Negative user-generated content is driving a higher rate of conversion than positive according to online reviews and ratings specialist Bazaarvoice.
The company, which is reporting an upsurge in companies adding reviews to their own-brand websites, said consumers are far more likely to trust and therefore purchase from a site with both negative and positive reviews.
Founder and chief executive Brett Hurt said: “We won’t work with a company that does not allow negative reviews. We know they drive higher conversions.”
Hurt added that educating companies about negative criticism was Bazaarvoice’s biggest challenge.
He also said branded sites are likely to collect more reviews because they attract focused and like-minded people. Bazaarvoice has found that 80% of people look for a review
“Sites are spending a lot of money getting people to their sites who are already familiar with the brand and people are congregating there if they provide social features. If they don’t they customers will go somewhere else and may never come back.”
He also said the company was seeing more companies adding a question and answer functionality online for consumers to respond to or the company itself.
“It’s proven to drive sales and is harnessing the power of word of mouth online.”
Bazaarvoice has developed a number of new services including Mobilevoice delivering reviews to travellers’ mobile device via a web-based application. A further application for travel is to be released in the next few months.
Since launch in 2005, Bazaarvoice has grown to 360 customers across the globe including Thomas Cook in the UK.