‘Trust is like paper, once it’s crumpled it can never be perfect again.’Author Unknown.
Buying and selling online requires trust - mutual trust between marketplaces and their sellers and between sellers and their customers. Reviews have traditionally been used as reputation systems for online marketplaces. In need of a mechanism for trust, consumers rely on reviews to feel safe and trust in their purchase decisions. A seller with multiple five-star reviews instils trust in prospective customers, while a seller with many low-star reviews creates suspicion.
If you’re a marketplace, you understand how this trust affects your ability to grow and be a success. That’s why it’s important to monitor what’s going on on your platform to keep your customers safe and maintain their trust.
Bad actors, motivated by financial gain at any cost, look for ways to exploit your trusted reputation and find means to take advantage of your customers and potentially your sellers too. From scams to counterfeit products and fake reviews, there are many opportunities for fraudsters to act badly. So, it’s vital that you’re aware of the activity on your platform and what action you can take if your customers are at risk.
Fake reviews erode trust
A growing problem for marketplaces, fake reviews distort the truth. Fake reviews on your platform mean customers are making purchase decisions based on false information, which is at best deceitful, at worst harmful. Whether they’re fake positive reviews bought from review sellers (companies set up to write fake reviews for a fee) to boost a seller’s ranking or a product’s rating, or fabricated negative reviews to downgrade a competitor, they deceive your customers, cheat your sellers and damage your reputation too.
Counterfeit goods and new legislative responsibilities
As the EU Digital Services Act edges closer, marketplace and platform owners operating in the EU will be required to police their sites more closely to protect customers from illegal products and content. The onus will be on them to have measures to mitigate against counterfeit listings. They will need to put processes in place to remove such listings quickly and to contact customers who previously bought these products before they could be removed.
Online scams have a ripple effect
Fraudsters can also dupe unsuspecting customers with fake listings; orders which will never be fulfilled or will not be as advertised. A cheated customer is unlikely to trust or buy from your marketplace again, and is more likely to tell their friends about their negative experience. This ripple effect is likely to extend far beyond the original customer and is particularly harmful for the sustained growth of your business.
If you’re interested in reading more and finding out how technology can help combat bad actors to keep your customers safe allowing you to deliver a trusted experience, download our guide How to deliver a Trusted and Safe Marketplace for your Users.
Photo Credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters