All the online marketplace giants are bent on on boarding more sellers this year. Some are looking to double and triple, while some are targeting as many as 1,00,000 sellers on board by the end of this year. Needless to say, an online marketplace is no longer a level-playing ground; it is already competitive and it is going to get ultra-competitive!
In offline retail, service tends to be the differentiating factor. In the absence of this factor (when it concerns the seller’s hands) in the online world, the framework provides a point of differentiation – Rating System!
As a seller, your performance is continuously judged and quantified on the basis of a 5-star rating system, which forms the foundation of your reputation on the online platforms. How important a factor is it in online sales? How can you monitor and boost it?
Browntape Technologies has some interesting insights to share.
Rating = Your account’s reputation. Why?
The virtual world is a world of short attention spans and virtually nil physical interaction. Like most things in the online world, reputation of a seller is quantified through ratings, out of five stars. Also, customer’s feedback gets published via comments. A potential customer thus makes his choice on the basis of these attributes.
These are must-do’s to ensure positive ratings from customers:
- Service the customer as per the promised SLA. Don’t promise the moon if you can’t deliver it!
- Ensure after-sales service is prominently done for grievances. Don’t let dissatisfaction escalate to anger.
- Avoid OOS cancellations for orders placed. List only according to available stock.
- Communicate the right delivery time. Miscalculating delivery time is inviting trouble.
How to better your reputation aka rating
Making sure that your reputation as a seller is impeccable in the online retail market is a tough job that requires you to keep your nose on the grindstone all the time.
- Convert the negatives into positives
Generally, a negative review reflects some flaw in the product or the logistical mechanism, delivery process, etc. Show that you are committed to the sale by correcting these mistakes. Customers like proactive sellers, so if you do something to rectify an error their minds will automatically change about the negative review they have given.
When the number of orders is low, even one negative review can be risky. Himanshu Agarwal, Category Manager (Key clients) at Browntape explains, “Let’s say a seller gets 1000 orders in a month, out of which 100 orders have not satisfied the customers. Even if ten of them leave negative reviews (when none of the satisfied customers have left their positive feedback) it affects the rating. We have a dedicated Reputation Management team at Browntape that looks into getting reviews from customers for our clients to better their ratings on marketplaces. If there is any grievance, that is first sorted and rectified so that the customer feels inclined to give positive feedback for the service.”
- Acquire those positive reviews
Customer grievances are one thing, but what about the satisfied customers who haven’t reviewed you? You are missing out on a lot of positive reviews just because you haven’t incentivized the customer enough to review you.
- Employ creative methods to get the customer to review your service. You could slip in a note with each product requesting/encouraging them to leave a review for you on the marketplace.
- If you have to take time out to call them and ask for reviews, do it.
- Sending them SMS or email, reminding them to leave a review is also a good idea.
However, the very same actions could have the reverse effect, ie. Get you negative reviews. Maybe a customer wasn’t going to talk about his negative experience but after getting your reminder, he might want to do the same. So tread this path if you are confident of your product and service (But that should always be the case right?).
- Introduce loss leader product to overshadow the negative reviews
A simple trick that you can use to beef up your reviews is by introducing a loss leader product. A loss leader product is a product that is deliberately sold below its market cost to stimulate the sale of other products. Loss leaders are generally products that customers buy frequently, so although you are selling the product at a loss, you are invariably making many sales. Since every sale can potentially beget a customer review, by incentivizing customers to review your performance during loss leader transactions, you can quickly make up for the negative reviews you might have accumulated through other products. Remember, the aim is always to have a good reputation as a seller on the online market.
- Keep product ratings high
Never sell degraded quality products. No matter how low your products are priced at, if customers don’t get value and quality, it will reflect in the ratings they give you. Even if you have significant volume of a particular product and it receives negative feedback, pull it down immediately, as it’s not bound to bring any good. Make sure the product is everything you have mentioned in the listing. Also, never spike to printed MRP to showcase higher discount; if caught, there is no looking back. You might even get blacklisted in the marketplace for malpractice.
Negative comments are not etched in stone, but fact is it’s difficult to get them removed. It is best to ensure you don’t give the chance to customer to feel negative about your products or service. Ensure your service is always to the mark, in addition to zero errors and quality products from your end.
Browntape helps retailers sell online on multiple marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc. marketplaces in India. They provide services and software that allow retailers to either outsource their online selling business or manage things on their own using their innovative inventory and order management software.
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