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Bad reviews are good business

Petco added consumer reviews to their web site last year, using BazaarVoice to power them.

Like all merchants, they were worried about the impact of negative reviews.

Guess what:  Negative reviews decrease product returns and increase customer satisfaction. 


  • Reviews help us make better purchase decisions.  We’re more likely to buy the right thing the first time.
  • Negative reviews steer us away from a poor products — but they don’t send us away from the site.  We buy another product instead.
  • Reviews add content.  The official product description can only tell you so much.  Real advice from real customers gives you the information to make the right purchase the first time.

You want negative product reviews on your web site. 

  1. Decreasing the number of wrong purchases decreases returns, which eat away profits.
  2. Overall, long-term customer satisfaction is more important than any one product’s sales. Do everything you can to stop customers from buying the wrong thing.
  3. It’s free market research. Why pay for focus groups and surveys when customers will give you information for free?
  4. Take those negative reviews and stick them in the face of your suppliers.  It proves that they need to do better. 
  5. People trust you more when they see open, honest feedback on every product.

(Disclosure: I’m a BazaarVoice advisor).

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  1. Jon Burg September 25, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    If brands put negative reviews on their websites, giving them equal real estate and voice to positive comments, would consumers be more likely to trust them? I’m sure it would help, but as a consumer I would still check out external third party reviews.

  2. Walter Jennings September 25, 2007 at 6:33 pm #

    Great site – I look forward to learning more…
    Also happy to provide insights from Australia and Asia Pacific.

  3. s.c. October 19, 2007 at 11:17 am #

    This article makes several good points, but seemingly is addressed towards stores. Would it be as prudent for a manufacturer to post negative replies (although admittedly it would add credibility..).

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