The Importance of Trust for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Marketplaces

For a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace to work, trust is an essential condition.

  • Participants need to trust that the products and services offered are real and represented accurately.
  • Participants need to trust that their peers on the other side of the transaction will deliver the product or service.
  • Participants need to trust that the marketplace will execute the transaction properly.

Compared to other businesses, it is more challenging for P2P platforms to establish trust as there are more forces outside of the operator’s control. For example, the way owners communicate with buyers or renters is not dictated by a sales script or managed through sales training.

But, once that level of trust is there, P2P platforms can be extremely powerful and have a great impact on industries and societies.

VC-investor Union Square Ventures (USV) recently talked about Trusted brands and Trust as a strategy at their annual CEO summit.

The slides of that talk are available and can be found here.

I particularly like how they think about Trust as a strategy. I fully agree that this is indeed the right way to approach it, especially so in the P2P space. Breaking your core promise and thereby the trust in your platform is the biggest risk to its success.

Today, we have many tools (review systems, community managers, automated fraud detection, etc.) available that can help operators in building a trusted P2P platform. Rent Items has implemented several of these tools to help build trust among its users and is continuously working on adding more trust building features to its platform.

Which tools you use and how you will use them should be part of your Trust strategy.

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