Retaining Marketplace Customers in a Downturn - Why a Trusted User Experience is Key

Written by Jen McKeeman

10 October 2023

‘It is going to be a tough 2022 – and possibly an even tougher 2023, with increased risk of recession.’

Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Chief 

As the head of the IMF warns that we could be facing a global recession, and consumers are hit by a cost of living crisis, many businesses look to see how they can manage to ride out the turbulent times ahead. 

Even in an economic downturn, consumers continue to make purchases - they just prioritise and are more cautious with their cash. Cost-conscious consumers make financial sacrifices with limited budgets and reassess their list of essentials, expendables, postponables and treats. Items that were previously considered ‘essential’, such as lawn care products, may be re-evaluated as purchases they can postpone (postponables) or even do away with completely (expendables). During this time, it’s key for marketplaces to remember that loyal customers are the primary, perennial source of cash flow and growth. 

So, what can marketplaces do to hold on to their customers and survive the slump?

Focus on trust

Enhancing trust is a critical factor for success. Marketplaces need to provide customers with a trusted experience to keep them coming back. Worried consumers see familiar, trusted marketplaces as a safe and comforting choice in trying times. Attracting new customers can be difficult but gaining initial trust is key.

Be transparent

Promoting transparency helps to build a culture of trust. During uncertain times, your customers will need more reassurances and must rely on your platform’s features and clearly defined business policies to prove your trustworthiness. You can foster integrity by clearly stating your rules of transaction (e.g. delivery terms, returns & refunds, privacy policies) and keeping customers informed of any changes, and most importantly, adhering to and enforcing the rules you create. 

Monitor seller behaviour

More experienced marketplace customers have an established trust with your marketplace, so their focus switches to how much they can trust your third party sellers. Trust in sellers is partly attributable to the trust customers have in your marketplace because it is expected sellers should abide by your rules and policies. Do you trust your sellers are behaving in accordance with your rules?

Reviews can provide additional reassurances to give buyers confidence in purchasing from individual sellers. But only if they’re genuine. Can you trust the reviews your sellers receive are authentic from real buyers? Do you have checks in place to verify their reviews collection process? Review authenticity is key to customers being able to trust your sellers and, by association, your marketplace. All of this means ongoing seller monitoring should be a vital part of your risk management strategy to see and understand the day-to-day behaviour of sellers on your marketplace. You want to maintain the trust of your customers you’ve worked so hard to earn so you need to know if sellers are misbehaving, buying reviews or selling harmful counterfeit products which could cost you your loyal customer base.

Use technology to help

Overwhelmed by where to start? Don’t worry, technology can help you monitor and understand what’s going on everyday on your marketplace. As you scale, it’s impossible to be on top of everything your sellers are doing and aware of every customer interaction - good or bad.

Designed to process large volumes of data very efficiently, AI monitoring solutions are ideal for handling scale. Knowing that daily activity on your platform is automatically being monitored for suspicious or negative behaviour reassures you that you’re providing a trusted user experience, are minimising unnecessary friction and are keeping your users safe. 

At Pasabi, our AI-enabled Digital Trust & Safety Platform helps our customers decide who they can trust. Our technology monitors seller behaviour to identify patterns of negative behaviour and eliminate bad actors, fake reviews and fake accounts. ID verification is just the start - daily monitoring by Pasabi gives you the insight you need to keep your users safe every day.. 

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you monitor your marketplace for fake reviews, fake accounts or any suspicious activity, get in touch - we’d love to hear from you.


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