Vesta Digital Blog

How Even Bad Reviews Can Boost Your Sales

Posted on: October 4, 2010

Many companies are including customer testimonials and commentary on their websites to increase credibility and encourage customers to make purchases. However, is it possible that even bad reviews can help your sales?

Case Study

According to an article by Jennifer Alsever on Jim Hobart, a co-founder of the online store, introduced a section on his website that allows shoppers to write their own product reviews right there on that website.

“It was a risky move for the four-year-old company, based in Brentwood, Calif. Hobart was effectively paying to host bad press — such as posts by customers who described AlpacaDirect’s golf cardigan as ‘kinda sweaty’ and a ‘poor fit.’ Both awarded the cardigan three out of a possible five stars,” Alsever said.

However, after only a month of hosting reviews, positive and negative alike, Hobart reported an increase in sales by 23% on items that had customer reviews (even that cardigan, which gained an average of four stars!).

How will this work for my business?

Because e-commerce is now in the hands of the customer and the reviews of their peers, it is growing more sophisticated, personal, and credible. By encouraging conversation about your business as much as possible, including on social media networks, you increase your chance of growing in sales.

“Consumers are becoming used to searching for reviews when they shop online. Internet shoppers rank reviews as the most desired feature of a Web site, according to a recent survey by Forrester Research. ‘People want to talk among themselves,’ says Jacqueline Anderson, a senior consultant at Forrester,” Alsever said.

So take the risk and encourage your customers to write reviews and give you feedback after purchasing your product. Negative or positive, it will reinforce the idea that your product is popular and in demand, and people are buying it. Ask for honest answers from the social media networks you belong to, a little conversation can go a long way.


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