Two of the web’s biggest etailers — Amazon and eBay — have in-built merchant review systems. Even high-street businesses have equivalents, like Yelp and Google, and products themselves are well reviewed online.
But, as more and more consumer commerce is carried out online through etailers that operate independently, how can customers gauge sellers’ trustworthiness?
That is a problem Denmark-based Trustpilot has been trying to crack in Europe since it was founded in 2007. And now it is taking on a further €10 million ($13 million) to fund entry to the United States (announcement).
The money comes from Index Ventures, which is joining previous backers SEED Capital Denmark and Northzone, which gave €4.5 million a year ago and which think Trustpilot’s method of letting buyers rate and review merchants will be big. CEO Peter Mühlmann writes that he wants to double staff from over 100 in the next year.
Trustpilot says: “The benefit for businesses using Trustpilot is that they can backtrack each customer review to the transaction on which the review is based. This helps businesses pinpoint where and how to improve customer satisfaction.”
But, as it tries to unlock the large US market, the outfit may nevertheless still face challenges at home. Despite operating in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands and Italy, I have never heard of it; it simply would not have occurred to me to use it to find trustworthy sellers.
That means it is starting from a lower base in the States. But Trustpilot also supplies reviews to Google product search pages — a place where people are more likely to see them.
But Trustpilot claims merchants who display its reviews on their site can increase purchase conversions by 20 percent. Its focus on providing value to businesses through highlighting positive reviews seems to take second place to providing a service to consumers.
The service claims to have garnered over six million reviews of over 100,000 merchants.