The challenge for online marketplaces and ecommerce sites is to give their users Happy Endings. The simple finding of a “great deal” is not enough to ensure that both the seller and buyer get a Happy Ending. Complete customer satisfaction is transitioning from just the plain matching of a seller with a buyer based on item, location and price to match making that creates relationships and pleasantly memorable experiences.
Is this new? No, it has always been this way, and that is why 92% of repeat users in marketplaces are on the supply side of the transaction. People would just not come back to the website after a bad experience no matter how good of a deal it was. The difference is that now with technology and review sites, a bad match will not go quietly and can negatively affect the rating and trust level of a website.
Personality and behavioral matchmaking is the next step and is now possible thanks to social media, on-demand technology and big data. Why is matching of personalities important? Think about it. In any person to person interaction, you may not remember what you bought or sold specifically, but you sure will remember how you felt during the transaction. Like that time when you got bad service at a restaurant. Or was it that the personality of the waiter was not compatible to yours? It is not uncommon for people to select or switch service providers based on the experience they got with the person they dealt with.
Online commerce is not dating of course. People in general do not list an item on a website expecting to find prince charming, but they will buy again if they are pleased with the experience. Online commerce is about buying, selling, renting, sharing. It is making money at the end of the transaction. Technology and the smart use of data can turn a simple transaction into a great and memorable transaction.
Traditional classified websites and marketplaces have a long way to go. Let’s be clear. I am not talking about just traditional faceless transactions like those conducted on eBay or Amazon.com where the money is exchanged electronically and the items are shipped to an address. I am talking about person to person transactions where the actual delivery of the product and exchange of money require a personal meeting between the owner and the buyer or renter.
Marketplaces like Craigslist and the new buy-and-sell matching apps like Close5 and OfferUP keep their hands off the transaction and make matches in the simplest way, by product, price and geo-location. You may find a good deal but “happy endings” are not guaranteed.
Buyers and sellers are now verified by some websites, and that is minimizing fraud and making transactions safer in a one respect. Sharing sites like AirBnB and we at Rntus have a way to verify the identities of users with social media profiles and actual government issued identifications. Angie’s List claims to verify their vendors. UBer does background checks for their drivers. This is great, but what about personality matching? Remember that waiter at the restaurant you did not like? He may have the best ratings from people with similar personalities to him. You were just not compatible.
So, can online marketplaces create happy endings? Yes, but it would require a huge paradigm shift for most of them. The listings of thousands of items, Google ads flying all over the page and simple search results are not enough to continue growth. Marketplaces with personality and behavioral matching will conquer the online trading world.
At Rntus.com we are taking an extra step to get closer to the happy endings our owners and renters deserve. When someone searches for a product, our search results are ranked and delivered to our users by product, price, location and “Magic Dust”. Our Magic Dust is a highly sophisticated formula we call EC-Rank. EC-Rank takes into account the personalities and profiles of our users. It took us more than 24 months to develop and test the formula. Today we are implementing it in live transactions in our first market, Los Angeles.
We understand that the owner of the item and the renter have to communicate, arrange to meet, and meet at least two times. Our job is to make these meetings as pleasant as we can. Why, because we want lots and lots of them. This is even more important for the Rntus.com model of sharing and renting where two or more meetings between the parties are meant to happen. Once we convert our visitors into registered users, we obtain relevant data fields that let us determine the user’s personality type and online behavior with a high degree of accuracy. We use this information to trigger a more personalized delivery of search results. Our renters will see items from owners that have compatible personalities with them first.
As we grow and our item catalogs and user base grows, our EC-Rank will become more and more accurate. For now, we can say that our “Magic Dust” will not match an introvert with an extrovert in the top search results.
A potential investor told me that what we were doing was “too much” and not necessary. That people were “only looking for convenience and a good deal.” However we think that delivering convenience, great deals and better experiences is of the utmost importance. We want people to keep coming back.
Imagine how much better your experience will be if the next time you take an uBer ride, you actually have something in common or compatible personalities with the driver.
Is personality matching technology perfect? It is actually pretty accurate and will only develop to be better. Classified websites and online marketplaces will soon start adapting matching tools. We are now getting calls from marketplaces around the world interested in our EC-Rank technology. Although we created EC-Rank for Rntus.com, we may start considering licensing EC-Rank to other non-competing sharing and ecommerce sites. So, for now, be sure that more Happy Endings are coming.