“Trust” is the crucial factor for most successful and lasting relationships. Friendships and partnerships are built upon trust. Trust has become the most treasured business commodity, without which a business cannot succeed.
Online Marketplaces are no different; it requires a certain level of trust between the buyer and the seller. No one will want to shed out their hard-earned money if he doesn’t trust the person on the other side of the transaction. Thus, it is one of the biggest challenges Online Marketplaces face.
Building trust doesn’t happen at an instant, and its harder where the market is saturated, and marketplaces must stand out to build confidence & trust.
Uber and Airbnb were able to build trust and even shift the perception of consumers, changing the way people travelled, and the way people rented spaces. Airbnb used insurance guarantee as a trust mechanism, and Uber used ratings and reviews to build trust.
To understand the type of trust mechanisms to be followed for your marketplace business, you need to understand the type and size of your consumer’s perceived risk.
I have listed the most common questions to determine the type and size of your consumer’s perceived risk:
1. How many users do you have on your platform?
The need to build trust increases with the growth of your marketplace. Larger platforms attract bad actors.
2. What is the worst that can happen, if things go wrong?
The wrong food gets delivered is a risk that can be managed but think of hiring an inexperienced caretaker and the child falls sick. The intensity of risk varies with the business type.
3. The money in an average transaction?
This is a common phenomenon. When the ticket size is bigger, the risk associated with it is more prominent.
4. Your Target users?
The ideal target segment for your marketplace is a critical factor. Consider, the millennials; they use social apps for chatting, dating and travel. Renting out their car is not considered a significant risk for this target segment, but think of aged people who are not familiar with technology.
Now that the risk factors to be considered for your marketplace type is clear, we can start analyzing the methods for facilitating trust in your marketplace.
I have listed 8 ways for building trust in your Online Marketplace.
1. Speak their Language
One of the significant advantages of an Online Marketplace as compared to the traditional ones is the global reach. With the help of the internet, businesses connect with customers from all over the world. Effective communication with these customers can be further enhanced by simply communicating in their native language.
The largest selling marketplaces today have localised their websites (customized in the local language). These marketplaces personalize their site language according to the browsers geography. By going multilingual, the trust factor improves. People trust in things that speak the same language and which they understand.
2. Simple, well-designed and easy-to-use interface for your marketplace.
As mentioned in the above point customers trust what they understand, and hence your website must be user-friendly and straightforward. The users shouldn’t find it difficult to navigate and perform actions. The site should be developed in a way that it creates a great experience for every customer, be it a beginner or a tech-savvy person. The application has to be designed with a user perspective in mind.
Try Yelo to build your own well-designed, easy-to-use Online Marketplace.
3. Prove your Expertise
Exhibit your proficiency in your business vertical to establish trust. Thought leadership is the best way to prove expertise. Start publishing eBooks, blogs and relevant content regularly in your website and other platforms. Promote your content online and make sure it is accessible to everyone. Participate in conferences and organise webinars on the latest trends and innovations in the business verticals your operating in.
4. Formulate a credible Rating System
Star ratings are the most commonly used rating system for both buyers and sellers. For a Marketplace Business, it is essential to create a smooth experience for both sides of the platform.
For example, Uber designed a rating system for both the riders and the drivers in the platform. Uber developed the star rating system in such a way that it did not affect the application’s user experience.
Uber users didn’t want to spend their time swiping between bad drivers, hence Uber removed all drivers below a 3-star rating and eliminated the possibility for any bad experience for a rider. On the analogy, Uber also notified drivers of abusive and fraudulent passengers through this rating system.
5. Curate the Content
“A cluttered website is a move an unestablished company would make.” Clutter is distracting, confusing and gives a bad user experience. As an aggregator, two things need to be done to remove confusion.
1. Invest in resources to continuously monitor content, promoting the best content and downgrading the bad content.
2. Create a feature where users can report such content, all by themselves.
Airbnb continuously reviews the listings posted in their marketplace, promotes the listings which add value to the marketplace and degrade the lousy content. Finding shady apartments through the Airbnb application is tough.
6. Monitor Supply
The growth of the top global marketplaces has been enormous. It is difficult to find someone who has not purchased a product from Amazon or not used Airbnb accommodation; it is the suppliers in your marketplace who would lack experiences including shipping products, providing ridesharing and renting out spaces.
Providing manuals, supply boxes and even free chargers for mobiles helps in ensuring a smooth and consistent service. Another best practice is to create an open community where sellers can interact; find out the best practices that worked and the challenges they are facing.
Note: It is crucial to creating the best experiences for your first customers. These are the people who are going to get the word out to the world. Word of mouth is the most effective marketing strategy.
– Uber provided a delightful experience for their first customers by using their own fleet and drivers to ensure the perfect ride-hailing experience.
– Airbnb initially replaced user-generated listing photos with good quality pictures which improved customer traffic, and this gave an initial boost for the business.
7. Provide Social Proof
The times have changed, gone are those days you search for a company on Facebook and do not find them there. Marketplaces can be closely associated with social business. They depend on network effect and relationships. Customer acquisition will be drastically improved if you provide social proof, promoting that many people are using your platform.
Staying in touch with your customer throughout his online journey is crucial. Customers these days expect the brands to respond to their queries and grievances. Testimonials and positive feedbacks can boost the reach for your brand and increase trust.
8. Develop a frictionless Payment System
It doesn’t matter if you have a million downloads for your application but transactions are the bread and butter for your marketplace and are achieving a few sales in the platform is the most challenging step.
The payment screen is the final step of purchase, and you do not want to lose out on your customers in this step. Integrate multiple payment gateways and allow customers to choose the payment method they wish to use. Make it as easy as possible for customers to transact.
All the above points help in building your trust with your customers. Loyal customers and repeat purchases are the factors that contribute to the success of a marketplace, so ensuring trust with the two sides of the platform is crucial.
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