26 Nov 2022

A case study on negative online reviews of Johnson & Johnson’s

A single negative review can cost you a million bucks. In this era of digitalisation, businesses undergo reality checks with online reviews. Over the past decade, the popularity of online reviews on e-commerce platforms has grown significantly. As many businesses have switched their mode of selling to online, reviews have transformed the landscape of business.

Online reviews are nothing but the thoughts and feelings a customer shares about the products and services upon their use. What one customer may think of as crazy or ridiculous might be absolutely perfect and rational to the other. But your business’ reputation sustains on a thin line and a single bad blow can inflict deep wounds.

Let’s see how online reviews have become an integral part of a business and how online reviews affect business –

Online Review Statistics –

We all have been there and thus we know how we all as customers prefer to check reviews of a product or of a business before deciding to buy from them. According to a study conducted in 2021, nine out of ten consumers turn to review sites before making a purchase. Also, around eight in ten shoppers consult a review site before using or visiting a local business.

Therefore, online reviews are becoming an integral part of the decision-making process. Reviews always help your business grow in one way or other, given your response to them is sincere. How? Because more reviews on your site make your customers perceive your brand as an active business. This will in a way enhance your brand awareness and prove to be a great sales driver.

Either positive or negative, reviews directly impact your business by –

  • Enhancing the popularity of your product

  • Improving your product awareness

  • Increasing your conversion rates

  • Increasing your profit

As per online review statistics, almost 63% of customers feel confident to purchase from an online shop that has customer reviews. Moreover, 71% of users agree that reading customer reviews makes them more comfortable while purchasing the service or product.

Social media as online review platforms have also become an integral part of online businesses. This is essential to build trust, boost sales and increase revenue.

Importance of online business review sites –

There are numerous benefits of online reviews to businesses. And the most fundamental purpose of online customer reviews is to improve customer satisfaction, increase conversions, and boost sales. 

With more than 244 million reviews Yelp is one of the most popular online sites for business reviews. Yelp is one of the oldest and most trusted review sites on the web. Also, Harvard Business School has in a report proven that the “number of stars” of a business on an online review site can either make or break a business. 

On the other hand, businesses that have regularly updated customer reviews attract more people to their websites. Online customer reviews play an important role for several e-commerce platforms, while customers are in their shopping process. 

For instance – if a particular product has a satisfactory rating, and a well-detailed review of the same, then it significantly increases the chance of attracting more traffic to the page along with a high click-through rate on the search engine results pages.

Let’s have a brief overview of the impact of both positive and negative reviews on a business –

Impact of Positive Reviews –

Having various positive reviews on your platform effectively increases the scope of convincing customers. It makes your brand and product trustworthy and retains customer satisfaction even before they begin their journey with you. And this will upsurge your brand with positive reviews and ratings. These online reviews and ratings as a result will compel and drive potential clients to your business.

Simply put, the more your customers are satisfied with your products, the more interested they will be in buying from you. Positive online reviews facilitate customer engagement, as the reviews offered by these satisfied customers will provide you with valuable business insights. It will help you to explore why people love your business and what more can you offer them.

It further helps you take a closer look at which part of your business needs more attention and which features need to be focused on more.

As during an online purchase, consumers can’t check every factor themselves, they strongly react to the information available online.

Impact of Negative Reviews –

Contrary to positive reviews, negative reviews can be equally damaging. It can take a toll on your reputation, credibility, sales, position and trustworthiness of your business. 

Customers in general are either sceptical or hesitant while buying from a business that has either no review or several negative reviews. Surveys and studies have shown that around 86% of customers don’t feel confident in purchasing from companies with negative reviews. 

Business statistics have also shown that a single negative review can alone drive away 22% of customers. And a total of three negative reviews can drive away as much as 59% of them. Scary, right?

Negative reviews have serious impressions on diminishing the brand value, image and reputation of the products. Any form of negative e-commerce product reviews is enough to cause a dip in your revenue and bring adverse effects on your business.

So, every time the search engine pops a negative business review about your offerings, you are most likely to lose potential customers.
No one is fond of negative reviews and this can be quite difficult for new or small businesses. However, you can’t even expect absolutely zero negative reviews on your business. A complete absence of negative reviews also questions the authenticity of your brand.

But is it any different for the big brands? Well, not exactly. Even many legitimate businesses can’t satisfy all their customers or escape from this situation.

Let’s confirm the same with a popular case study –

Case Study – Johnson & Johnson: Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson’s most iconic and popular is Johnson’s Baby Powder. Even if one lives under a rock, he has heard of it too!
But, in the recent past, this product received a huge backlash from its consumers and the rest of the population worldwide.

Consumers have lost trust in the company’s this particular product.

Using crushed talc as its prime ingredient, which absorbs moisture and decreases friction that guarantees dry and rash-less skin.

However, talc can be naturally contaminated with asbestos which causes mesothelioma. But, Johnson & Johnson didn’t pay attention to this crucial issue in their product.

Usually, asbestos-related diseases occur years after regular exposure. And the company has always denied that the product can be responsible for cancer. But documents in 2017 revealed that the higher executives already had knowledge of this hazard from as early as the 1970s.


Consequently, the company faced numerous legal issues over asbestos exposure in this well-known product. Over 6,500 lawsuits were also included which claimed that the powder was a factor causing ovarian cancer and mesothelioma cancer.

The sites were flooded with negative reviews and the company voluntarily recalled over 33,000 product bottles after discovering one contaminated bottle that was purchased from an online retailer.

Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle lawsuits and also paid huge fines to affected plaintiffs. Furthermore, the company also stated that they have performed thousands of tests in the past 40 years to always confirm that the talc has never before been contaminated with asbestos.

Final thoughts –

Sure businesses benefit from online reviews. And your customer’s needs and requirements are vital in this customer-centric era. Their opinions on the rating and online review sites are bound to help your business to more attract customers, increase conversion rates, increase your brand awareness and help you take an extra leap in your productivity and sales.