The importance of your brand’s reputation in e-Commerce
Consumer trust is a significant factor in the decision-making process during online shopping. Discover how your brand’s reputation affects customer trust and how to elevate it with a clean marketplace.
An awesome product or service, a smart marketing strategy and great customer relations. These are all crucial for a brand’s success, but there are other, more elusive qualities that are harder to define, let alone acquire.
Trust is one of them. Especially in e-Commerce, where your brand and products are physically separated from customers and a lot more of their trust is required before each transaction. Will the products arrive? Will they be as advertised? How does the brand/seller handle sensitive data? Important questions for customers to consider before they take that leap of faith and order something online.
Quantifying and measuring trust is not easy, but luckily, there are some pointers brands can use when developing their strategy for increasing customers’ trust in them. One of the most important factors, at least when it comes to e-Commerce, is definitely the online shop or marketplace customers encounter with your products.
The Austrian e-Commerce Trust Mark conducted a representative study among online shoppers in Austria, looking for input about their shopping habits. The outlook is positive for e-Commerce; despite increasing reports of fraud, 92.2% of shoppers usually feel safe when shopping online.
General concerns include fraud by untrustworthy sellers (10.3%), data-theft and phishing (10.7%), as well as handing over a disproportionate amount of sensitive data (7.7%).
When looking for a specific product online, trust plays a very important role in picking a vendor: 43.2% of customers will choose the seemingly more trustworthy seller of the same product. This means that trust comes in second in the purchase decision after price (58%). In addition, 82.7% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart (with a desired product inside) if they perceive the online shop to be untrustworthy.
An even more difficult, almost philosophical question is what consumers deem as trustworthy.
According to the study, 73.5% are looking for a visible certificate validating the seller, while 65.6% find secure payment methods the most important criterion for trust. 49.1% are looking for positive customer reviews, and the prominence of vendors is also found important by 48.2% of shoppers.
Another important factor is the origin of the seller. 31.6% of Austrians would be more willing to trust a seller coming from their own country, while a bit less, 27.5% extend the same trust to sellers within the entire EU.
We believe that the findings of the Austrian study can be viewed as valid for other parts of the world as well. After all, e-Commerce is a global phenomenon and definitely affects brands and consumers all over the globe.
As you can see, trust is a crucial factor for consumers when deciding who to purchase from. Unfortunately, fraudsters have discovered this as well and are making considerable efforts to appear as trustworthy as possible.
For example, creating fake customer reviews is one way to be seen as trusted by many satisfied shoppers. Another is to have a highly professional-looking online shop. Gone are the days of lame fakeshops: since fraudsters have access to the same tools as honest sellers, an increasing number of fraudulent sellers draw customers in with convincing, authentic-looking webshops.
This is especially problematic if we look at the No 1 factor influencing customer-decision: price. A professional-looking fake webshop offering the “same” product for a lower price can have a significant impact on a consumer’s decision. Not to mention the fact that some consumers are knowingly buying fakes to save money on branded products.
But it’s not only fake webshops that harm customers’ trust in your brand. Unfortunately, a regular webshop and general online marketplace can do that as well.
Just like its physical appearance, your brand’s online presence is an important part of its image and therefore must be carefully prepared. Which is entirely up to you on your own website, but what about the webshops of your distributors and online marketplaces? Product listings form an integral part of your image, and yet you have little to no control over how they appear. Which can be very damaging to your brand.
Let’s take a look at a distributor’s webshop. If it uses your brand’s name or trademark in any way, it could lead customers to believe that they’re in direct contact with your brand. Which is fine as long as things go as planned.
But what if their customer service doesn’t live up to your brand’s reputation? Or what if they display your product listings along with products of inferior quality? The ensuing “guilt by association” could have very damaging consequences for your brand.
The same is true for online marketplaces, except at a much larger scale. While you may have some control over your own distributor’s webshop, there’s no way you can make Amazon & Co. display your products in a certain way. Especially since most marketplaces work with keyword-based searches, which means that your products will be displayed next to products that feature the same keywords.
Basically, if a fraudster decides to advertise their listing with your brand or product name, it will most likely be placed next to your listing in a search for that very keyword.
This creates an unclean marketplace, where genuine branded products are put next to cheap look-alikes, fakes, grey market listings, and any other kind of IP infringing products. The varying price structures and uncertain origins of products create confusion among customers and doubts about your brand.
The ensuing chaos not only damages your bottom line (after all, how can customers find and recognize your original listings) but your reputation as well. No wonder; when surrounded by a flood of bad quality products, your brand name also gets tarnished.
Especially if a customer makes a purchase and receives a product of subpar quality, or even worse, gets scammed and becomes a victim of data theft or worse. Even if your brand had nothing to do with the issue, your name can get dragged through the mud.
Unfair? Definitely. But it’s happening. Which means that brands have to take serious measures to protect themselves from the harms caused by an untrustworthy online sales environment.
The only way to ensure your brand’s product listings don’t appear next to fraudulent ones is simple: the fraudulent listings have to be removed. The ensuing clean marketplace would only display authorized listings, creating a flawless online presence for your brand and elevating both reputation and trust, which in turn is highly beneficial for your bottom line.
You can achieve all that with a clean marketplace. But how to achieve a clean marketplace?
Online brand protection is a collective term for various services and measures that are aimed at protecting a brand’s IP rights. For the purpose of cleaning a marketplace, we’d recommend four major services: marketplace monitoring, test purchases, image monitoring and sales tracking.
How does it work?
Initial rounds of marketplace and image monitoring find potentially IP-infringing product listings and images on the marketplaces of your choice. With extensive filtering options and decades-long experience, we quickly separate authorized listings from the unauthorized.
A test purchase allows us to gain more information about the origins of a product (and to gather court-admissible evidence). And finally, a round of sales tracking quickly tells us the sales volumes and revenue each seller is making with your products, which is essential for separating small timers from big fish and to decide which sellers to target first with takedowns or enforcement.
We at globaleyez understand the value of customer trust.
Don’t let an untrustworthy online sales environment ruin customers’ trust in your brand. Contact us and let’s devise a strategy together to ensure your brand’s flawless online and marketplace presence.