Can consumers ever trust us?

by Cas Paton, Entrepreneur and Founder,

The internet is a crowded place, with online retailers saturating the market. Where consumer data is king, how do customers know who to trust?

The internet has empowered consumers. We have more choice, information and convenience than ever before. According to the Office for National Statistics, in May 2019, online shopping accounted for 19.8 per cent of all retail sales – a growth of 8.2 per cent year on year. Yet despite this boom in popularity, OnBuy’s own research shows that more than half of consumers are concerned about sharing their data online, and a 2017 survey by the Information Commissioner’s Office showed that just one in five people have confidence in how their data is being used. While consumers might be taking advantage of the benefits of online shopping, they are also becoming increasingly savvy, and simultaneously, more sceptical too.

As data becomes the commodity of the future, how online retailers react will be a huge part of their success. Building the trust and confidence of consumers should now be a top priority for all online businesses. “Bricks and mortar” stores have the benefit of a physical presence and face-to-face interaction with their customers, but in the competitive eCommerce market it is more difficult to give consumers the reassurance that they can shop safely, and if they want, privately, with you.

Retailers must get the essentials right. This includes a secure platform and data encryption. A customer’s journey through a website should be as smooth as possible – pages need to load quickly, a responsive template should be invested in, and customer data must be protected at all times. A slow website that doesn’t load easily on a range of devices will instantly lose the trust of customers. If it doesn’t look like the website has been invested in, customers will inevitably conclude that the safety of their data hasn’t been invested in either.

At, we have worked hard to build the trust of all of our customers – buyers and sellers. In 2018 we partnered with PayPal to invest in its dedicated PayPal Protection scheme, which provides a more robust level of protection for online purchases. Since launching the partnership, a customer’s ability to shop securely has improved, and in turn their confidence in OnBuy has improved too. OnBuy is fully compliant with PSD2 and GDPR regulations through this partnership and there is no risk of chargeback or fraud when people shop because every transaction is encrypted and monitored to prevent fraud, email phishing and identity theft.

Operating a transparent business model is something all businesses should aim for, and one that will build consumer trust. For online marketplaces, this means making sure that sellers trust that they are not competing with the platform for consumers. A professional marketplace doesn’t need to be one that undercuts the people that sell on it. OnBuy is testament to the fact that filling this gap – professionalism without competition – can build trust with sellers, and with the consumers that buy from them.

At OnBuy, we never use data from what works for our sellers to inform our own sales techniques. However, there are types of data that customers want to be shared – both their own opinions and those of others: product feedback. Research has found that more than 88 per cent of shoppers include online reviews in their purchasing decision, yet 30% of people often assume that online reviews are fake. Therefore, encouraging customer reviews – good and bad – helps  to build trust in your business, as long as there are ways to demonstrate review authenticity. OnBuy has built customer reviews into its purchasing software, so that people must have proof of purchase before reviews are accepted. By being transparent in this way, reviews have increased, and we have seen a significant uplift in sales. This is good for consumers, who can buy products that they trust, and sellers, who can provide evidence of satisfied customers.

Understanding the importance of building the trust of consumers that you will use their data in ways they do want, but not in ways that they don’t, is essential to success. Consumers should not be afraid of shopping online, they should instead focus on getting the best products at fair prices from sellers they trust.

If you would like to find out more about OnBuy, visit

© Business Reporter 2021

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