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Product Reviews – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Product Reviews - the good- the bad and the ugly emoticon faces

Product reviews have become a key part of the consumer buying decision for some time and therefore they will not be ignored – We will embrace the reviews and make them work better for us!

Why Should We Embrace Product Reviews? 

  • Good for brand and product credibility
  • Good for customer service opportunities
  • Good for SEO
  • Good for increasing sales conversions

Reviews as we know,  can be good, bad and ugly and so how do we manage this and not only celebrate the bad and the ugly (yes really) but to encourage more reviews?

Love Thy Customer

Obtaining customer feedback is an age old method for understanding our successes and failures as retailers and it has never been so simple. Product and service reviews are a good thing, as long as they are handled well and on a regular basis. A bad product review is simply an opportunity and yes we’ve all seen those vitriolic comments from people, slamming your products or services, usually very aggressively and usually anonymously! for the caring retailer this can often be taken quite personally. It has been widely published that good and bad reviews make brands more credible and so a user will expect to see a bit of both (although obviously more good than bad).

example ecommerce review and responseThe opportunity here is to have the ability to respond to a particularly grizzly review with the utmost of professionalism and empathy, not necessarily for the author of the comment, unless you feel they have a point, but for the other potential customers who will read this and see how it was handled. Bad reviews need to be balanced out with good, and so seriously bad reviews should be published (and responded to but limited to 3 or 4 per product)

Ask yourself, do recent reviews highlight a problem in my product? do I need to invest in more product education perhaps? Some “How To” guides maybe?

Website Product Reviews

An ecommerce website reviews system, will usually give the retailer control over reviews, and so a savvy retailer will perhaps hold back on the less positive reviews and only approve these sparingly.  Reviews can and do appear in other places however and this must be considered as these can not be managed in terms of  controlling visibility. We all know the old adage – a happy customer will say nothing and an unhappy customer will go out of their way to tell the world what they think at every opportunity.

Peoples opinions of products are not only influenced by reviews but by the number of reviews they see.

Recent research by Profitero and BzzAgent (June 2016) supports this and concluded that there is a strong correlation between the number of online reviews a product has and online sales.

product reviews and sales impact chart by Profitero and buzzagent

Looking at the graph we can see that adding just one product review sees a sales increase of 10%, adding 50 reviews shows a potential sales increase of 30%.  So not only are reviews a good thing but the quantity of reviews can increase product sales. Note, the sales increase rate does start to slow after 50 reviews.

How To get More Reviews ?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Ensure you have the ability for customers to leave a review of your products via your website and make sure that these reviews are checked, published and responded to regularly. You may get spam reviews (ignore, delete or mark as spam).
  2. Ensure that Google is picking up these reviews in its listings (look up a product in Google – can you see starts and ratings under the entry?)
  3. Ask for feedback post purchase, this could be via an automated email with a link to the product for ease of placing a review or with the ability to review from within the email (even better) The timing of this should be related to the product type you are selling, do give the user time to try it, unless you are selling ice cream, then get in there! Take care in how you word and design this email, keep it simple!

example review request from Amazon regarding a recent purchase

4. Should you incentivise reviews? lets be careful here – that almost sounds like buying feedback, not good and that’s not what we’re saying. The answer is yes why not .  An incentive if offered must be offered to all reviews, not just for positive reviews. You could try a monthly prize draw here, make the prize worth the time a user must take, and remember that the more product reviews you have, the more your sales are likely to increase! worth the investment we’d say.

5. Social media reviews – sometimes customers feel the need to vent their frustrations on social media but there are people out there prepared to praise too and a well managed social account where product and service feedback is responded to can work wonders for your brand. Facebooks reviews section is quite well used for many of our ecommerce clients and handled well, simply gives more brand credibility and happy customers.

As always, we hope this has been helpful and we always welcome your feedback and reviews of course!


t: @ourphilosophi