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UK shoppers trust retailers with more than 30 positive online reviews

Almost a third of British shoppers have left a negative review online, with nearly seven in 10 having done so in the last year, according to a new report from Brightpearl.

The survey, which spoke to 2,000 Brits, found that 76% of those surveyed will also share a negative retail experience with someone else they know to warn them off a particular brand.

“In the digital age, consumers are quicker to take to social media or online review sites to share their anger or dissatisfaction. But, even those who don’t vent, wish they had,” revealed Brightpearl.

55% of Brits are yet to leave a negative review of a company online, but the same percentage regret missing out on the opportunity to air their grievances with the brand or retailer when they’ve had a poor shopping experience.

Derek O’Carroll, CEO of retail operations platform Brightpearl, who commissioned the study, said: “Brits are famously awkward and averse to confrontation and complaining, but, with the rise of so many avenues for customer feedback, from online forms to social media, those habits appear to be changing.

“Consumers have started exercising their right to have a moan when they receive sub-par service – and brands need to start paying closer attention.”

Brightpearl’s research reveals that online consumers are becoming more reliant on the feedback of other shoppers to support their decision making. 46% of respondents regularly check star ratings for online retailers before buying from them, and two in five consumers have been put off a brand or a retailer they might have shopped with – by a single unfavourable review. However, 30% of shoppers do look more favourably on retailers who actively respond to negative reviews posted about their services online.

On the flip side, 55% admit they would also be likely to spend more money with an online outlet which had ‘excellent’ reviews or star ratings. Brits believe they would be willing to spend as much as 22% more with a brand or retailer that has received mostly ‘excellent’ reviews than one that has been reviewed less favourably.

But on average, Brits want a brand or retailer to have a whopping 30 positive online reviews before they’d trust it enough to part with their cash. And anything rated below four out of five stars is generally considered negative by discerning consumers – with shoppers becoming highly dubious about shopping with any brand that has more than five negative reviews.

“From our research, it is clear that a positive review – or 30 – can make a huge difference in the choices consumers make when it comes to selecting a brand or retailer,” said O’Carroll.

“It is also important for retailers to be aware of the wide-ranging impact a negative review can have on their business, as well as understanding where those problems are coming from – whether it’s items not arriving on time or at all, to lack of delivery updates or cancelled purchases.

“Customers pay attention to middling and lower reviews, resulting in lost sales opportunities and potentially damaged reputation. The best approach to negative reviews is to identify and fix the issues that can lead to unhappy shopping experiences.”

However, Brightpearl’s survey found that just 19% of retailers have invested in technology or solutions to help them address the issues that most commonly cause poor feedback and ratings, such as problems with receiving items on time or overly complicated returns.

O’Carroll added: “To help get the most out of online reviews, businesses need to consider solutions which allow them to fulfil the modern expectations of customers – from same-next day delivery options to real-time shipping, hassle-free returns and incredible response times.

“With a great strategy – and the right technology – in place, firms can focus on generating the positive reviews and ratings which are more likely to capture the attention of today’s online shopper and lead to increased spend and better business.”

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