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.


User-Generated Video

Why User-Generated Video Content is Your Best Marketing Tool for 2017 

For years, we’ve been told that content marketing is an essential part of online branding. Creating quality content and taking steps to make it as visible as possible can heighten your brand’s trust among customers and boost your search engine rankings. Now, user-generated video content has become even more important than brand-generated content. In fact, user-generated content stands to become the single most powerful marketing tool for brands in 2017. Read on for the three core reasons.

1Customers trust user-generated content

With content marketing, trust has always been a big part of the equation. Creating unique, informative, and well-written content was a way to show customers that your business knew its stuff. Trust is the driving factor behind user-generated content for a different reason. If content marketing works because it builds trust in your brand, user-generated content works because modern customers are inherently inclined to distrust brands like yours.

Before you start cycling back through your most recent consumer interactions trying to figure out why your customers might not trust you, know that this distrust isn’t directly your fault. Due to several factors, the average modern customer enters all brand interactions with caution. For one thing, they’ve dealt with online tracking and targeted marketing—tactics that strike most people as invasions of privacy that need to be avoided. For another thing, so many transactions take place online that it’s difficult to create the face-to-face human trust factor that brands naturally used to maintain with their customers.

Whatever the reasons for this consumer distrust, the fact is that your prospective buyers are going to take everything you say with a grain of salt. That includes social media posts, blogs, articles, email newsletters, and even product descriptions. It’s not that customers assume that the information you provide them directly is false. However, they are going to want to do their own research before purchasing your products, through sources they trust more than your brand’s mouthpiece.

User-generated video content is extremely helpful here. Customers don’t feel inclined to trust brands, but they do feel inclined to trust other customers, whether family members or online reviewers. As such, by implementing user-generated content on your website—like text reviews and video review media—you make it possible for customers to get “second opinions” on your products without leaving your platform. This content keeps customers on your site and increases the likelihood of them purchasing your products and trusting your brand.

2. Promoting user-generated content promotes brand ambassadors

When you enable user-generated content on your website, you give your customers a voice with which to talk about your products and your brand. When you give your customers that voice, you show them that they are valuable and tie them more strongly to your brand. Whether you are responding to each video review on your website with a simple “thank you” message or featuring top video reviews on your homepage or social media accounts, or both, user-generated content strategies make it easy to reward customers for standing up and becoming influencers.

User Generated Video Content

Your consumers see it as a reward to be recognized online by their favorite celebrities and brands. They will talk about those celebrities and brands more with the sole goal of being acknowledged, mentioned, or retweeted. If you start sharing user-generated content prominently, you will promote the kind of brand advocacy that amps up ROI. There is no better way to get customers talking about your brand online, both on your website and on social media.

3. User-generated content makes your customers feel valued

The Business 2 Community blog recently said that “influencers are the new celebrity spokesperson.” While celebrity spokespeople still drive user interest for larger brands, small- and mid-sized e-commerce companies experience similar benefits by getting lots of influencers to spread the word about their brand. Turning your customers into your own “celebrity spokespeople” will positively impact their overall brand loyalty.

Think about it this way: back in your school days, when you were recognized for accomplishing something impressive in one of your classes or subjects, what kind of response did that inspire in you? In most cases, positive recognition and reinforcement encourage kids to work harder in those classes to keep achieving impressive results. It also makes them enjoy those classes more because they feel like they are being rewarded for their input and effort.

A very similar psychology is at work with brand advocates. By giving customers a voice to use to share their opinions via user-generated content and then recognizing those opinions (on your website or social media), you give them the positive reinforcement they need to keep advocating for your brand. Your customers will feel honored and rewarded by the recognition and will continue stumping for your brand with the goal of seeing similar results, without compensation. Best of all, they will feel more attached and loyal to your brand.


Customer Video Review

How Video Reviews Create Trust with Shoppers

Did you know that an online customer is more likely to trust a product review from another customer than she is to trust a brand’s written product description? If both of those elements appear on every one of your online product pages, the review is more likely to inspire a sale than the branded content.

Need proof? Have a look at this Nielsen report from 2012. The survey, which gathered responses from 28,000 different people around the world, found that 70% of respondents trusted online reviews. Only 58% said that they trusted messages on brand websites and only half trusted email marketing efforts. Trust statistics were even worse for other forms of brand-to-customer communication like search engine ads, banner ads, and social media ads.

Nielsen Study

Building Your Trust Back Up Again

The message that Nielsen’s statistics sends is that customers just don’t trust brands anymore. Whether because of the prevalence of fraud on the internet or the fact that many brands have abused the power of targeted advertising, most companies are facing an uphill battle when it comes to winning over customers.

The good news is that there is a way for your brand to build that trust back up again. The key lies in embracing the thing that customers actually do trust: reviews.

Some companies have already realized this fact but have taken the wrong message from it. The result is the trend of brands “buying” positive reviews for their business on sites like Yelp, e-commerce marketplaces like, and even on their own product pages. Customers are smart enough to spot fake reviews. Getting caught in the act of buying fake reviews will do more damage to your brand’s trust levels than a few positive reviews (real or fake) will be able to rectify.

amazon review

So how can you take advantage of customer reviews without paying for them? The answer is just to let them happen. Don’t try to control the narrative; don’t weed out all the negative reviews and only post the positive ones; and don’t censor. Just implement the option for customer reviews on your brand’s e-commerce product pages and see for yourself how the maneuver benefits your trust levels.

The Power of Customer Reviews

Why are customer reviews so powerful? And how can the trust that customers have for reviews be translated into trust for your brand?

The power of customer reviews comes from the fact that customers aren’t sure what they can trust from brands. Your business may well have a commitment to transparency and disclosure. However, many customers still think that any communication they receive from a brand—be it a TV commercial or a piece of web copy—needs to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, brands are going to portray their own products and services positively because they have a vested interest in the success of those products and services.

Reviews are a refuge for these customers because they provide an unbiased third party opinion. Shoppers are willing to take the word of another customer—even a stranger—because they feel like that person is speaking from a position of impartiality. The reviewer doesn’t have a vested interested in the success of a brand’s product or service and therefore seems more likely to speak candidly.

By including video reviews on your own product pages, you will harness this trust in multiple ways. First, customers won’t have to go elsewhere to read impartial views on your product. They keep shoppers on your product pages, improving dwell rates and increasing the chances of a sale.

Second, customers will feel like they have more opportunity to make their voices heard. Barring customers from reviewing products on your e-commerce site feels like a way of silencing them. Giving your shoppers a platform through which to speak—and responding to their reviews—increases brand loyalty and trust.

Third, allowing any customer to say whatever he or she wants about a product creates an opportunity for both positive and negative reviews. You might be worried if and when negative reviews come in, but you shouldn’t be. Studies have shown that customers actually trust positive reviews more when they are featured side-by-side with negative reviews, simply because they feel more genuine. You can also respond to negative reviews and find ways to address the grievances of your dissatisfied customers. Not only does this system give you a way to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, but it also lets other customers see that you are making an effort to fix a negative experience. Both factors improve customer trust.

Enable Video Reviews on Your E-Commerce Site Today

Text-based reviews are powerful and will bring you all of the benefits mentioned above, but video review media takes these benefits to a whole new level. Video reviews add more personality into the mix and forge emotional connections between the reviewer and your shoppers. They take all of the trust benefits of text reviews and amplify them.