Beat Marketplace Competition with Great Customer Feedback

September 30, 2015

Marketplaces Dominic Grevsmuehl By Dominic Grevsmuehl

Are you struggling to recover from negative customer feedback? Would you like to get more customers to acknowledge your great products and customer service in their reviews?

Feedback is key to standing out and beating your competition. On marketplaces, products and sellers with positive feedback rank well and convey trust. Improving feedback should be part of your day-to-day strategy, and it can boost conversions as a result.

Over the past several years working closely with retailers as a ChannelAdvisor campaign manager, I’ve learned a great deal about what it takes to improve feedback on online marketplaces. First, you want to cover the fundamentals listed below to ensure that your products and policies are clearly described and that customers know exactly what to expect:

  • Accurate product titles and descriptions
  • Good, quality images equipped with a zoom feature
  • Correct stock quantity (frequent stock updates and buffers in place)
  • Clear shipping and returns policies
  • Up-to-date FAQ page, size chart and related product information
  • Responsive and transparent customer service with questions answered daily and customer tracking alerts for each stage of the order process

The last thing you want is shoppers leaving negative feedback because they had a bad experience while browsing (or buying) your products.

Gaining Positive Feedback

Once you’ve covered all the basics, how do you go about getting more positive customer feedback?

Let’s take a look at eBay as an example. One approach to get the ball rolling is to leave positive customer feedback on the eBay Feedback Forum  straightaway. Some marketplaces, like eBay, allow you to automate this process. The customer paid, so now you ship and leave positive feedback thanking them. Chances are, the customer will be more inclined to return the favor. However, not all marketplaces, such as Amazon, encourage sellers to leave feedback for buyers. You’ll need to encourage your customers in other ways

A good opportunity to engage with customers is by adding a note in the parcel you send. Just don’t break common marketplace’s rules by pointing customers to your own website. Thank the customer for ordering from you and show them where to go to leave feedback to help other shoppers make a great decision. By showing the customer where to leave feedback and how it helps, you may see more of it rolling in.

If by chance you haven’t heard from the customer seven days after the order arrived, consider following up with an email reminding them of the importance and benefits of leaving feedback. Word your reminder email carefully, and provide a link to show the customer where to go.

Addressing Negative and Inaccurate Feedback

More customers leaving feedback — great! But what about negative or inaccurate feedback? First and foremost, analyze what went wrong. Fully understanding the faulty situation will make it easier for you to appropriately resolve the issue and prevent it from recurring.

In general, there are a few ways to approach the “Negative Nancy” commenters:

  • Reply to the feedback in a careful, thoughtful way that explains the root cause, the fix and the long-term resolution. Make sure your answer doesn’t sound like a template-based message. This approach (especially since it’s public-facing) requires an honest response. If you’re unsure about suitable wording, it’s best not to comment at all.
  • Increase the velocity of (positive) feedback so it drowns out the negative. I’ve seen that it often helps to sell a discounted item, even if it isn’t part of your main offering. Why? Because people love a bargain. Use this tactic to drive more feedback and even out your performance ratings. An example of this idea in practice: A retailer that normally sells bedding offers a bargain-priced teddy bear displaying the company branding.This product can be offered purely to gain traction, and if you choose your items strategically, can also increase the visibility of your brand.
  • If applicable, contact the marketplace’s customer service team to remove any inappropriate (e.g., offensive) feedback that goes against policy.

And then there are those times you find yourself asking, “Why did I get a negative rating when I’ve always had such positive feedback?” In this situation, it’s best to contact the customer and start a conversation. This will show that you genuinely care and are willing to rectify the issue. Often those who leave negative comments can be persuaded to adjust their feedback as a gesture of goodwill if the issue at hand is resolved. And if the rating or review was left in error, customers are usually willing to correct it. Just be sure to show the customer how and where to revise the original review.

Keep in mind that negative feedback can help uncover gaps in your operation. If you address it properly, you’ll likely see more positive feedback as a result of fixing both your operations and customer disputes.

We hope you see good results from applying these practices. Positive reviews and ratings won’t boost your product listings overnight, but over time you’ll see how feedback can help you expand and be seen on marketplaces.

Good luck!


Blog post by Dominic Grevsmuehl, campaign manager, marketplaces, ChannelAdvisor

EBay Feedback WP