Why Bad Reviews Are Good For Your Conversion

Andrew Birkitt

Lead Technical Engineer
Contact Andrew
Connect via LinkedIn

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Customer Reviews can be one of your greatest assets when building and developing your ecommerce store as they provide credibility and legitimacy to potential visitors.
One of the most painful concerns that ecommerce store owners and marketers struggle to come to grips with before jumping into customer reviews with two feet is their visibility as an online business. This can be daunting with questions of “What will be do if we receive negative feedback?” The honest answer is that at some point you will receive negative feedback regarding your products and services. And you should be looking forward to this! Here’s why:

Negative into a Positive

A negative customer review is an opportunity for you to turn a bad situation into something good. It is an opportunity to show how you handle a difficult situation that can truly shine a light on your business culture and what you stand for as a business. In a nutshell the best way to do this is to publicly acknowledge the problem, resolve the issue in private, and if the resolved outcome is desirable, conclude this publicly. Every business will have a unique way to tackle such potentially explosive situations and you should make sure your action fits comfortable with your ethos.


There has been significant Independent research into Bad Reviews. According to Ecommerce Expert’s Reevoo:
68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.
30% suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see anything negative at all.
Shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the average consumer.
The Authority that is Harvard Business School agree also. Check out the research here in more detail. These results are not seldom.


A qualitive answer for why Bad Reviews are not always catastrophic is the desirable trait that your business might just be human, run by humans, therefore susceptible to a mistake on occasion. Your visitors do not expect to see 100% reviews.
For example, as a site visitor, or browsing a product on amazon or ebay perhaps, when “the best product ever” has 100% feedback alarms bells should be ringing. Really, out of 200 people there wasn’t one personality that could find one fault in your product, service or deliver. This simply isn’t realistic. If it isn’t realistic, it isn’t trustworthy.

Manufacturer Problems

Negative reviews in a particular product that you stock can lead to further trust in a similar product from a different manufacturer. For example if you stock 2 coffee machines, and coffee machine A has received negative feedback more than once, with both related to a defect in coffee machine A, your site visitors may trust this particular feedback and opt for coffee machine B due to its reliability in comparison. This can also aid repeat sales and returning customers as their previous buying decisions were well informed due to unbiased product feedback.

Ratio & Calculated Decision

In conclusion, Bad Customer Reviews don’t have to be so bad. What you do however need to be conscious of however is ratio: The ratio of Good to Bad customer reviews. If you have 5 negative reviews to 95 positive reviews (95% positive feedback) I would argue that this ratio is better than 100% positive feedback, based on the above points. Risk for the potential customer is relatively limited. If, however, you have 50 positive reviews to 50 negative reviews, you may have bigger problems within your ecommerce store.
It is as simple as this: If you have good feedback offline, you will receive good feedback online. If this is the case: Customer Reviews are essential. If your feedback is fair at best you probably need to have a long hard look at your business online and offline.

Free Website Audit

Let's get started

Find out how your website is performing and what needs fixing!

Find out more

About Events

We hold various events and training days at the Digital Hub - Mosaic. Find out more.

Free Website Audit

Let's get started

Computer with website audit example on the screen

What our client say...

“Richard and his team took a lot of time out of his day to come and visit us, see our products, see what we’re about and understand our industry. The results, they speak for themselves really.”

Chris Brady
CEO & Founder
1 Stop Spas