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How to Turn Negative Reviews into Future Sales

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By Susan - June 10, 2022- in Go-Getter Blog

We’ve all been there. You log into your ecommerce store to check your sales & stats just see the dreaded negative review. Your stomach drops, but are bad reviews all that bad? Well, yes, & no.

Research shows that 94% of consumers say bad reviews have convinced them to avoid a business. Yet 45% say they’re more likely to visit a company if it responds to negative reviews. It also turns out that not all negative reviews are bad for your business. What really matters is what you do with those bad reviews & how you respond.

The good news is you can turn bad reviews into future sales & supercharge your business. Here’s where to start.

Stay Sincere

Bad reviews are never fun to read, but it’s important to stay sincere when responding to them. If you come off as defensive, no one wins. The customer may feel attacked, you look unprofessional, and the rest of your customers have a front-row seat to the unfolding drama.

Instead, sit back & think through if the review is actually valid. Think about the customer’s frustration over the product or experience. It’s also possible there’s nothing wrong with your product at all. The customer could be having a bad day & might be prone to leaving a bad review.

Whatever the reason for the negative review, respond sincerely. Validate their frustrations & let your customers know they are heard.

Offer to Make It Right

No matter how popular your products are, it’s inevitable that someone will dislike them. Whether they had a bad customer experience out of your control, like shipping issues, or feel the product isn’t up to their standards, you can still offer to make it right.

Many print-on-demand sellers offer a refund & tell customers to keep the product, give it away, or donate it. After all, the product is already customized in some way that prevents you from selling it again. Another option is to send a promo code for a free product or VIP access to an upcoming launch. The goal is to show your customer you want to make it right & offer a suitable resolution.

Remind Yourself Bad Reviews Add Authenticity

Despite how much we all want sparkling reviews for our ecommerce stores, a few negative ones provide authenticity for your business & builds credibility. Nothing but good reviews can appear fake. Customers are also shown to spend more time on a site if they read & engage with negative reviews.

Don’t worry if your reviews fall somewhere in the middle. Five-star reviews may not even drive the sales you’re looking for anyway. A study at Northwestern University discovered that reviews ranging from 4.0 to 4.7 range maximized sales. The idea is customers trust balanced, fair reviews, whether they’re good or bad.

Consider if the Review is Actually Negative

Have you ever seen a negative review that complains about something you like? Maybe the customer is complaining about how a decorative pillow they bought is stiff & too colorful. Meanwhile, you may love how those types of pillows keep their shape & add more personality to a room.

Customers read reviews to get a sense of the product, customer service, & what to expect. But they’re also savvy enough to understand that everyone’s preferences are different. Let them use the reviews to decide what they purchase from your online shop.

Survey Other Customers

Just because one or two customers didn’t like your product doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way. Before you make changes to your business over a few poor reviews, survey your other customers. Find out what they think about the product, what they would change, and what they love.

The feedback can help you determine if the feedback warrants changes in your business. Polls & surveys also shed light on unexpected ideas, like tweaking the color of an item or adding an improved feature to the product.

Stay Transparent

There’s no need to keep bad reviews under wraps, hope it goes unnoticed, & disappears. You can decide to embrace it. Send out a marketing email or create an Instagram post. Simply saying, “We got a less than dazzling review that we need more (and less boring) options for our summer T-shirts. You got it! Here’s what we’re launching next!”

You’ve now turned the lousy review into something lighthearted. It also shows your audience you’re willing to take in feedback & bad reviews you hear, to improve their experience.

Get Creative

Are your bad reviews ridiculous or confusing? Get creative with them & repurpose them into a marketing campaign or in future product designs. When designer Amber Share discovered snarky 1-star reviews of America’s National Parks, she decided to turn them into colorful, quirky posters and other products. Her poster for Yellowstone National Park uses a real online review: “Save yourself some money. Boil some water at home.”

Although these reviews weren’t about products, you can still take a similar approach. If customers complain your customized T-shirt is the worst thing on the planet, turn it into a campaign for your social media channel. “Move over, global warming, our customer Ryan P. thinks this is the worst thing on the planet.” Of course, you’ll need to be okay with the idea that Ryan P. won’t buy from your online store again.

Refine Your Ecommerce Store

Instead of dwelling on those handfuls of bad reviews, use them as an opportunity to refine your business. Empower yourself with the review to determine how to create better products, which ones to eliminate, & how to improve the customer experience. The insights you gain from those negative experiences are often more transformational than the glowing reviews that don’t challenge you & your business for the better.

How do you handle bad reviews in your ecommerce business? Leave a comment below!

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