Scrap or bargain?
Online trade always promises a lot: low operating costs, high stock levels or good contacts to suppliers often allow interesting products to be offered at low prices. This is the theory. But an online purchase always has the cat's nimbus in the bag - one pays and is then surprised positively or negatively when unboxing.
A bad buy is no mean feat. After all, there is always the possibility of returning the goods. However, it is always annoying and associated with a residual uncertainty to actually be able to exchange the goods for your money back. In addition, if a transaction is not successful, one thing is always lost - time. To the extent that one could be compensated for lost waiting time, one is not yet in the private customer business at least. Penalties and contractual penalties have so far only been reserved for business customers.
If the product was urgently needed, the damage always lies with the disappointed customer. In order to prevent disappointment as much as possible, the tool of product reviews has established itself.
In the beginning was Ebay
The first platform that focused on ratings in the beginning was Ebay. The mutual evaluation of delivery and payment morale was always a central component of the then still young consumer-to-consumer trade via the Internet. The concept of product evaluation was quickly copied by professional shop operators, above all by Amazon, which started out as a pure bookseller. In the meantime, Ebay and Amazon have become huge marketplaces where private and professional trade is equally possible. Online shops that operate outside these two market leaders do not necessarily offer similar tools. But those who have reached a certain size pass on customer opinions in one form or another on their site.
How credible are product reviews?
The fact that you can now also be prosecuted as a private customer if you give unjustifiably bad reviews does not necessarily benefit the credibility of a shop. Bad ratings are unpleasant, but at least they prove that the rating system of a shop is doing the right thing. Because nothing is more deadly for a Shop than lost trust. There is a considerable difference between whether three selected customer opinions are given as an opinion on a product according to the scheme "Ms. F. from M. writes....", or whether an average value is derived from a representative selection of customer opinions. That a product delivers what the shop promises should actually be expected. That's why curious potential customers tend to look around for the worse or mediocre ratings.
Not praise but precision
Those who have reason to complain usually do it in great detail. This is exactly what makes ratings credible. Monosyllabic highest praise is just as meaningless as a scathing evaluation consisting of only three words. But if a customer takes the trouble to criticize a product in detail, it is worth its weight in gold for the shop owner. This is the only way for the entrepreneur to find out why success with a product does not want to ignite. A retailer is also first and foremost a customer who is supplied by his wholesalers and manufacturers. Depending on the size of the shop, not all products can be put through their paces at great expense. The poor evaluation therefore helps to identify the rivets in the portfolio in order to demand rectification or to remove them from the range.
However, one thing applies here: customer communication and service must always be beyond all doubt. As a trader, you can certainly have one or two flops in your portfolio. In this case, however, the criticism must relate exclusively to the product, never to service and contact.
Two-thirds "good" failed
Customers are merciless in online commerce. If the average value of satisfied customers approaches the 85% brand, cascade effects can occur. The credibility and reliability of a shop then suffers to such an extent that the purchase of potential new customers is considered a risk. Orders decline, interest dwindles more and more until the shop finally has to be closed. While it is completely impossible to have accumulated tens of thousands of reviews written to 100% by happy customers, it is still possible to find a shop that has been written by people who are happy. But the satisfaction scale should always be in the upper 90% range. If this is not successful, something will go structurally wrong.
Take criticism seriously
It is wrong to ignore criticism. It is even more wrong to react insulted. Potential customers look at negative reviews. If worries, questions or complaints are taken seriously, this creates trust again. A friendly approach with proposed solutions can trigger solidarity effects with the shop operator - because customers know that other customers can also be mistaken. A bad rating is therefore an ideal reason to present the shop from the best side. But as I said: Bad ratings should always relate only to the product. A "We have forwarded the complaint to our supplier, the next delivery should not have this mistake anymore" is the perfect answer to product criticism.
Striving for seals of approval
It is not easy to obtain a seal of approval. A trust mark from "Trusted Shops", "TÜV", "IPS" or another well-known organization is a third opinion on your own online business. While establishing a shop on a well-known platform may be a challenge, getting a Trust Seal is another hurdle. To stay with the example of "Trusted Shops": The business lawyers of this company have developed a catalogue of over 100 questions that a shop operator must answer before he can think about awarding a seal. This makes it all the more effective if the icon is displayed on the website ...is emblazoned. Many customers no longer bother with the product evaluations at all when they see the seal of approval, but trust that they are in good hands.
Trust with limits
Trust seals are also products for which a shop operator must pay fees. This is why there is also a competition among the individual testing and evaluation institutes, which is reflected in service, Costs and also effect differs strongly. The benefit of a trust seal lies in its familiarity. It is therefore of little use to turn to a cheap provider due to savings ideas, which also has low requirements for a shop. Their trust seals are either not popular enough or already have the reputation of being more or less meaningless.
But even a trust seal from the most expensive and best provider is of no use if the product portfolio is not in line with the market. Ultimately, the basic law of supply and demand also applies to an online shop, which can only be served by constantly monitoring the market.