Factors Influencing Trust in Online C2C Transactions

C2C eCommerce: Factors Influencing Trust in Online Consumer-to-Consumer Transactions

All You Need Is Trust, Here’s Why

Every online business transaction (eCommerce), especially on a customer-to-customer eCommerce level (C2C eCommerce), has an element of fear and anxiety in it, from both sides engaging in the deed. Sellers might be afraid that the customer will not see the payment through, and customers can be afraid that they will never receive the product they ordered. These are not the only sources of fear present during eCommerce, but nevertheless, majority of them has to do with mutual trust. Trust and loyalty from the one party to the other during C2C eCommerce is a necessity for a business to survive, grow, and thrive. This article will dig deeper on the elements of loyalty and trust, and how they can be developed during C2C eCommerce.

Clarity's eCommerce Marketplace platform has been used in such marketplaces for more than 10 years.

Indisputably, a successful business is based on customers and transactions. Without customers buying the advertised products or services, there would be no reason, motive, or ability for a business to exist. There are some businesses that run on quick, easy transactions of very low-quality products, which customers purchase once probably out of curiosity, and then they regret the money they spent and they never purchase another thing. This article is not about these businesses, although some of the tips might come handy. This article is for those sellers who want to engage customers in C2C eCommerce transactions, leave them satisfied with their purchase, and build an ongoing relationship with them, based on mutual trust. These sellers have the most successful businesses, because their customers, old or new, trust them. They trust the assumed quality of the advertised products, they trust reviews about a specific product, and they trust the seller based on their profile information. Overall, they have faith that any transaction they end up participating in will be for the mutual benefit of both parties, not only of the seller.

Especially in C2C ecommerce platforms where majority of transactions are made based on published or “word-of-mouth” reviews, customer trust and loyalty are big, influencing factors towards business success. C2C eCommerce customer loyalty can have several strong benefits, with overall success being the biggest one. During the initial stages of setting up a business, sellers want to establish a following, loyal customers, a momentum of successful transactions, and a name equivalent to customer trust. Being able to attract and maintain customers is a great attribute of an online platform, which is majorly based on customer trust towards the seller. Achieving and maintaining customer loyalty will mean that a major reason for concern around business success –sales– will not be applicable here, at least not as an initial reason to explain things going south. It will also mean that this business will not have to invest as much capital for marketing purposes as other sellers, since the loyal customers will act as moving advertisements, spreading the word on why this seller is worth a go.

C2C ECOMMERCE EMPOWERMENT - Giving Power to the Customers

Consumer Empowerment Can Lead to More Transactions

Building trust is not easy. Making customers return for more is not easy either. It takes a lot of effort from the seller’s side, to build a brand which promotes trust, transparency, interest for customer satisfaction, a “win-win” vibe, and a climate that makes customers feel comfortable and willing to spend their hard-earned money. A great way of doing so, is by offering customer empowerment. Especially in consumer-to-consumer transactions, empowering the customers and giving them the option to choose, rather than “serving” them only one option and not caring about their shopping experience, can lead to great results. Providing the customers with options and allowing them to make their own choices gives them the power of figuring out the best option from them and having control of the final decision amongst an array of choices. The strategic input of sellers at this point is to offer personalized choices to customers, based on insights collected from previous purchases, or submitted profile data, or even browsing history. Another element or customer empowerment in C2C eCommerce is the ability of customers to have a voice. Being able to share their thoughts on a product or service is very empowering, as it gives customers the sense of “I can influence the future of this company”.

Consumer Empowerment Can Lead to More Transactions

Submitting a review can have a feeling of revenge, even a notion of protecting other people, both very strong feelings. This is the main reason behind the importance of reviews, and this is why everyone wants customers to write reviews. In C2C eCommerce where there is abundance of choice for the same product, customer reviews is one of the few ways for sellers to make a difference, and at this point customers know it. From the seller’s perspective, having customers writing reviews is a mainly good thing, as it shows transparency, a personal touch (every experience is different), and can provoke the feeling of belonging (if prospective customers see all these ravishing reviews, they will want to be part of this). From a customer’s perspective, reading reviews can lead to more transactions, as they know which products are the good ones, what they should avoid, where they might face issues. Hence they can quickly identify the best option, from a possibly overwhelming pool of options.

All customers want is to be treated with respect, and to be valued as people, not as sales profits. The knowledge of customers that they can have a say and voice their experience for products or services of lower quality than expected, shopping experience not being as good as it could be, or bad customer service, can be very empowering.


Which Factors Influence Trust in C2C eCommerce?

There are several factors that can build and develop trust between businesses and customers in C2C eCommerce, increasing C2C consumer transactions. We already saw one of them, customer reviews, which is one of the most powerful ones, empowering consumers, offering transparency, and enhancing trust. Other ways to empower customers and influence C2C eCommerce transactions are being approachable and allowing people “in”, offering high-quality content and personalized choices, and providing value-for-money options.

  • Being approachable: This means that behind every business, there are people who are no different from their consumers. Since C2C eCommerce transactions are taking place between consumers, in order to gain trust and loyalty, the sellers need to present themselves as easily approachable. If you think about it, customers are required to provide personal information, where as for sellers that information isn't typically publically available. If they choose to display this information, they can influence building trust at a completely different level. We all grew up with the “do not trust strangers” advice, and in business this is no different. In example, between the unnamed jewelry seller and “George, a smiley hipster with a computer degree, who makes and sells customized 3-D printed jewelry”, trust will be placed in George. Sellers need to be more like George and create an approachable profile, letting customers see who they are, the same way they are able to see who their customers are.
  • Creating high quality content: Would you buy a bag from a seller who only provides one blurry photo of the product, or a seller who shows the bag from several different angles, open or close, maybe even show a video of a person carrying it? This is a rhetorical question, the answer is clear. Offering high quality content (photos, videos, blogs, details) can definitely influence C2C eCommerce transactions, as it gives a pretty good idea to customers about the quality of the product, building trust that what they see is what they will get.
  • Offering personalized choices: Majority of online businesses offer a great variety of products, which can be overwhelming for customers. Using search engines and insights, a seller can create a curated “window” for each customer, showing them products more relevant to them and what they are looking for. This can definitely boost transactions, as it shows a personal touch, respect to customer wishes. Taking it a step further and offering thoughtful combinations, can really help a seller build trust and loyalty, and influence C2C customer transactions.
  • Providing value-for-money options: Everyone loves a good deal or discounted sale on their favorite products and services. Since C2C eCommerce is the business transactions from customer-to-customer and between a corporate business and consumers, it can be easier to promote personalized deals, or offer discounts. Empowering customers to choose a money-saving deal can be a transaction “turn-on”, even leading to transactions of bigger values than originally intended. Through personalized discounts trust and loyalty are also maintained and reinforced, as customers feel taken care of and pampered, on a personalized level.