Stijn Kruijssen is the co-founder of Fashcom. He started his first internet company in 2002, which focuses on affiliate marketing. Through the years, he has heavily invested in getting more influence on customer satisfaction. In 2011, his company began with its first webshop. Now, Fashcom has multiple webshops in the Netherlands and Belgium. Each shop focuses on a specific product using strong local domain names, the equivalent to an offline store located on a high-end location.
To achieve these goals, Fashcom really believes in their motto: small things, big difference. Kruijssen explains: ‘It starts with the products we sell. In our business, we really need to focus on the details. Everything has to be perfect. It can make a customer happy when he puts on his favourite underwear or pair of socks in the morning. That only happens, though, if the experience of the customer is very positive. It is one of the reasons we have focused on some core products and decided not to expand into more categories, adding different product SKUs to our assortment. All of that is done without losing sight of the big picture. We have a three-year plan for our bigger goals. We execute them one step at a time.’
One of the main pillars in e-commerce is creating a bond of trust with your customers. It is necessary to convince your target audience that you are the right choice for them. ‘Especially since the offer online is enormous. We believe that without trust your partners and co-workers can’t perform as well as they possibly can. That starts by executing your job as well as possible and exceeding the consumer’s expectations. The most important thing: do not promise things you can’t deliver.’ For Fashcom, that means doing a lot of things in-house. For example, product photography, customer service, website development and the shipping of products. ‘If we decide to outsource a part of our business, we work with partners we absolutely trust and are top-notch in their field,’ says Kruijssen.
It may be clear that having a trustworthy relationship with its customers is very important to Fashcom. That has to do with the products the company is selling as well. Garments like socks, underwear and shirts are products that customers buy more than once a year. Therefore, converting consumers into recurring customers is worth a lot. The potential of a loyal customer is very high. ‘We do that by trying to create an experience they have never had before,’ explains Kruijssen. ‘Trust is based on a very good website, providing excellent service and joining a quality local trust mark. In the Netherlands and Belgium, for example, we use Trustpilot review scores. Showing reviews helps us gain customer confidence and positive reviews create higher customer satisfaction as consumers know they buy from a shop they can trust.’
Not long ago, Fashcom crossed the border for the first time, starting its international expansion. The first international destination: Belgium. Kruijssen: ‘We started with our generic A-domains. With these names, we introduced ourselves in the market. The domains helped us to build trust. As I mentioned, we want to get things right in a new market, bonding with our new target audience. To make that work, one of the things we focused on was collecting reviews. When people are looking at an international shop, which may not be as well-known yet, consumers tend to look at reviews more. Reviews can confirm that the shop they want to buy from does what it says and that it is not a scam.’
A challenge for Fashcom was deciding how to display collected reviews. With multiple shops, it is important to decide which reviews are relevant for which shops. Kruijssen explains: ‘For each product category we have, we have our own shop. That means we want to collect reviews for each domain individually, preferably localised reviews. That is the only way to make sure displayed reviews are relevant for the customers of that shop. With Trustpilot we can manage to do this, by having an admin-view in which we can select reviews to display on specific domains in one system.’
Kruijssen again emphasizes the importance of reviews for his company once more, as he elaborates on the beneficial aspects of a review tool. ‘It is not only about providing a real insight into your service for your potential customers. Reviews provide insights that help us learn, improve and expand the company. Our service team reports to the management on a monthly basis. Based on their input, we have the opportunity to check and tweak our strategy so we can perform even better, whether that concerns the customer service, logistics or development of the company. One of the changes we made this year is that we started displaying Trustpilot reviews on our own domains instead of only via the Trustpilot website. This way, it’s even easier for customers to get an idea of what services we offer. It really is about getting the basics right to gain trust.’
Learning about the experience customers have is a great way of improving your business. ‘Trust is a lot more than just a marketing tool. Everybody in your company should be contributing to building trust. That’s the only way you can realise a top-notch experience. Add it to your company DNA and corporate culture. If there is no internal trust, it will be a lot harder to build a bond based on trust with your customers,’ Kruijssen says. ‘Doing that helps you create the best processes you can offer. On top of that, in case a customer has a negative experience, it offers you the possibility to change that into a positive experience after all. In our case, we sometimes send an ‘apology’ to a consumer if something on our side went wrong. It is about letting the customer know we feel bad something went wrong and want to improve for them in the future,’ he concludes.
Reviews can help you building trust abroad. This guide by Trustpilot and Salesupply outlines 15 tactics on how to do this.
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