We are all Amazon fans. We all adore silk bedding products, too.
We buy our silk bedding at Amazon.com. The online home products sector is where Amazon has a 29.6% market share, according to Amazon Home: Private Label & Celebrities.
However, due to Amazon’s significant market dominance, not every purchase has a 5-star rating. We occasionally have to return the products. In 2020, Amazon’s total e-commerce sales will account for 25% to 30% of the value of returned goods.
There are several causes for the returns:
- When we simply don’t want anything, returning it saves money.
- Occasionally, damaged goods are delivered.
- Some categories, like apparel, just have more returns.
- In the worst-case scenario, we got something different or incorrect. In fact, “Product received appears different” and “Received Wrong Product” account for 22% and 23% of all product return reasons, respectively, making them the top two reasons.
We don’t want to send back something that just arrived hot and fresh.
Therefore, before pressing the purchase button, we must pose a straightforward yet crucial question: Is this good?
Fortunately, Amazon is an open-up platform with lots of relevant information.
We can determine the quality of a product by looking at the specifics of the item, its rating, the number of reviews, and both positive and negative comments.
Let’s use the silk pillowcase as an illustration right now.
This article does not contain a lot of uncritically positive hype with affiliate links. On the contrary, it will show you the right and the wrong in such an explicit way.
Ready for it? Let’s dive in.
Is this silk pillowcase good?
A silk pillowcase in the case just below has 4,343 reviews and a 4.5/5 star rating (by September 12, 2022).
Good looking? But as I read the product page, something jumps out at me.
- Its cost. $13.99. Although cheaper, it is still within a reasonable range. A 10% coupon is also available at the time this post is written. Therefore, the actual cost is $12.6, which is pretty low (and closer to the usual price for a satin one.)
It either denotes a very cost-effective product, a “thin” actual silk product (low at momme counts), or anything that isn’t entirely made of silk.
- The lack of “momme” – one of the most crucial details about a silk item is the momme. Instead, it shows the “thread count,” which doesn’t exist in the measurements of silk products. Because thread count seems to be regular product information on all Amazon bedding items, it is usual to be there, but weird to be there alone.
In a word, it’s questionable whether the item is made of real silk.
There is a Q&A section screenshotted.
This is a really good question. As we just discussed, momme weight is among the most crucial details of a silk item, and this questioner was certainly aware of that.
The answer, however, is not the most convincing – this buyer just stated that it wasn’t silk without providing any explanation. It’s likely that individuals mistakenly identify the texture as silk, by, for instance, merely touching the piece, examining its “gloss,” or passing it through a ring—all incorrect methods for determining its true composition.
Check out this article if you want to learn how to determine whether silk is genuine: Many “Real Silk Tests” Are Wrong. Here Are Two Simple Right Ways.
The same thing happened in reviews. This type of extremely subjective comment is useful for the buyer’s reference but not very helpful if we want to know if it is silk or anything else that is “rough and cheap.”
Because there are so many unreliable methods of determining the silk texture, let us continue to assume that the silk pillowcase product is made of real silk.
However, as the investigation continues, something else emerges.
“It melted which confirms it is a synthetic fiber not silk fiber.”
“I pulled one thread out of the seam and checked how it burns. And it is definitely not silk”
And one of the silk tests stands out in these reviews: the burn test.
Here’s a video showing how a burn test works: When you burn a sample of silk, it will smell like burned hairs and leave a crumpy, black residue after the flame dies out. With your finger, you can easily smash the residue into black ashes.
People who are aware of the burn test are aware of the silk texture. (Are you one of them? :P)
This pillowcase material is untrustworthy. In a nutshell, I don’t buy it.
“I’m guessing that this company isn’t consistent with their products.”
And I believe we have reached an agreement on this point.
The product information and reviews are sufficient to identify a silk pillowcase. However, there is more information available. Continue reading if you’re interested – the information below will not help you choose a product, but it may be useful.
About the ratings and stars
Some people may still be skeptical about the fake silk case for one simple reason:
There are over 4,300 ratings with an average of 4.5/5 stars. How could a product with such a high rating be a forgery?
The answer is that the ratings could also be fake.
There are numerous methods for generating “more” ratings.
For example, in the posts Product merge to get the benefit of customer reviews and What happens reviews when listing are merged, you will see that reviews of one product can be combined with reviews of another product.
To merge two listings, they must be variations of the same product, such as different colors. There are 16 colors and three sizes available in this silk pillowcase product case.
When compared to the 4,300 ratings, 90 does not appear to be “amazing.”
Take a closer look at its ratings in 2022.
The following are the manual statistics for all of the reviews on this silk pillowcase from January 3rd, 2022 to September 17th, 2022.
In this table, we can see:
- In February, there are 4 one-star reviews and 5 five-star reviews.
- In April, there are only two reviews, both of which are negative.
- The number of five-star reviews in August is 18, while the number of critical reviews is 9.
- In September, the number of one-star reviews was 6, and the number of five-star reviews was 8.
Doesn’t look like a 4.5/5 product, does it?
Intuitively, if you were looking at a product and found nearly half of the reviews critical in a month, you wouldn’t associate it with a 4.5/5 item.
It implies that ratings without reviews are significantly different from ratings with reviews.
The Amazon A9 algorithm is used to calculate the rating.
We don’t know what exactly it is (nobody does) but we can draw a simple parallel.
Assume the star is calculated as follows:
(number of 5-star reviews x 5 + number of 4-star reviews x 4 +… + number of 1-star reviews x 1) ÷ the total number.
There will be a difference between this simple calculation and the actual rating, and the question is how large that difference should be.
So here is a silk pillowcase which is Amazon’s choice.
This Ravmix 100% Silk Pillowcase received 159 5-star reviews, 23 4-star reviews, 14 3-star reviews, 12 2-star reviews, and 32 1-star reviews between January 1 2021 and September 17 2022. The total number is 240. So it can be rated 4.1 according to our formula:
(159 x 5 + 23 x 4 + 14 x 3 + 12 x 2 + 32 x 1) ÷ 240 = 4.1
And it’s actual rating is 4.6/5, with a 0.5 difference.
Let us now expand the table slightly, as shown below:
And the 2022 gap is 4.5-3.8=0.7, which is 40% larger than the normal gap of 0.5. And the difference in September is 4.5-3.2 = 1.3!
The ratings differ so greatly from the review that the overall rating is unconvincing.
Is the seller manipulating the ratings in any way? I’m not sure.
Do you buy something without reading the reviews because the ratings are “excellent”?
You are the one who needs to answer the question.
People will not count the number of reviews and sort them by stars when answering the question “is this good?” and you are not required to do so. You can make a good choice for silk pillowcases and other silk bedding items by simply learning about the silk properties and reading their product descriptions and reviews. The most important thing is to know enough about silk and to trust your instincts rather than the number of ratings.
Check out our recommendation if you want to keep your silk bedding purchases simple.