Posted by: cindystephenson | May 24, 2008

Do negative reviews hurt your brand?

Six Pixels of Separation, hosted by Mitch Joel, is one of my favourite podcasts. President of Twist Image, Mitch is a thought leader in digital marketing and personal branding.

He recently interviewed Brett Hurt of Bazaarvoice. They talked about analytics and whether customers are more likely to buy a product if the website selling that product allows customer reviews. When Brett started looking at this three years ago, only five retailers in the US had product reviews. Amazon was one of the pioneers.

What did he find?

People who clicked on the review tab were 92% more likely to buy than people who didn’t – consumers trust sites that offer reviews.

Lots of retailers will say they don’t want to have reviews on their site because bad reviews will hurt their brand.

“Not true”, said Brett. “Even low ratings give a higher propensity to buy – again, because it becomes an environment consumers can trust. If a customer only sees 4 and 5 star reviews, the chances of them buying are much lower than if they also see a 1 or 2 star review.

“Not all 1 or 2 star ratings will have meaning to them.  If they’re buying their first digital camera, and want a “point and shoot”, they won’t be as concerned about what a professional photographer has to say about the advanced settings.

Bad reviews will help your brand – it shows you have so much confidence in your product you can handle the negative.

There’s also a direct relationship between the number of reviews a product will get and the return rate – products with 50 or more reviews have far fewer returns. Why? People go in with more realistic expectations about a product if they’ve read the reviews.

And in real life, people talk to each other all the time about different products. It’s not that different online.

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