How online commerce platforms can deliver safer shopping experiences

Marni Levine, vice president, commerce operations, Meta

In the wake of the pandemic, commerce underwent a rapid shift online, exponentially accelerating and forcing businesses of all sizes to adapt. Now moving into 2022, these trends will only continue as people have grown accustomed to shopping online more for all their needs.

According to a PwC survey, consumers are now putting more value on seamless digital transactions, more eco-friendly ways of shopping and the ability to support small and local businesses. With online shopping now routine, this has also introduced new challenges around purchasing experiences, online scams and other issues that can erode shoppers’ trust. In response, online commerce platforms are working to ensure trustworthy shopping experiences through various policies, safety measures and technologies. 

Shoppers have moved online and businesses are following

In 2020, 62% of US shoppers surveyed said they shop online more than before the pandemic. Because of this shift from in-store to online shopping, businesses have had to evolve how they connect with customers. Meta’s September 2021 Global State of Small Business Report shows that 69% of those surveyed said digital tools positively impacted their business during the pandemic. Additionally, 60% of SMBs reported using digital tools to advertise — up from 40% in February 2021.

This trend is expected to continue through 2022, with online shopping now common for many people. Buyers are turning to technologies such as Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shops, where they can find local products in their communities or easily browse products from businesses of all sizes. Through this kind of online commerce, companies can meet people where they already spend their time, building engagement and trust with customers. 

How online commerce platforms are fostering a safe shopping environment

While online commerce has grown considerably over the past couple of years, it’s also provided a new channel for scammers to prey on well-intentioned buyers and sellers. Many scammers have also evolved their tactics, motivating businesses to step up their efforts to build a safer and more trustworthy shopping experience. 

Online commerce platforms are investing to meet this challenge through a mix of artificial intelligence and human efforts to establish safeguards. The results of these investments include tools for businesses to report counterfeits, heightened reviews of businesses to detect scammers and product ratings and reviews to build shoppers’ confidence.

Delivering trustworthy shopping experiences should be a key focus for online commerce businesses and the sellers that utilize their platforms moving through 2022. It’s crucial that the companies that provide online commerce marketplaces vet the businesses that sell on them and maintain high standards. Businesses looking to sell goods through Meta’s technologies, for example, must abide by the company’s Commerce Eligibility Requirements and applicable Commerce Policies. Steps like this are favorable for businesses, who can feel more confident selling with safeguards in place, and for people, who know that they can trust purchases made through these technologies.

These safeguards also help online commerce companies identify businesses that should be considered for removal due to indications like poor shopper feedback and give people more confidence when making purchases. Enforcing these policies at the scale at which a company operates is essential work. Still, it is not without challenges – it’s crucial to invest in these systems to improve the detection of untrustworthy sellers to improve the buyer’s experience.

Customer experience and loyalty are predicated on trust

To build trust, businesses should be upfront and clear about product and delivery expectations, prioritize good customer service and take shopper feedback seriously to promote strong customer relationships.

Online commerce platforms should also publicize and educate shoppers about the safeguards they have in place to protect their experience, like how to tell if a business is a verified seller on the site. In addition, commerce platforms can encourage buyers to use secure payment methods and demand best practices regarding the personal information customers need to provide to make a purchase, ensuring they are protected.  

Online commerce companies need to be committed to delivering technologies for easy, useful and safe shopping experiences. That all starts with building and maintaining trust.

Sponsored By: Meta

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