Data free flow and trust (Part 2)

By way of recap , I said International Organization for Standards or ISO prescribes that  “ online reviews are increasingly influential to consumers’ purchasing decisions, it is vital to both consumers and suppliers that sites are managed effectively to build confidence in the quality, integrity, accuracy and transparency of reviews. “ 

Further I explained “the ISO standards offer requirements to organizations that manage consumer review sites, detailing good practice throughout the process, from collection to moderation and to publication. It gives recommendations in order to increase consumer trust in online consumer reviews, increase the protection of suppliers from exploitation and mischief, and improve the purchase decisions of consumers and the quality of products and services provided by organizations.”

On the domestic level, our group, Laban Konsyumer Inc., has looked into a 3rdparty online review currently existing in the country. It is a startup group that aims to create a fraud-free online marketplace in the Philippines. It describes itself as a third-party accreditation platform that serves to legitimize online sellers, and launched its website this year as an effort to combat the steady rise of fraudulent online transactions.

It offers a safer and more secure e-commerce experience through its badge verification system. The verified sellers gain badges that certify legitimacy and are listed on the site’s Seller Directory. This service helps promote legitimate online sellers by providing them with added brand value and distinguishing themselves from fraudulent sellers online. Consumers who purchase from sellers with the badges gain more confidence in the security of their transactions. This entrepreneur and similar others chose to strengthen their online businesses as a response to the current pandemic. 

Consumers should be made more aware of professional and third party e -commerce sites that provide impartial reviews of online selling platforms in the Philippines which consumers can understand and be guided by in their online purchases. I believe this practice will help build consumer trust in online selling platforms.  

I believe that such checks and platforms would prove beneficial to the Filipino consumer if executed and implemented properly. More time and effort should be exerted by the market so we can meet ISO standards in terms of customer online reviews, and thus helpin building that sense of trust in the Filipino consumer for transacting online.

One of the questions posed in the breakout room during the World Economic Forum virtual dialogue held on December 1, 2020, where I spoke on Maintaining and Growing Trust in the e-commerce platforms, was “what collaborative actions can help reassure consumers on data treatment and transfer in the new digital age.”

 In this space, I have suggested one way. I believe that the public and private enterprises should initiate efforts to nurture and increase capability and trustworthiness of enterprises such as   online rating platforms. By improving and strengthening   their credibility in reviewing and vetting online sellers, they will be contributing in building consumer trust in the online sellers that pass their review.  When such trust is gained, I believe that consumer concerns regarding data flow will be lessened correspondingly.  I can imagine that  market online reviews   still have  room to grow  as a tool  the consumer can use to allay his concerns on data flow, but given the proper environment, it can be the right step in  the goal of building  consumer trust.

Atty. Vic Dimagiba is President of Laban Konsyumer Inc.