#Marketplaces | 14 min read | Updated: 2/1/2023

Marketplace Trust: 11 Tips to Build Trust Between the Parties in 2023

Updated: 2/1/2023
, Partner Marketing Manager
14 min read

In the age of disinformation, fake news, and growing concerns about personal data usage, online marketplace trust is gradually becoming extinct. So, platform business owners need to ensure that their sites are safe for monetary transactions.

Luckily, more research has been dedicated to figuring out how to build trust online.

This article will address how platform owners can ensure their marketplaces are trustworthy and safe. 

Building Trust in Your Platform

Not all buyers’ fear is related to the untrustworthiness of the sellers. The platform needs to be safe to do monetary transactions and hold users’ personal information. This problem is often faced by new online marketplaces without a reputable brand. 

Now, lets’ see what can be done to increase the platform’s trustworthiness in the eyes of users. 

Building and Designing Your Product with Trust in Mind

Building a user experience that feels trustworthy starts with building a product designed to feel trustworthy. 46% of people say that design is the first criterion for determining a website’s credibility.

This result is backed by The Nielson Norman Group. It states that design quality, up-front disclosure, current content, and connection to the rest of the web are the four ways in which websites can communicate trustworthiness. Here they highlight the need for a well-organized site and a pleasing visual design that matches the purpose of your site.

The Nielson Normann Group has also created a pyramid of trust. This is based on Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. It outlines the five levels of commitment in site-user relationships. It is also advised that you do not try to move the user to the next level of commitment before meeting the trust needs of the previous level.

This is important to consider when designing the user journey for your buyers and sellers to ensure that trust is established.

It’s particularly crucial considering that in a survey by KPMG, 30% of shoppers state that the most important attribute when deciding where to buy is the level of trust.

Verifying Sellers and The Content They Make

For traditional e-commerce, it’s easy to ensure that design and content go hand in hand. For online marketplaces, this is a lot more challenging since, in our industry, we rely heavily on user-generated content. Here are some ways to ensure that the marketplace content does not send the wrong message:

Create Genuine Content 

First of all, ensure that the content uploaded is genuine and not intended to scam potential buyers. Scams account for 2%of the total volumes of the content reviewed at Besedo every month. With that number in mind, it’s easy to understand why scams can significantly impact your site’s user experience if not removed early and continuously.

Make sure there is a process for pre-moderating the submitted content. So, buyers know that the content has been through a verification process.

Upload High-Quality Content

Ensure that the content meets the quality standards required to keep the design of the site trustworthy. Besedo found that people who saw irrelevant content were not only less likely to buy the item advertised in the listing with irrelevant information. They were less likely to buy from any other seller on the site. In fact, only 23% of them would buy from other sellers. 58% of those who saw a quality listing would buy from other sellers on the site.

This means that one piece of bad content can easily ruin trust. This is especially true for first-time visitors who have not yet had an impression of your marketplace. You have about 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression. That is why bad content can severely impact your acquisition rates if it is the first thing customers see.

However, it isn’t just acquisition that’s hurt by bad content. 33% of users found misleading headlines, which made them not want to buy the advertised item. They simply didn’t believe they would get the product seemingly advertised. 

This is why some of the biggest online marketplaces in the world ensure high-accuracy content moderation.

Curate Submitted Content

Finally, your entire brand image can be damaged if you do not curate the content. Depending on your online marketplace and the target audience, it could be crucial to guarantee a certain level of image and description quality. 

The first page of your app or site is the virtual storefront. Here, users decide if it’s worth it to explore the rest of your inventory. We’ve helped customers tag content with high, medium, or low quality so they could guarantee that only high-quality images and texts were displayed at the top of searches and on the front page and other important landing pages.

This is the same tactic Airbnb used when they were scaling. They literally went out to people’s properties to take high-quality images that would convert and attract better.

Providing Great Customer Support and Quick Response

Online marketplaces rely on strangers feeling comfortable interacting with each other. This is often with no other proof of identity than what’s offered by their profile. That is why it’s imperative that the platform enforces security to make the leap of faith necessary easier.

An active and high-quality customer support service helps facilitate trust. It assures users that there’s always somewhere they can turn for help.

A study by KPMG shows that 51% of consumers trust companies that make it easy for visitors to contact the people behind the company.

With this in mind, make sure it’s not just how to contact your support department but also to put a face to the people that are behind your company. If they know real people are behind your product, users will be more trusting. The same is true for the profiles populating your site.

Great customer support doesn’t just build trust; it also creates loyalty. That is why excellent customer support is the attribute that drives the highest customer loyalty, with 66% of respondents.

Consequently, you should invest in high-quality customer support. Do this regardless of whether you decide to use an in-house team or outsource your customer support services.

Integrating a Trustworthy Payment Solution

The interaction on online marketplaces that require the biggest leap of faith is transferring funds to a stranger. Especially without having physically seen the product you are buying.

Airbnb secure payment system

Airbnb Secure Payment System

In the book “Trust in the network economy,” Petrovic et al. defined a trust pyramid where each level needs to be fulfilled before people feel comfortable transacting online. He also highlighted six elements that, when combined, form the trust period. The first of them reads as follows:

Using secure and reliable technology on your website serves as a recipe for promoting trust. Potential customers can feel secure whenever they engage in online transactions.

That’s why it’s essential to offer payment solutions that protect your users’ data. It should also act as a security net if the received item doesn’t live up to the expectations created by the listing and the seller.

It is, however, also important that the payment system protects the seller. This is because scammers increasingly abuse payment systems that favour buyer claims.

Whether you go with an escrow-type of payment system where the money is held until both buyer and seller are satisfied with the transaction, or a payment system with a lenient and well-functioning refund system, it’s important that you make payment security a priority.

Blockchain and “Trustless Trust”

Blockchain is one of the new technologies that have disrupted almost all industries. It is trusted by lots of experts and already powers many apps. 

The most popular of the blockchain technologies is Bitcoin. Bitcoin allows people to carry out secure transactions eliminating the intermediaries like credit card companies and banks. 

LinkedIn’s founder Reid Hoffman describes blockchain as a technology that creates the possibility of trustless trust. Here there is no need for trust or intermediaries to exchange value. 

Due to blockchain’s distributed nature, it is almost impossible to commit fraudulent transactions. Therefore, you don’t need to trust the other party to do monetary transactions with them. 

Blockchain is still a relatively new technology, and its use is still not very practical for laymen. However, in years to come, it may become the standard technology for carrying out transactions. 

Delivering What You Promise

When creating your value proposition, ensure not to make promises you can’t keep. If that happens, it will take a serious toll on your reputation, and people will no longer trust your brand. 

A similar situation occurred with Airbnb when a host’s apartment was ransacked by a guest. This made the host write a lengthy blog post describing the whole situation. She was disappointed that Airbnb had betrayed her trust. She indicated that it wouldn’t have been very disappointing if the same situation had occurred on Craigslist. That is because they advise users to use it at their own discretion. This became bad publicity for Airbnb and caused a serious dent in its reputation. 

Top labour online marketplaces like Uber promises high-level service. To make good on their promise, they need to double down on employee conduct. Keeping the trust going is vital for business. 

Building Trust Between Your Users

Building a long-lasting trust mechanism in a marketplace is a gradual and step-by-step process. The techniques used in the startup years will not be needed when the platform has scaled. So, this section will address issues of trust in the different stages of the marketplace.

Online marketplace trust

Online Marketplace Trust

Create a Code of Conduct

Laying down the ground rules on how the marketplace should operate is one of the first things to do. It is not very challenging and should be made a priority. New users should already have guidelines and use the marketplace based on your specifications.

BlaBlaCar Code of conduct

BlaBlaCar Code of Conduct

For example, BlaBaCar has set guidelines on being a good driver and passenger. This ensures that both parties remain respectful and punishment for anyone that breaks the rules.

Setting the marketplace rules acts as a building block to creating a basic level of trust. This is because everyone knows what is expected of them when they register. A good example can be seen on Facebook groups. The admin creates rules which are visible for members and all others wishing to join. 

Getting Users to Provide Info About Themselves 

Companies whose business strategy relies on trust need to convince users to share information about themselves

Many people would love to read and see info about others to build trust. However, they are not very willing to share that same information about themselves. The goal of many users is to use a trustworthy marketplace. So you need to tell them that creating a trusting atmosphere for business transactions to take place requires transparency.

For example, BlaBlaCar asks its users to use their real photos and names. And the user profile should have information on who they are. 

To ensure that users add useful information about themselves, it’s better to use a questionnaire. The more details people provide, the more trustworthy they become.

Helping Users Communicate With Each Other

Olx communication system

OLX Communication System

Building a marketplace where users can chat with each other can significantly improve trust levels. When someone is interested in any product, they can directly message the seller. It helps eliminate the fear of the unknown and significantly increases trust in a marketplace. After back and forth messages, people will generally fill confident in making a purchase online. 

Showing Users How They Are Connected

As we have said earlier, “people fear the unknown”. However, how unknown is the person at the other end of the platform form? 

You will be surprised to know how connected we are. Many people are connected through friends and families of which they are actually unaware. 

Exposing these social and familial connections can go a long way to building trust. Companies like Airbnb are already making use of Facebook data. They allow people to filter listings based on common friends with the owner. Even though the users may not know the host personally, they are sure that the hosts are real people. And if something seems fishy, a user could just ask their friend. 

Implementing Social Proof Through Reviews

Reviews are a great way to add another layer of trust to your online marketplace. It gives users a sense of safety knowing that others have positively interacted with the sellers. However, as with all other user-generated content, there’s a risk that bad actors will abuse them. 

For reviews, this usually happens by adding fake reviews. This is done to boost their own standing or bad ones to discredit competitors.

AirBnB reviews system

Airbnb Reviews System

Amazon, in particular, has struggled with fake reviews. In 2018, a study revealed that 61% of all electronic reviews on Amazon are fake.

The avalanche of fake reviews has not deterred people from using reviews for purchases. A study by Spiegel Research Center shows that the likelihood of purchase is 270% greater when a product has five reviews compared to when it has none. 

Also, 30% of consumers assume online business reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews. And 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores.

This means that you should add the functionality of reviews to your site. However, you need to make sure that the reviews are done by real consumers.


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Marketplace Trust & Conversions

A lot of work is needed to ensure trust in a marketplace. That is why owners work towards creating a safe place for people to interact. It will ultimately be good for the sellers since there will be an increase in conversions. However, let us see the overall impact that trust has on a marketplace.

A study on classified listings keys gave us some key stats which show how trust plays a role in marketplaces. 

  • 100% of the participants found irrelevant items in their search results
  • 75% of participants found duplicate posts

This type of encounter makes buyers doubt the security and trustworthiness of the platform. It causes confusion and shows users the site is not controlled. It will ultimately lead to attrition and trust issues. 

The study also showed that only 20% of the participants would buy with poor descriptions. 73% said they would not return to the site. However, 53% would buy products with a good description, and 37% are unlikely to return. 

Also, the product listing should be clear and precise to inspire buyer confidence. It is even worst when the buyer encounters or hears of a scam concerning the marketplace. 75% said they would not return to the platform if that happened.

This shows there are many things owners can do to ensure their marketplace is genuine. It would be very helpful to enhance the UX, onboarding, and customer service. Also, do not forget about ensuring strict compliance to good behaviour. And punish fraudulent and sellers that create poor content. It will go a long way to increase trust. Customers will know you are making a cautious effort to ensure their security. 

Understanding Why People May Not Trust The Platform

Even though online transactions are nothing new, people are still wary to this day. So, when building an online platform involving monetary or business transactions, it is vital to look for ways to quench users’ worries. 

The first thing to decrease users’ worries would be to address the trust issues. Some of the perceived risks may be imaginary or real. Either way, you need to look for ways to increase their trust. The level of perceived risk will vary depending on the type of marketplace.

To reduce the size of these perceived risks, you will need to address some points:

Number of Platform Users

For many users, a vast user database translates to greater chances of fraud. This is not wrong because as the marketplace grows, it becomes a magnet for bad actors and scammers.

Average Transaction Amount 

Buying a pair of shoes and not receiving them is better than buying a car, and the same situation happens. 

Target Audience Trust 

An audience from developed countries is more trusting than those from developing countries. 

With all of these factors in mind, you can start researching the different tools marketplaces use to make themselves more trustworthy.

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To Sum it Up: Trust is Built by Continuously Meeting or Exceeding Expectations

For people to trust your platform, you need always to deliver the experience they expect. 

One negative experience could damage your brand and user trust in your marketplace for good. Customers still expect a lot from companies even when companies don’t voice out promises. So if customers become the victim of fraud, they still feel that the platform could have done more to prevent the situation. They also feel betrayed, and the platform has broken its brand promise.

The success of an online marketplace is driven by P2P interactions and user-generated content. So, it is in your best interest to ensure that these interactions are seamless, leaving all the parties satisfied. That is what top-notch platforms like Airbnb, Amazon, and Booking do.

Like almost every other thing, trust takes a long time to build. However, it can be lost very easily. 

So, it’s important to ensure that customers are always met with the experience they expect from your site. Both when it comes to design and UX, content quality, customer support, and payment options.

By building marketplaces for over 10 years, we know how to build trust in the platform with its functionality and design. Book a call with us to discuss your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered an online marketplace?

An online marketplace is any website that connects buyers and sellers. All the transactions that take place on the site are managed by the site owner, who sets the rules for trading and code of conduct. Many businesses now use online marketplaces to reach a larger pool of customers.

What is marketplace trust and safety?

The most important value proposition of an online marketplace is the promise to provide lots of customers for sellers and high-quality products for customers in a trustworthy and safe environment. This means that if the online marketplace can be trusted, it will attract customers for sellers to make profits.

Why should you care about trust in your marketplace?

If an online marketplace is trustworthy, people will make it their preferred trading platform and will be more confident when making transactions.

How do you build trust in the marketplace?

People value trust and feel confident if the marketplace is trustworthy. So, here are 11 ways to build trust in your online marketplace:

  • Creating a code of conduct
  • Get users to provide info about themselves
  • Help users to talk to each other
  • Show users how they are connected
  • Implement social proof through reviews
  • Build and design your product with trust in mind
  • Verify sellers and content they create
  • Provide great customer support and quick response
  • Integrate a trustworthy payment solution
  • Deliver what you promise

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