The cost of a bad review for brands
This article from Canada’s Financial Post was sent to me from a colleague.
It’s called “Is social media sabotaging your business”
But it misses a much bigger story.
In the article, the author talks about visiting Staples.ca and finding a bad review for an oil-filled radiator/heater.
“I noticed there was one product review from a Staples customer, so I clicked to read it. …The review is a salesperson’s worst nightmare. It’s from a dissatisfied customer named “JJ” who bought a radiator and had it spring a leak within two months. When JJ tried to return it, Staples told them it offered only a one-month warranty for exchange; JJ would have to contact the manufacturer.”
He goes on to chastise Staples. He thinks Staples should offer a new product to JJ. He thinks Staples doesn’t care. And that does seem to be the case.
The problem is: Staples doesn’t make the product that JJ hated. Staples stocks and sells this oil heater.
You can imagine that Staples and many online retailers will begin to look at negative reviews and instead of dealing with the reviewer, deal instead with the brands. Or, they’ll do both.
But the fact is, if Staples stocks a product that people think is bad, the solution is stop selling the product and finding something better. I’ve heard that Walmart has a policy that says if a product gets a certain number of negative reviews it gets pulled from the site.
Retailers don’t want to be held responsible for the reviews of bad products. They don’t want articles like this one.
Eventually, it won’t fall to Staples to solve this, but on the brand that makes the product Staples shelves. They need that review to go away, or the product will go away from Staples/Target/Walmart, etc.