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Before I buy anything, I do my research. Especially if it’s online, I spend an exceptional amount of time reading reviews, both long-form and short. Knowing how others have engaged with a product and how much they did (or didn’t!) like it has a big impact on my decision to make a purchase.

Today, I’d like to unpack a bit about the brand side of reviews, and how it affects small businesses in particular.

Your time is valuable - in more ways than you know

Well-written reviews take time. It’s more than the number of stars: a good review talks about the reviewer and also how the product fits into their lives (or not). It gives prospective customers context that isn’t often shared on product description pages, and helps them know if their purchase will be a worthwhile investment.

When a prospective customer finds out that a product is potentially a great fit for them, everyone wins: the brand sees another sale, and the customer is happy with their new purchase. Similarly, when a prospective customer finds out that a product is not a good fit for them, everyone still wins: the customer avoids disappointment, and the brand doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of a return (which actually costs the brand money, even if the customer gets a full refund).

The more detail there is in a review, the more informed a prospective customer will be prior to purchase. A review like “I normally wear a size X in brand Y, and I found AP’s size A to be perfect for me” is AMAZING - now other customers who wear size X in brand Y will have a better chance of buying the right item the first time! On the other hand, reviews that don’t have a lot of detail aren’t particularly helpful. For example: “These are great!” makes the brand feel good, but doesn’t help prospective customers very much, if at all.

Your rating has a significant impact

We don’t strive for a perfect five star rating on our products, because we know that that’s unrealistic. In fact, we appreciate seeing 3 or 4 star reviews (as long as there’s significant detail!) because it gives us feedback while also helping other members of the community know what might be missing and setting expectations. “Warning: these pants don’t have belt loops,” is totally fair - because they don’t, and if someone absolutely needs them, they’ll be disappointed. 

That said, a 1 or 2 star review is awful for brands, especially small ones. Now, if the product is genuinely bad (e.g. falls apart instantly due to poor construction), then it’s worth letting fellow community members know. Rage ratings, on the other hand, are genuinely damaging to brands who are actively trying to sell great products. Rage ratings are when the reviewer is upset because something didn’t meet their expectations but is otherwise a perfectly good product. Some examples of rage ratings include a poor rating because the reviewer didn’t like the color, one of the features, or how it fits. 

One-star reviews among five-star reviews really skews average star ratings, which are often shown without commentary in a variety of places online beyond the brand’s website. These averages can push potential customers away from even checking the product out, even if it might be perfect for them. 

As brands get bigger and more reviews come in, a single one-star review won’t skew the predominantly four- and five-star reviews, but it can be really scary for new products that haven’t gained a significant audience yet. 

What to do when a product warrants less than four stars

Sometimes you need to let a brand know that something’s off about their products, and you don’t necessarily want to take it out on their reviews. Please, for the love of all that is good, email them. For us at Alpine Parrot, we read every single email that comes in to or comes through our contact page. Sometimes your concern is something we already know about and are working on for a future iteration. Sometimes it’s totally new and we need to fix it. And sometimes it’s something that we know we can’t fix and won’t fix, but at least we can tell you directly instead of leaving you to think the worst of us or our products. 

Thank you 💖

As a small business, we deeply appreciate the time and effort members of our community put into writing thoughtful, detailed reviews. Your insights not only help us improve, but also guide other potential customers in making informed decisions. 

If you've purchased a product that you love, we encourage you to leave a detailed review discussing how it fits into your life. If you have concerns, please reach out to us directly before leaving a low rating. Your feedback - whether in review or email form - has a real impact on our ability to continue serving this community that we love so much. 🙌🏽

Want to leave a review now? You can go directly to our product pages and submit one online!