What Consumer Behavior Studies Say About Online Product Reviews

Do you know that the negative product reviews written online by your customers are not always bad for business? In some instances, they can help encourage other people to try your product and to get an overall positive impression of your brand.


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Politeness Factor

A negative opinion that is written by a consumer in a courteous tone or with characteristic politeness markers can help boost sales by offering a candid, real-world assessment of your product. This is according to the findings of a study in the August 2014 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. Examples of politeness markers are softened negative product reviews containing preambles like “I don’t intend to be mean, but this product is…” and “I’ll be honest….”

The study also showed that when people post negative reviews about your product online and include politeness markers in their comments, the perception of your brand gets a boost. Consumers reading those product reviews will perceive your brand as more honest and approachable, making them more likely to buy your product or service instead of those from your competitors’.

Temporal Cues

Previous research has demonstrated that consumers place more value on negative product reviews compared to positive ones. Negative online reviews are considered more informative and more credible than their positive counterparts, which are likely to be perceived as immodest attempts of consumers to tell others about how good they were at making their product choices. Negative reviews, on the other hand, say more about the product or service. Thus, consumers give them more importance.

According to researchers Zoey Chen (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Nicholas Lurie (University of Connecticut), marketers should work on empowering their customers’ positive product reviews to help alleviate the unpleasant impact to sales of negative comments. In a paper that was published in a 2013 volume of the Journal of Marketing Research, the researchers showed how temporal cues can lend credibility to positive product reviews, which normally take a backseat to negative comments.

this article is written By K. Ong

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