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7 Reasons Why Negative User Reviews Are Positive For Your Online Store

Alina Wojslaw
Published by
Alina Wojslaw
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7 Reasons Why Negative User Reviews Are Positive For Your Online Store

Alina Wojslaw
Published by
Alina Wojslaw

Experience shows that most user reviews end up being positive, but, from time to time, less pleasing feedback also comes up.

Based on Lipscore numbers we can see that only 7.9% of shoppers are disappointed with the purchase and leave a negative review. Hence, the whole 84% of those who leave feedback are happy.

When was the last time you made a bigger purchase without consulting with your friends and colleagues or reading reviews online? Research shows that the majority of us do search for product or company reviews in many different ways before making a purchase. Having as few as five reviews on a product site increases the probability of purchase four times.

Besides, user-generated content has a strong influence on a webshop’s conversion rate. But what about negative reviews? Don’t they harm sales?

Just the opposite!

Customers are far more skeptical when they see solely positive reviews than they are of negative ones. In fact, it turns out that 82% of online shoppers actively look for negative reviews before they make a purchase. But why do we want to see negative reviews? Because they evoke trust and build credibility for your business. Nobody is perfect and allowing negative reviews in your webshop shows that you are open, honest, and can admit that. It’s what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, they say.  

The benefits of displaying negative customer reviews

1. An important source of information on bad products

Negative reviews are necessary not only for customers but also for your employees. Compensation claims statistics together with negative reviews is an important source of information for both the shoppers and product developers. Clas Ohlson highlights, among other things, the utility of negative user reviews and believes they have more to gain than to lose when they approve all types of reviews.

2. A chance to correct misleading product information

Maybe it’s not a product that has failed, but it’s the product description that gives a false impression on the product’s properties and needs text- or picture update. With customer reviews, you get valuable insight into what type of information shoppers expect to find on your product pages.

3. More accurate product information in customer feedback

There is no one ultimate product information form that fits all. Customers may have varying needs and also varying willingness to pay. Opening up for negative reviews provides more accurate impressions about products and helps customers figure out whether a product really is the right fit for them.

4. Fewer returns thanks to negative user reviews

Returns are expensive and time-consuming for your webshop and irritating for your customers. Giving them the best possible understanding of the product before the shopper makes a purchase can influence the return rate.

5. Branding and increased trust

Users grow more and more skeptical towards commercial players and approach information they find in your webshop with a pinch of salt. Webshops who dare to show negative user reviews are perceived as transparent. This can also be reflected in increased confidence in your positive user reviews: according to Econsultancy, 68% rely more on user reviews when they see both positive and negative reviews, while 30% suspect censorship or false reviews if they see no negative ones.

6. Negative reviews turned into gold

Negative customer experiences are not dangerous, as long as you handle them correctly and quickly make up for mistakes. Also, if you comment on a negative review with information about, eg. return options, you show other potential customers that you are taking them seriously. This can, in fact, strengthen your customer relations both with the unhappy customer and other customers who are reading it, as pointed out in the article about The Positive Effect of Negative Reviews. Sometimes a nice and quick response may be enough, while other times you may need to exchange the purchased goods, send a gift card to wipe away the tears, or make a refund.

7. Negative user reviews increase sales

In a 2017 report, the Spiegel Research Center (center for research on the relationship between customer engagement and purchasing behavior) concluded that sales stagnate where the average customer rating is higher than 4.7 (closer to 5.0).

The conversion rate in an online store peak at average ratings between 4.0 and 4.7.

Exclusively positive user reviews are therefore negative, as they give grounds for skepticism. On the other hand, negative reviews that are handled correctly and quickly, are positive. Negative user reviews give you the chance to behave professionally and to show a problem-solving attitude.

Allowing negative reviews in your online store encourages dialogue with the customer. By following your customers’ feedback, you show they are your priority, and in return, you will gain a unique insight into their buying experience from start to finish.

Long story short – negative reviews are positive for your online shop

However, not all negative reviews should be allowed on your website. It is important to distinguish between constructive and frivolous criticism. Racism, bad language, or irrelevant argumentation are examples of user reviews you can delete.

The huge value of negative reviews from serious customers should not be ignored. In many cases, precisely these reviews are what other customers are looking for and as a company, it is crucial that you handle them well enough to turn them into your favor. Allowing customer reviews on your website, whether positive or negative, you make an important investment in a better shopping experience for your customers.

Contact us and we will be happy to help you get more authentic positive (or negative) user reviews in your webshop!

Alina Wojslaw
Head of Customer Success (sick leave)