Deepak Agarwal: Earning Consumer Trust Before the Age of Social Media

·3 min read

ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / August 14, 2020 / The popularity of online shopping has skyrocketed over the past five years and has accelerated even more so in recent months following the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. According to Statista, in 2019 eCommerce sales accounted for 14.1% of retail purchases worldwide, and by 2023, the number is expected to climb to 22%.

Massive strides have been made to mitigate barriers of entry and success for online retailers, allowing more than 20 million online retailers worldwide today. In today's world, having an online presence as a business is almost a requirement to be able to sustain and thrive. So how did we get here, and what did it mean to succeed before eCommerce was the status quo?

Aside from the increase in consumer demand for the convenience of an online, contactless shopping experience, social media has changed the way that online retailers connect with their target customers. Online shoppers have a myriad of resources at their fingertips, helping them make informed consumer decisions via reviews, ratings, and conversations happening on social media platforms.

In fact, according to a HubSpot report, 71% of consumers are more likely to make purchases based on social media referrals, indicating the strength of social media influence on consumer trust. Just a few years ago, however, before social media for business was so commonplace, the process of becoming a trusted online retailer looked very different and required layers of verification.

Deepak Agarwal, former CEO of, a multi-category eCommerce site, achieved success in online retailing by offering premium customer service and shopping experiences at a time when the industry landscape was far more volatile. In 2010, social media platforms as a business utility were far less developed and earning the trust of consumers required more arduous qualifications.

One way that earned trust was through working relationships with credible organizations. After only three years of operation, was inducted into the Google Trusted Stores program- the standard verification for online retailers at the time. Program participation was only awarded to eCommerce sites that demonstrated a track record of on-time shipping and excellent customer service, and the program guaranteed a trustworthy shopping experience via a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection guarantee per shopper.

Agarwal recalls, "We were honored and humbled to be accepted into Google's Trusted Store program. I have always believed that providing exceptional service is key to building a brand. At the time, this badge was a clear and respected indicator of our commitment to go the extra mile for our customers and build raving fans at every touch point possible."

At the time of their acceptance into Google's Trusted Store program, had 1.6 million Facebook fans and an even larger online customer base. To earn the badge, Google reviewed a sample of over 700,000 transactions with and found that 99.9% of orders were issue free and, on average, shipping happened in just two days - an impressive feat for an eCommerce site in 2013.

Though the mode of communicating trust for online retailers evolves to become more heavily dependent on social media, consumer expectations of a consistent, quality online shopping experience remain constant.

"Focusing on building a brand synonymous with high quality items at unbeatable value and exceptional customer service earned its reputation for a quality online shopping experience and drove repeat customers," said Agarwal. "Future online retailers will be wise to adopt this timeless approach to online retail success."

Contact: Andrew Mitchell
Phone: 404-955-7133

SOURCE: Deepak Agarwal

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