August 30, 2023

Feature Spotlight: Episode 3- Trust

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Welcome to the third episode of our “Feature Spotlight” series in which we highlight the unique and engaging features of our platform. Today we’re excited to showcase our trust features!

Why Trust is Important

Trust is critical to the proper functioning of a marketplace. This is particularly true for an online marketplace where transactions often occur anonymously with people in opposite sides of the country, and with little information to help gauge either party’s trustworthiness.

In the absence of trust, shoppers face a difficult decision. Do they rely on the information that is provided to them and risk a financial loss, or do they try to find the product somewhere else and possibly pay more for it? Legitimate sellers are also disadvantaged in this scenario because they have no way to differentiate themselves from the unscrupulous ones. How are they to encourage sellers to buy from them without relying on offering the lowest price? When trust is missing, people don’t transact. Without transactions, there is no marketplace. It’s as simple as that.

How We Build Trust

We spent a lot of time thinking about how we can foster trust in the marketplaces that we support. Our preferred approach was to create a series of checks and balances that maximize the chance of questionable listings being caught before they create a problem, as well as ensuring that shoppers have recourse in the event that they fall victim to a fraud.

Procedural Safeguards

We’ve developed a number of processes to identify and remove problematic listings early. Listings that we identify as being in violation of our listing rules are suspended while the seller corrects the listing and resubmits it for review. Repeat offenders are also blocked from being able to post listings in the future.

In addition, if for whatever reason our review process failed to identify an issue or the seller updates a listing after it has been reviewed, we provide our community with the option to flag the listing for a follow up review. Once flagged, our team reviews the listing and suspends it if it is found to violate our rules. Partnering with our community members has the added benefit of reinforcing the fact that we are actively engaged in maintaining a safe and trustworthy community.

Shopper Protection Program

Every purchase that is made in our communities is backed by our Shopper Protection Program. This program provides a mechanism for shoppers to report fraud. It works by giving shoppers the opportunity to inspect and approve their purchases before funds are released to the sellers. A shopper may reject a purchase for one of four reasons: (1) the item received was not the one that was purchased (maybe it was a different size or color); (2) the item received was not as described in the listing (maybe it contained a tear that wasn’t disclosed); (3) the item received was damaged during shipping; or (4) the item received is not authentic.

After the shopper files a rejection claim, we provide the seller with an opportunity to respond. After we collect responses from both parties, we will make a determination as to whether the order should be voided and a refund issued to the buyer, or whether the order should remain in place and the funds be released to the seller. Of course, we put time limits on each step of the process to encourage participation. Shoppers must file their claim within two days of receiving the items, and sellers must respond within two days of the claim being filed. Failure to meet a deadline results in forfeiture of the claim.

The goal of our Shopper Protection Program is to help shoppers feel confident in making a purchase, provide sellers with an incentive to be honest (since they won’t get paid until their sale is approved) as well as opportunity to participate in a dispute process, and of course resolve disputes in the most fair way possible based on the particular facts of each dispute.

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Seller Ratings

Ratings can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they provide valuable information to other shoppers about the experiences of people who shopped before them. On the other, they can become toxic and abusive. To avoid the negative aspects of reviews, and to ensure that our process results in valuable information, we decided to take a different approach.

Instead of using a star-based scale, which can be arbitrary, or an open-ended comments, which can quickly become abusive, we chose a modified net promoter score approach. In other words, we ask shoppers a single question that gets to the heart of their experience – “Would you buy from this seller again?” The responses are aggregated and displayed on the seller’s profile as a score out of 100. The higher the score, the more trustworthy the seller based on the fact that shoppers were happy enough with their experiences to be willing to shop with this seller again.

Seller ratings

This approach also benefits sellers because it provides them with a way to differentiate from other sellers. To earn a high rating, sellers are naturally encouraged to publish honest and thorough descriptions that are accompanied by quality photos, ship items quickly, and package them neatly.

Original Product Information

Transparency is also employed as a mechanism to build trust. Every listing is accompanied by the original product description and photos from the brand, along with available sizes and colors. This information is provided so that shoppers can compare what the product looked like new to what the seller provided. It’s the same information that we use when we conduct our reviews. Any discrepancies that we may have missed have another chance of being caught as a result of this data being available. Suspicious listings can then be flagged for our review as we mentioned above.

Learn More

If you’re interested in a one-on-one consultation to discuss offering your own pre-loved program, or if you’d like to see our platform in action, please contact us.