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With the Black Friday sales just around the corner, preparations for the big day are likely to be well underway. Whilst sale prices might be at the forefront of your mind, have you considered how your brand’s online reputation might impact the performance of your sales over the biggest weekend of the year?

In 2016, retailers experienced a 12.2% increase in online sales from 2015, with shoppers spending £1.23 billion online. According to experts, this growth is expected to continue this year. With so much at stake, businesses must do all they can to secure their market share, especially when it comes down to customer online reviews.

Negative reviews cause a negative Black Friday performance

Black Friday weekend sparks fierce competition between retailers on more than just price. Reassurance have proven to be just as important – users want to be reassured that they are purchasing from a reputable brand, and if your online reputation suggests otherwise, your sales performance could suffer – chances are, users will look elsewhere, even if a competitor’s price is slightly more.

With 90% of customers reading online reviews before making a purchase, and 88% of them trusting the reviews that they read, just as much as personal recommendations, it’s no surprise that 86% of shoppers will hesitate to make a purchase if the store has negative reviews – so make sure your reviews are good.

If you have excellent reviews then you are one step ahead of the game – customers are likely to spend 31% more on a reputable brand, meaning sales and potentially new regular consumers will return to shop with you once Black Friday sales are over.

Don’t be afraid to encourage your customers to leave you a review as it could lead to new business. 92% of online users only use local business if they have a minimum 4-star rating, with 72% of users taking action after reading a positive review.

How to improve your online reputation

Minimising negative reviews and their effect should be part of your online reputation management. Consider the following:

  • Encouraging positive reviews—users are more likely to contribute a review after a negative experience as opposed to a positive one. You should actively encourage your customers to review your products online to increase the number of positive reviews, and dilute the number of negative reviews.
  • Sharing positive content—dilute the impact of review sites by sharing positive content around your brand to improve your brands overall online perception.
  • Respond promptly to negative reviews—actively respond and try to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Take the conversation offline or to private messaging, and speak to your customers as a person and not as a corporation.

According to Yelp, a one-star increase can lead to a 5-9% increase in a company’s revenue, while one negative review can cost you 30 customers, proving that concentrating on effective online reputation management (ORM) both now and in the future, is likely to help drive sales to your website both over the Black Friday weekend, and once the event has ended.

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