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How to deal with negative product reviews in ecommerce

Many retailers and online businesses are afraid of negative product reviews, fearing they will damage the reputation of their brand and hinder conversion rate. These days, customer reviews and user-generated content is important in ecommerce for influencing consumer decision-making.

Space 48's Head of Insight, Oliver Lees, outlines 7 great ways to deal with negative product reviews, discussing how they can actually help your business improve!

Turn a negative into a positive

Don't fear negative customer reviews and low products ratings. Perfect reviews on websites don't look authentic. Seeing a few bad reviews amongst mainly positive reviews is normal and displaying them shows transparency and helps to build trust in brand.

A study by Yotpo, one of our favourite user-generated content (UGC) solutions, revealed that the most common words mentioned in negative product reviews were "disappointed" or "disappointment". This signifies that issues with products are often about them not meeting consumer expectations, not that they're necessarily bad products.

These type of negative reviews help the buying decisions of others, encouraging those who do want what others customers found disappointing to purchase, despite the "negative" reviews. You could have a great product, which just wasn't what someone was expecting. Perhaps the negative review was about the price, which might not be a problem for other consumers viewing the product. 

Learn from the feedback

There are lots of different ways to learn from negative reviews. As mentioned above, the low rating could be due to reasons that don't reflect a fault, but instead are down to personal preference or requirements.

See this customer review below for a pair of gloves. The customer gives the product a low rating, but is helpful enough to explain the reason for the negative rating. The reviewer actually states that they would have given the gloves a good review if they'd wanted them for warmth in dry weather. It's the lack of waterproofing that lets the product down, in their opinion.

Negative product review ecommerce useful feedback

Learn from useful reviews like this and consider where you could make this clear to future customers, so the expectations of the buyer are met.

Monitor reviews and respond where necessary

Some customer reviews are short and sweet, some are in-depth and informative, and others can be aggressive and even unreasonable. It's a good idea to be to monitor your reviews and respond where necessary. If there are clear issues that need to be addressed, a quick response will be appreciated by consumers, whilst answering any common questions that come from negative reviews will help customers to trust your brand. 

A numbers game: encourage more reviews

According to Yotpo, only 14% of customer reviews are 3 stars or less. Positive reviews account for the large majority and, therefore, encouraging more reviews will help you to further outweigh your negative products reviews with positive ones. 

Negative product reviews ecommerce statistic from Yotpo

Encourage customers to review your products by incentivising users, rewarding repeat reviewers and sending post-purchase emails asking customers how they enjoyed their recent purchases. Also, make submitting product reviews easier and forms mobile-friendly, as mobile shopping continues to grow.

Provide more criteria to help the decision-making process

If negative reviews reveal any issues you have with products being difficult to use, you might be wise to curate how-to videos or add unboxing reviews and tutorials, using UGC tools like Videoly. Adding further criteria, visual content and useful information to your product pages assists consumer decision making.

ASOS is a trailblazer for delivering great customer service and UX-friendly product pages. Here's an example of the tactics the brand uses to help customers make the right product choice. The images below show a clear offer for help with product sizing and then a tool which gives you a recommended size and calculates the percentage of people buying a particular size with a similar profile to you (adding "that didn't return it").

ASOS product page with good UXASOS product page sizing tool

These tactics lead to a reduction in bad reviews, as customers will more often than not get the products they expected, which helps turn more browsers into buyers and increase your conversions. ASOS' easy package tracking and returns policy help too!

Address issues and implement changes

If you get recurring negative product reviews that show a pattern of an inherent problem with a particular product or even your customer service, make sure you act quickly to address the problem. Make the required changes either to your product proposition or your customer service and processes, which will help to decrease negative reviews. 

Consider chatbots to improve customer service

Chatbots can enable brands to deliver better browsing experiences for shoppers and assist with decision making. Customers who get a quick answer from the brand's customer support about a product they're considering buying, or have bought and discovered an issue, are less likely to write a negative review.

Chatbots in ecommerce

Retailers are seeing the benefit of AI assistants and enhanced customer support, whilst consumers are used to instant messenger apps and interacting with people via chat features. Would you rather get a quick answer or be on hold waiting for a support operative. Buying behaviours are changing fast and chatbots are becoming more relevant to today's shopper.

In summary

We hope this blog helps you to approach negative product reviews with a positive attitude. If you learn from them, you'll soon improve your website's UX and customer service, whilst reducing the number of bad customer reviews in the future.

If you're considering using chatbots on your ecommerce store, we've got a handy Guide to Using Chatbots in Ecommerce to help you assess their benefits and suitability for your business.

Get free ecommerce chatbots guide

Space 48 is a leading UK ecommerce consultancy and website development agency, based in Manchester. Our experienced ecommerce experts help retail brands to create award-winning ecommerce websites and effective omnichannel strategies. Why not get in touch with us or book a free consultation with our ecommerce strategists and see how we can help you improve your retail performance! 

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