The popularity of online marketplaces means that buyers and sellers can now trade an almost unlimited range of goods and services online or via one of the many marketplace apps.
One vertical that is witnessing rapid growth is services for the home. Finding quality, professional tradespeople has traditionally been a real pain, but now customers can search and select from a wide range of high-quality, peer-reviewed tradespeople via online marketplaces.
A great choice for buyers
Two-sided marketplaces are uniquely suited to service those who want to hire professional tradespeople.
A crucial part of the marketplace experience is trust. The peer-to-peer rating systems that sites such as Etsy, Airbnb and Uber use are the perfect way to scope out whether you want to buy a product or use a service. You don’t go on holiday without looking at reviews on Airbnb. You wouldn’t use an Uber with a poor rating. You wouldn’t trust someone to complete work in your home without knowing others have used them safely and happily before.
What online marketplaces do better than almost any other form of commerce is provide a dynamic, up-to-date review system that gives a buyer all of the information they need so that they can decide whether to make a purchase. In short, the way online marketplaces have been built creates an environment where transactions can take place in confidence. Over time this leads to robust deal flow, satisfied customers and repeat business.
The perfect place for sellers
Technology has been hugely empowering for the many entrepreneurs who have set out to start their own businesses over the last few years. These can be creatives, who sell on Etsy, or independent hoteliers, who use Airbnb. Or, as we’re increasingly seeing, they could be one-man-band tradespeople, such as electricians or plumbers, or small partnerships, who, at the touch of a button, have everything they need to start their own independent companies.
Entrepreneurs benefit from online marketplaces in two ways. First, as mentioned, the work they do can be easily reviewed and their veracity verified by past customers, instantly proving their trustworthiness as a counterparty. Second, online marketplaces have allowed small businesses the chance to access large markets. This gives them an opportunity to compete on quality, reputation and price from day one with more established competitors. A one-man electrician can now use technology to compete with a larger firm, with marketplace peer-to-peer reviews providing him with all the social proof he needs in order to start and grow a business.
Rated People and Shieldpay
One example of an online marketplace for tradespeople is Rated People, which offers peer-rated tradespeople for every type of maintenance and improvement for the home.
Their app and website allow users to post a job that they need completing. Rated People matches the job to the relevant tradesperson and the user then chooses one to suit them. The work is completed and the user leaves a review. Proof of the success of Rated People’s model came in the form of a £4.2 million funding round, secured last year from Downing Capital.
This is the perfect example of the benefits of marketplace technology: a buyer and a seller connect in a regulated environment and both of their requirements are matched. Over time, the community vets all users, and the quality of the product is guaranteed by previous users of the good or service. This model suits tradespeople and customers alike.
Here at Shieldpay, we’ve entered into a partnership with Rated People, making their platform transactional for the first time. Previously, Rated People users would transact completely offline, arranging payment between buyer and seller. With our help, payment is now a fully integrated, seamless and completely secure part of the user experience.
Not only do users of Rated People know that they’re getting a good service from tradespeople, but they now trust every payment they make via the platform. For buyers and sellers, that peace of mind is essential.
Shieldpay protects both buyer and seller in any transaction so that you can deal with anyone, anywhere with total confidence.
How do we do it? We verify the identity of both sides, funds are held securely in the Shieldpay vault and only released when both sides agree they’re happy. If anything doesn’t go to plan, we help out with any disputes.
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