Yes, Bad Reviews Can Increase Your Conversions

It is no secret that online reviews often influence the purchase decisions of prospective buyers. For this reason, businesses spend a lot of time and money trying to inspire their clients to leave such reviews after a purchase. Incentives and other tactics are often employed to get the coveted reviews. The rationale is that good reviews increase sales while bad reviews decrease sales. Even though this is often true, recent research has now established that bad reviews can actually help increase your conversions.

Even though bad reviews are primarily bad for business, they can also serve a critical role in establishing public trust. Negative feedback can increase the satisfaction of customers while at the same time improving the product development. Obviously, this depends on how a company manages and responds to bad reviews.

A recent study by the Harvard Business Review suggests that bad reviews can increase the conversion rates. When shoppers see a bad review, they often spend more time on the website because they trust the bad reviews more than the good ones. As a result of their increased interaction, up to 85% of them end up converting.

Why 5-star reviews aren’t always good

Online retailing leads to a high return rate. At least 30% of goods purchased are returned over time. Interestingly, this return rate rises when the site has too many 5-star reviews. When customers see glowing reviews all over a product, their expectations go through the roof and it becomes harder to satisfy them. As soon as they get the product, they get disappointed and end up returning the product. Since these returns cost the retailer an average of $18, the margins will drastically reduce with every return.

E-commerce stores should endeavor to gather realistic reviews that properly reflect the performance of the given product. Any unrealistic review should be discouraged and if possible unpublished from the product page. Consequently, negative reviews should be displayed on the page. However, the customer support staff should respond to every negative review. Research shows that 68% of shoppers trust a product more if they see both good and bad reviews. In fact, most experienced shoppers become suspicious of a product that shows only glowing reviews with no single bad review.

Every business owner should remember that customers are looking to be informed and not brainwashed. If they feel like they haven’t acquired accurate information, they will not click the buy button. This, however, does not mean that entrepreneurs should seek negative reviews. But it should be a deterrent to the unscrupulous business owners who intentionally unpublish bad reviews and only showcase the glowing ones.

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