After almost a decade, eBay are set to revive Product Reviews on their UK site as soon as this week. This upcoming move not only supports eBay's transition to a more catalogue-based selling environment, but it also follows a series of well publicised Google penalties, and with the search engine favouring user-generated content, eBay believe that these reviews will enable them to fight back.
What exactly are product reviews?
If you weren't familiar with eBay's Product Reviews the first time round, then as an eBay seller you're probably wondering how exactly this review system differs from the way your customers currently rate you. Well, perhaps the biggest difference is that these Product Reviews are product specific, as opposed to seller specific.
This long-awaited update will be good news for many eBay customers, as they will now be able to read all reviews on a product in one place, rather than having to locate a review on individual sellers' accounts. Currently this can be extremely difficult for customers, especially if the seller sells a large number of different items and it requires sifting through hundreds of reviews, but by following in Amazon's footsteps, eBay's Product Reviews will help buyers better research the product, and potentially increase their chances of purchasing an item.
It's worth being aware that anyone will be able to review a product, as long as they do just that - review the product and not the sellers. Reviews on this platform will be moderated by eBay, and any that are left about the latter will likely be deleted. Do bear in mind, however, that customers will still be able to leave seller reviews the same way as before, and these will still very much influence your customer's decision to purchase from you.
The importance of Product Identifiers
As a result of its product focus, the introduction of Product Reviews on eBay makes the use of Product Identifiers even more crucial. The fact is, product identifiers are pretty much the only way that eBay can be sure that two products are exactly the same, and without this, product reviews just won't work.
If you are selling an item that is unique to you as the manufacturer, then you can and should still encourage your customer's to leave reviews. If you are selling a generic product, eBay will encourage buyers to leave reviews of these products, and by listing with the same product identifiers as other sellers, you may also benefit from the reviews they generate.
Even negative product reviews can provide insight into the product. If you are seeing consistent bad reviews about a product you stock, even if it is not from the sales you've made, then it might be time to think about whether it's a product you should be selling. Additionally, as a manufacturer you can improve your product by understanding the design and functionality flaws of similar products.