An online marketplace community is where buyers and sellers do business together. It is the new form of departmental stores and rightly so. More and more people are spending time online and this is the best time for an online marketplace to gain traction.
However, maintaining it is not as easy as you would believe.
There is a possibility of anything and everything going wrong while transacting online. Any typical customer will worry about one or more of the following:
a) Non-delivery of a product due to any reason whatsoever
b) Receiving product of a sub-standard quality or receiving a wrong product
c) Unlawful use of personal details shared on the platform
d) Being scammed by the vendor
e) Other privacy concerns
All this makes customers hesitant from shopping online. Unless this basic issue of trust is not sorted by the marketplace community, it will not have the scope to grow. Any business place online can be sustained only if its customers trust them enough to transact with them online. In short, trust is a valuable commodity when it comes to conducting businesses (online or offline).
In this article, we will explore the different ways in which an online marketplace community can establish trust!
Table of content
1. Understanding your customers and other risks:
To minimize the risks of online transactions, it is important for the community to first understand the types of risks that exist. The type and size of each kind of risk need to be sorted out at the earliest. For the same, the community has to note what is the actual loss to the community and the consumer: in terms of money, quality and loyalty.
It is also important to understand what the customer expects from you. Analyzing and anticipating their need goes a long way in gaining their trust. Providing them with different options when it comes to shopping, shipping and payment means making it easier for them to shop with you online. Customers should be your central point of focus and everything should be strategized keeping their needs in mind.
Lastly, as a brand, you should commit and deliver.
2. Creating rules:
A marketplace cannot function effectively without rules and regulations in place. Every vendor and customer should be in touch with the code of conduct of the community. Not following the same should have short-term and long-term repercussions. Having rules from the beginning help prevent a plethora of disasters from happening. Vendors should know that they are expected to maintain a level of authenticity. Rules are the first step in establishing trust in your marketplace.
3. Communication and Transparency:
To foster trust in the community, buyers and sellers should be able to communicate with each other. The customer should know that they are not dealing with a robot, but an actual person. This level of personal touch helps each party put their trust in the other. Before engaging in a transaction, there should be resources to enable a chat between the buyer and seller.
Your marketplace, its vendors and customers should have a certain level of transparency amongst themselves. Policies should be in place, data should be accurate, payment methods should be reliable and dispute resolution processes should be impartial and quick resolution should be provided.
The marketplace should keep in touch with its customers. Keep giving them updates regarding their order details, new deals and notifications, chatbots and customer support.
Verification is an important process to decrease the possibility of fraud from occurring. There are many easy ways in which this can be done by the community; the most common being e-mail verification and phone verification.
Vendors and customers can be asked to create their own profile that can include their personal information such as an address, e-mail, contact numbers and in some cases, a picture. Maintaining a profile can be made mandatory. This step leads to authenticity in the marketplace.
5. Feedback, Review and Ratings:
Feedback helps in building or destroying the reputation of a brand. It is the most common way of verification. Communities can attach something called ‘reputation score’ next to the name of their registered vendors. Feedback can be in the form of ratings (one star to five stars or thumbs up and thumbs down) or in the form of text. Users can share their good and bad experiences in the community to help fellow customers. It is crucial for all vendors to have a good reputation and when customers have the freedom to share organic feedback, it ensures quality service from brands.
Did you know that nine out of ten buyers are more likely to purchase a product after reading a positive review?
Credible rating systems should exist in your online marketplace community. It should filter out vendors that are not following the guidelines or are providing poor services. Taking efforts to maintain the desired quality leads to a higher level of trust from your customer.
Any marketplace should host vendors that provide excellent customer service and support. They should focus on addressing issues quickly and maintaining transparency with the customer. No brand can be perfect and something or the other is bound to go wrong. In these times, how a brand handles itself is essential. Providing good customer service contributes in a big way when it comes to improving its reputation.
Let’s wrap this up with some essential tips from our side:
a) Make your community available in different languages.
b) Ensure that your user interface is simple and easy to understand + use.
c) Develop a payment system that is free of hassles and reliable.
d) Offer protection to your customers and vendors.
e) Overall, always focus on smoothening your customer’s experience.
Every user needs to be able to trust the marketplace with their personal information and money. Trust needs to be earned.
Don’t forget that all this is a continuous process. As a community, you need to work every day to provide your customers with an unforgettable experience.
By doing all the right things, you can develop a thriving and sustainable marketplace community!