Sometimes the thought of including “real life” and honest product reviews on an eCommerce website can be a little uncomfortable for the business owner.

What if people don’t like it? What if competitors target our website with negative reviews? What if…?

And I can definitely understand where these concerns come from. But let’s take a look at the advantages of product reviews.

  1. Content. And this is a huge advantage in my opinion, it’s all very well copy and pasting the manufactures description onto your product page but each review added is going to be keyword rich content that adds value to the page as a whole from a search point of view.
  2. Relevance.  Since content is being added to your pages on a regular basis the page remains dynamic which in turn encourages search engines to revisit on a regular basis.
  3. It’s free! Apart from any setup and development costs, the content and value being added to your eCommerce product pages is user generated at no cost to you.
  4. Authority. Making a decision to purchase online can be difficult. If a customer is not familiar with the product they will certainly look for customer reviews to find out more. By including reviews on you page you may help discourage them from leaving your website to perform a Google search and potentially loose the sale.
  5. Helpful. Honest reviews help visitors to understand the products value. Product reviews in your customers own words can help persuade a visitor of the products use and quality. Product reviews can be so helpful that people come back to your website to use them as a resource or may want to share them – both good for traffic.
  6. Lower return rate. Making the sale on the website is not the be all and end all, ultimately the customer usually has the right to return if the item is not as expected. By including honest product reviews it is more likely that your customer will make the right purchase.
  7. Higher footfall.  So a happy customer who has been able to select the right product is a happier client, they are more likely to leave more good reviews, to return and to recommend.

So what about the value of the bad reviews? The bad reviews do serve a purpose, they help customers to make an informed decision. If a product review is honest then it is doing no harm to your business at all (because I am sure that you are not just selling rubbish) but generally most review platforms allow you to control what is published.

I personally have been put off buying a dishwasher because of a bad review.  The reviewer had stated that they were very disappointed that they were unable to fit large plates in the rack. I therefore opted for a different dishwasher, but still from the same website.  The bad review did not loose the company a sale but instead prevented all the hassle with returns, unhappy customers and potentially a lost sale further down the line.

Honest product reviews are an asset to a eCommerce business, even if the odd negative one creeps in.

Bad product reviews down to a poor service?  I think I would take these off-line, call the customer, track down the complaint and put things right.

What are your views on product reviews?

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2 Responses to How can a bad product review be a good thing?

  1. I always encourage clients to include product reviews on their e-commerce sites. I agree they add a lot to the user experience and even negatives can sometimes be positives.

    Your readers may also find this post on negative reviews useful: http://www.orchardmarketingassociates.co.uk/blog/2011/05/what-is-a-negative-online-customer-review-going-to-cost-your-small-business/

    • Hi Sarah. Thank you for your comment and the link to your really interesting blog post. It’s so true, content is valuable if it is honest and if it’s treated correctly. Your blog post is a perfect example of why you want people to leave reviews direct on your website since you will have more control than if people were forced to use “elsewhere” on the internet…

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