Negative Reviews Can Drive Ecommerce

Three Reasons to Embrace Negative Reviews Rather Than Remove Them

What to do with negative reviews is one of the biggest conundrums with implementing a customer review system on your website. It’s great when your customers are saying nice things about your product: these comments allow shoppers to get information on what real customers are saying about your products and help to push them toward clicking “Add to Cart.”

Negative reviews seem counterproductive in comparison. After all, you added a customer review feature to your site to benefit your business. You wanted to increase dwell times, boost sales, make customers feel more engaged, and improve the overall shopper experience. When negative reviews come into the mix, they could boost dwell times, but they certainly aren’t going to help your sales. Why not just remove them as they occur? We’re going to teach you something that will seriously challenge that logic. 

Why Negative Reviews Happen

Negative reviews help your brand more than they hurt it. There are several reasons why this counterintuitive statement is true. First, let’s talk about a fundamental truth in e-commerce: nothing gets unanimous appeal. From movies to music to clothing to electronics, nothing will ever have a 100% approval rating. If you are running a business, negative reviews are guaranteed.

While some businesses see negative reviews as their kryptonite and trip over themselves in their haste to hit “Delete,” a negative review could be due to multiple factors. Perhaps a customer got a defective product. Maybe the product is fine, but a customer is giving a negative review because they waited weeks to get their shipment. A negative review could even be due to something as simple as a misleading sizing chart or a product photograph that didn’t accurately portray the color of the item.

Nike Metcon 3 Review

If you maintain your high product and service standards, negative reviews aren’t necessarily a problem. Here are three of the biggest arguments for why they help your business more than they hurt it.

How Negative Reviews Help Your Business

1. Negative points of view prove that your reviews are real.

This point is the most important reason why you shouldn’t delete any negative reviews that show up on your product pages. No product and no brand is capable of eliciting true 100% approval. If all your products have perfect five-star ratings and glowing reviews, customers will get suspicious that the reviews were either bought or planted by your brand. This “fake reviews” assumption will do no favors to your brand image or your relationships with customers. 

Your shoppers will also notice if you start deleting negative reviews. The reviewers who leave negative comments will notice if their reviews never go live and deduce the rest. If you delete reviews after they’ve been published, you run the risk of a shopper reading a negative review and then coming back later only to notice that it’s missing. That kind of second interaction can deteriorate brand trust entirely.

You always want your customers to trust you, and censoring their opinions is not the way to get there. Customers will only trust your positive reviews if they see a few negative or neutral reviews, too. In the video below George talks about a pair of Saucony trainers providing both positives and negatives about the product. 

2. Negative reviews serve as cues to offer helpful customer service.

More than just showing that your brand has thick skin and can take criticism, negative reviews highlight areas in which customer service is necessary. Most of the problems we discussed earlier in this post—defective product, slow shipping, wrong sizes, misleading colors—can be easily resolved with a quick customer service exchange.

By giving buyers a public place to share complaints or concerns about your brand, you also give yourself a “message board” through which you can respond to customers who had a negative experience.  When a negative review comes through, comment on it, apologize for the customer’s experience, and offer to make it right. Offer to replace or exchange the product with a working model or a different color or size. Alternatively, you might offer store credit, discounts, or free shipping.

How you respond and make things right should depend on the magnitude of the customer’s complaints. However, the core benefit of this tactic is twofold. First, it gives you a chance to take a customer’s negative experience and turn it into a positive one. Second, it lets you show off your customer service publicly so that other shoppers can see that you care about helping dissatisfied customers.

3. Negative reviews give you valuable feedback on your products.

If you only listen to negative reviews and ignore the positive ones, you will be caught in an echo chamber in which you never acknowledge other points of view. By not only keeping negative reviews around but also reading them and engaging with them, you acknowledge criticism of your products or your overall customer experience. You can use this feedback to improve the shopping experience on your website, whether that means revising a sizing chart or offering multiple different shipping options. And when it comes time to create new products or upgrade old ones, you’ll know which weaknesses to target.


Product Review Videos

Help Your Customers Virtually “See, Touch, and Feel” Your Products

In many ways, shopping online is the optimal way to shop. It’s easy, convenient, fast, and accessible. Shopping at a brick and mortar store takes real commitment: customers have to set aside time to drive to the store, walk around shopping, try out or try on products, and wait in line at the checkout counter. E-commerce stores let shoppers find what they need without the drive, without the walk around the store, and without the line. They take what could easily be a one- or two-hour shopping trip and condense it into five minutes.

Online Shopping Experience

If there’s one drawback to e-commerce shopping, it’s that customers can’t see, touch, and feel the products. For instance, when it comes to clothing or shoes bought online, customers can’t try on items to check for fit and comfort. E-commerce sites usually have high-resolution images that display their products from a variety of different angles. However, simply seeing the product in a still-frame image is not the equivalent of holding it in your hands and trying out its features for yourself.

These factors illustrate why some customers continue to prefer shopping at physical stores despite the ease and convenience that shopping online provides. Some e-commerce companies try to rectify this shortcoming by making the product return process as simple as possible so customers can send back products that don’t match their expectations. But that’s not the only way to disrupt these reservations.

Put the “See, Touch, Feel” Element Back into the Shopping Experience

Some e-commerce brands are experimenting with letting customers “try on” or “test out” their products. Warby Parker, a designer glasses brand, sends each new customer five frames for a home try-on. This model allows customers to try out the company’s products before making a purchase. In short, it adds seeing, touching, and feeling back into the purchasing process to put their minds at ease.

Warby Parker

It may be effective, but it’s a model that wouldn’t be sustainable for many businesses. Warby Parker pays for the shipping on the try-on pairs of glasses and provides prepaid shipping for customers to send them back after a five-day trial period. When customers choose a specific set of frames, they purchase them online and get a new pair shipped to them: they don’t just keep the ones they liked as part of the original try-on package.

An Alternative Option

Most e-commerce companies don’t have the funds to handle free shipping for a product try-on or test-out service. Companies like Warby Parker could feasibly start charging for this service, but extra expense mitigates the convenience of shopping online in the first place. It’s doubtful that customers would want to cover those extra shipping costs.

There are alternative ways to achieve a similar effect—not necessarily by actually giving your customers a chance to touch and feel your products, but by generating a similar level of engagement to make them feel completely comfortable.

Most customers have recognized that shopping online is the future of retail. As a result, they’ve come up with new ways to determine whether or not they want to buy products. Instead of going to the store and trying out potential purchases, customers read reviews from other shoppers. They engage with the opinions of other people who have bought a certain product before them, hoping that the review they read will answer key questions about the quality, functionality, fit, and usability of the product. Reviews may not recreate the “see, touch, feel” experience of brick and mortar shopping, but they provide the next best thing: they let customers see, touch, and feel products vicariously through people who have already bought those products.

Text Reviews

Video reviews take the experience to another level. Instead of reading about people who have had the opportunity to use a product, customers can watch that person describe the product in real time. The video format gives reviewers a chance to add product demonstrations into their review. It enables them to pick up a product and show it to their viewers and reveal the product’s features or flaws.

Product Reviews help engage customers longer driving e-commerce

Like text reviews, video reviews can’t actually give customers the ability to reach through their computer screen and touch or feel a product. However, by letting customers see a product in action—and see another person touch and feel that product—video reviews tell shoppers almost as much about a product as a true tactile or kinesthetic experience would. The seeing part of the “see, touch, feel” experience becomes more important here because customers get to see the product in action. They are seeing another person do all of the things they would do if they had the opportunity to try out a product in person.

Best of all, video reviews don’t come with the unsustainable price tag attached to your brand that something like a free try-on program would. Once you’ve implemented the video review system on your e-commerce site, all of the content is going to come from customers. All you have to do is promote it.

Product Reviews help engage customers longer driving e-commerce

7 Key Reasons User Generated Video Will Become Key in E-commerce (with stats to prove it)

The world of e-commerce is an ever evolving beast.  With the rise of mobile and tablet, we’re always on the go and connected, and whilst this is a great thing for e-commerce, it also brings with it a few new, previously unseen dilemmas.  We’re less patient than ever, and want content that we can trust, that keeps us entertained, and that we can consume within seconds.  The following 7 points are all reasons why user generated video content is the next big thing for e-commerce.

Reason One – Search Engine Ranking

Search engines rank user experience above all else when ranking pages.  If people lose interest, not only do retailers run the risk of losing the sale, they also drop down the search rankings.  Improve the time spent on the page, reduce the bounce rates, and user experience is improved.  Hey Presto, you’re climbing the rankings!

Product Review

Reason Two – Organic Search > Paid Search

Organic Search results are far more effective than paid content.  Over 30% of consumers click on the first link of a search, with slots 2-4 making up the vast majority of the rest.

Organic SEO

Reason Three – The Modern Consumer

We’re a society with little patience.  No longer do we have time to sit and read about a product, we would far rather watch something instead.  Can you afford to lose a quarter of your potential customers?

1 in 4 consumers actually lose interest in a company if it doesn’t have video (Animoto Millennial Study 2015).  57% of consumers are more confident in a purchase when they watch a product review, and less likely to return items (Google 2015). 

Reason Four – Authenticity

However, the video must be authentic.  If it is too promotional, or produced by the Brand or Retailer, it is seen as being biased, and therefore people are less likely to make the purchase.

85% of millennials find video product demos helpful, however, 2 in 3 lose interest in a video if it’s too promotional (Animoto Millennial Study 2015). 

Reason Five – Consumer Trust

People are very skeptical of sales people.  Who would you trust? The commissioned Sales executive, or real life customers, with experience using the product?  It works the same online as it does in the real world.  Without a sales person, your product pages must do the talking.

Shoppers Trust Shoppers

Customer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers (eMarketer, February 2010).

Reason Six – Fraud in The System

Fraudulent text reviews are becoming a big issue for online retailers.  Traditionally e-commerce sites have had to rely on text based reviews.  In the internets heyday, trust was implied, however companies are now writing their own reviews, or paying others for favorable reviews, even when the reviewer has no experience with the product.  User Generated Video Reviews avoid these issues by showing the consumer with the product.  It’s much harder to fake an opinion when you are there holding the product that you own!

1,114 Text-reviewers sued by Amazon for being fraudulent – ABC News

Can YOU trust a review if you don’t know that the person writing it has even used the product?

Reason Seven – It Works!

In a recent Case Study with Newton Running, by placing the Criteek widget on their product pages, they saw an average 72% increase in Dwell Time, and average 8% decrease in Bounce Rates, and crucially, an average 68% increase in Page Views over using text reviews alone.

Newton Running Case Study

Key Takeaways

  • Constantly refreshed, streamed video content keeps your pages up to date, with new content
  • This content improves SEO due to an improved user experience, helping your site climb Search Engine rankings
  • Therefore, not only will you gain traffic, but you’ll keep them there, AND, build trust with your audience
  • Trust leads to more sales and more repeat customers
  • This has a knock-on effect in that you’ll see a lower volume of returns due to users getting a live look at the product, from real people (Bonus Stat – 22% of all online returns are made because the buyer felt that their product didn’t look or fit like they expected)

At Criteek, we specialize in video review media for e-commerce businesses. With video marketing becoming increasingly vital, video reviews are the key to improving your dwell rates, boosting sales, and bringing in more revenue.