Britain is a nation of online complainers, a study has revealed.

A survey of 2,000 adults found almost one-third of shoppers have left a negative review online.

Of these, seven in 10 have complained online within the last year.

And 76 per cent of those surveyed will also share a negative retail experience with someone else they know to warn them off a particular brand.

It also emerged 55 per cent of Britons are yet to leave a negative review of a company online, but the same percentage regret missing out on the opportunity to air their grievances when they have had a poor shopping experience.

Derek O’Carroll, chief executive of retail operations platform Brightpearl, which commissioned the study, said: “Brits are famously awkward and averse to confrontation and complaining, but, with the rise of so many avenues for customer feedback, from online forms to social media, those habits appear to be changing. 

“Consumers have started exercising their right to have a moan when they receive sub-par service – and brands need to start paying closer attention.”

The study also found online consumers are becoming more reliant on the feedback of other shoppers when making a purchase, with 46 per cent regularly checking star ratings for online retailers before buying from them.

And two in five have been put off a brand or a retailer they might have shopped with – by a single unfavourable review.

On the flip side, 55 per cent admit they would also be likely to spend more money with an online outlet which had “excellent” reviews or star ratings.

In fact, UK residents believe they would spend as much as 22 per cent more with a brand or retailer which has received mostly “excellent” reviews than one which has been reviewed less favourably.  

But on average, shoppers want a brand or retailer to have at least 30 positive online reviews before they would trust it enough to part with their money.

Anything rated below four out of five stars is generally considered negative by discerning consumers – with shoppers becoming highly dubious about shopping with any brand that has more than five negative reviews.

The Brightpearl study, conducted in partnership with OnePoll, revealed 30 per cent of shoppers also look more favourably on retailers who actively respond to negative reviews posted about their services online.

Mr O’Carroll added: “From our research, it is clear that a positive review – or 30 – can make a huge difference in the choices consumers make when it comes to selecting a brand or retailer.

“It is also important for retailers to be aware of the wide-ranging impact a negative review can have on their business, as well as understanding where those problems are coming from – whether it’s items not arriving on time or at all, to lack of delivery updates or cancelled purchases.  

“Customers pay attention to middling and lower reviews, resulting in lost sales opportunities and potentially damaged reputation. 

“The best approach to negative reviews is to identify and fix the issues that can lead to unhappy shopping experiences.”

The survey found that just 19 per cent of retailers have invested in technology or solutions to help them address the issues that most commonly cause poor feedback and ratings, such as problems with receiving items on time or overly complicated returns.


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