I remember when Amazon first used reviews, from the early 2000s. I had been working for LivingDirect, a merchant of home products. We marveled at Amazon’s reviews. What a strange invention. A client could post a review on the website — any inspection, any client. Amazon then opened it up so that reviewers did not need to be verified buyers. Anyone can leave a review! It blew our minds.
In case you were a competitor, certainly you’d just flood the website with bad reviews. Initially, we did not consider the possibility of”stuffing” goods with great reviews.
Through time Amazon has gotten better at detecting dishonest reviews and much more complex kinds of review stuffing. But we didn’t look at that early on.
We then rolled out reviews on our site at LivingDirect. We used a service named Bazaarvoice, which was (and is) excellent. Publishing reviews generated tensions with providers.
By way of instance, in a trade show we met with a representative of a large, well-known appliance firm. The rep screamed at me. A LivingDirect customer had bought one of those appliances on our website. The appliance was defective and the customer left a very negative review about the appliance as well as the inadequate service at this appliance company.
The rep was incredulous. He couldn’t believe that we would permit this review on our website. He explained, more or less,”That is outrageous. How do you be our spouse and still allow a client to say that about our product?”
I didn’t help the situation, when I said,”How can you treat this client like crap? He is just leaving a fair review of what happened. Don’t you believe it’s beneficial to share that?”
Our rep did not need to talk to me . However, I believed in what I said back then, and I still believe it now. I’d just be more diplomatic today.
Reviews on FringeSport
Today, on FringeSport, we utilize Yotpo — a terrible title, but an wonderful product. (If you are from Yotpo, please call or email me and explain the title.)
We have been using Yotpo nearly since its launch in 2011. Yotpo syncs nicely with our Shopify shop. It was easy to set this up, to begin collecting reviews from our clients. We have several more testimonials than many of our bigger competitors. We have believed in testimonials from the beginning. They benefit shoppers, and they benefit FringeSport.
Among the questions that people frequently ask me is,”Can you filter reviews?” The answer is no. We do not. I strongly suggest that merchants not filter testimonials.
But let us be clear. If UPS destroys a product on the way to a customer, and the customer leaves us a 1-star review for this product based on UPS damaging a product, many would argue that we should filter out this inspection. I will leave that up for you, the reader, to decide. We would publish the inspection and respond openly to it, describing the UPS failure whilst making it clear that we solved the issue for the client.
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There are, in actuality, two schools of thought on negative reviews. One is that using a few negative reviews is advantageous to conversions since it reveals the shoppers that the testimonials are trustworthy.
The second school of thought is borne out of the experience that lots of ecommerce retailers undergo on Amazon, where there’s a enormous difference on a product’s conversion from 5-star reviews, to 4 1/2, to 4, or under. However, on our own branded ecommerce website, the conversion rate differences are significantly lower.
A nude selfie
When I shop, as a customer, I have a tendency to leave a good deal of reviews. However, I try to make them funny. There’s a sunglasses company named Blenders that blocked me, however, after I left my critique.
Here is what happened. I got a set of the Blenders’ really amazing, very reasonably priced sunglasses. I enjoyed them a lot. I left a review on Blenders’ website that said,”I really like these sunglasses so much that I will never wear anything else. Not any other competing sunglasses. Not any shoes. Not any pants. Not even going to wear panties. It is only these sunglasses for the rest of my life.”
Blenders reacted to the review ,”Show pics or it did not happen.”
Then I took photos of myself wearing just the sunglasses. (I blurred out the offensive pieces.) I emailed the pictures to Blenders and received radio silence — no reply.
I’m a bit disappointed. What type of consumer engagement is that? That’s definitely the pinnacle of a connection when a client sends nude selfies. Butthen again, perhaps I am confusing a customer involvement with violent behaviour.
Regardless, I am a big believer in testimonials. What do you think? Can you utilize reviews on your website? Can you filter them?