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How To Leverage Customer Reviews To Win on the Digital Shelf

By Doug Bonderud (originally published on Salsify)

JUNE 28, 2022 | 6 mins read

For brands and retailers, a single sale doesn’t equal success. Instead, it’s about building a customer base that’s willing to come back and purchase your products over and over again.

Part of this success is tied to price and quality. But there’s a third component that’s equally critical: customer reviews.

Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report reveals that “[a] majority of consumers look at a company’s reputation for product quality, while a substantial percentage also look at consumer opinion and reviews and the company’s reputation for good customer service.”

Brands and retailers must ensure that consumers don’t feel like they’re screaming into the void when they leave reviews — positive or negative — by leveraging customer feedback to address specific concerns and improve the overall purchasing experience.

Who’s Who in Reviews?

According to a recent survey from, 54% of online shoppers read reviews before every purchase.

Broken down by country, the numbers are a bit more variable: As noted by PowerReviews, nearly 89% of U.K. consumers read reviews “regularly or always” when shopping online. 

ecommerceDB, meanwhile, reports that while 54% of German online shoppers read customer reviews before they buy online, just 17% consult social media. 

In France, the impact of reviews on purchasing decisions has led to efforts designed to ensure online reviews are legitimate and unedited. 

As Marketing Perf. points out, new regulations require anyone leaving a review online to identify themselves, leave two contact methods, and provide proof of purchase for the item they’re reviewing. 

Companies, meanwhile, must ensure that posted reviews aren’t modified and all reviews are posted in chronological order. Businesses that fail to prove that at least 95% of their reviews are from real customers may be fined up to 200,000 Euros, says Marketing Perf.

Companies That Got Customer Feedback Right

How do you get feedback right?

Let’s look at a few companies that have experienced the sting of scathing customer reviews — and responded effectively to consumer concerns.

First up is the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC): 


 rbc twitter feedback

Source: RBC Twitter


Glen obviously wasn’t pleased with the service and support he’d received and reached out to let RBC know he was heading somewhere else.

The company could have let it go at that, but instead responded directly and asked for feedback. Even if Glen is dead-set on moving, the company comes out ahead with other customers by taking action.

Athletic clothing brand Nike offers another example:


nike customer feedback


Source: Nike Service Twitter

Best Practices for Responding to Customer Reviews

Four best practices can help inform effective review responses.


1. Engage ASAP

Quick review response times are critical for success. If your response takes days or weeks, expect customers to get frustrated and start looking for other options.


2. Get Personal

Respond to concerns like human beings. While it’s never a good idea to get into an online argument — spoiler alert: nobody wins — it’s a good idea to get personal with customers. 

Customers can sense when your response isn’t taking their concerns seriously, and that will only lead to additional frustration. 


3. Look for the Specifics

Dig into the details of your customers’ complaints, and consider the following: 

  • How can you adjust and optimise your product pages to meet their expectations? 
  • How can you improve customer support to better provide the necessary resources?
  • How fast is your response time to customer complaints — and how can you improve this speed?

Here, it’s worth leveraging both customer reviews and data from customer relationship management (CRM) systems and other tools to get a complete picture of what’s happening and how you can fix it.


4. Address Customers’ Concerns Directly

Open the lines of communication with your customers to find a mutually beneficial solution. Addressing their concerns directly will help you regain their trust

Making the Most of Honest Feedback

Honest feedback — both positive and negative — offers the chance for brands and retailers to improve the customer experience and boost sales.

For example, if you’re consistently seeing reviews that complain about the layout and content of your product pages or your website’s slow loading speed, it may be time for a refresh or a complete overhaul. 

Engaging with shoppers directly and providing options for one-on-one communication will demonstrate that you’re committed to customer satisfaction.

Excellent product pages will help you engage customers from the moment they arrive on your site. Download our guide for real-world product landing page examples from top brands — and tips on how to build product pages that drive results.

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