mostly read reviews on price comparison sites (64%), likely  due to the fact that only about one third of German online shops feature product reviews in their online shops, according to a recent Study by German eBusiness solutions provider novomind. The result that only 24% of the W3B study respondents said that they frequently read product reviews in online shops is most probably strongly influenced by the fact that most online shops don’t offer product review functionality.

Multiple Bazaarvoice case studies show that having product reviews  directly correlates with a significant uplift in conversions for products with reviews, as the following illustration shows:

Average conversion before ratings & reviews

German online retailers should take note, as shoppers who value reviews will leave the purchase funnel on the retailer’s website and will be exposed to alternative offers (e.g. on price comparison sites, search engines, etc.), which could mean lost sales for retailers.

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