Transparency for a Stellar Customer Experience

image of bullhorn, notepad, speech bubble

As an independent business in the big ocean of ecommerce retailers, providing excellent customer service is not an option – it’s a necessity. We promise we’re not saying that just because we think it’s nice to be nice (although we do). Nearly three out of five Americans (59%) will try a new brand or company if they think they’ll have a better service experience. With countless retail choices only a click away, online shoppers can (and will) do this easily.

There’s also the matter of repeat business to consider. On average, you are seven times more likely to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Providing superior customer service is one of the best ways to ensure that you stand out in customer’s memories the next time they are shopping.

So what exactly makes for a stellar customer experience?

Elements of a Stellar Customer Experience

There are three main components your business should focus on - transparency, communication, and feedback. In this first of a three-part series, we'll focus on transparency.


Transparency refers to being upfront and honest with customers whenever possible. It increases the likelihood of positive feedback, which helps you get new customers. It also builds trust, improving the chances a shopper will return to your business. 

There are lots of ways to show transparency. Let’s start with the listing process:

  • Describe your items precisely as they are. If there is a small tear in the left sleeve of a shirt you’re selling, note that in the item description. Shoppers would much rather know about previous use, damage, or other intricacies of an item before buying an item. Even if the customer decides to keep an item that doesn’t match their expectations, they might not remember the transaction in a favorable light, hurting your chances of positive feedback and repeat business.
  • Make sure your item titles and images are not misleading. These are the first elements that shoppers see in search results, so accuracy here helps increase the chance of conversion once the shopper actually reaches your listing page. This also helps with those shoppers that you might call ‘light readers’ – if a shopper misses the fine print, but your item titles and pictures are accurate, their expectations will hopefully still be in line with your product.
  • Keep your inventory up-to-date. If you need to refund an order right after it is placed, the customer is more likely to take their business elsewhere, rather than take another chance with your business.
  • Consider ways you can use transparency to present your items in a positive light. For instance, let’s say your handling time is longer than average due to the nature of your items. You could say something like, “Exquisite furniture like this takes time to package and ship safely. Please allow at least 2 weeks for shipping. Need it faster? Message us and we’ll see if we can make it happen!”

Transparency also extends into other areas, like the shipping process and your return policy. For example, if your shipping carrier notifies you of a weather delay, being transparent with the customer about the reason for the delay can help realign negative perceptions of your business.

Here’s another example: a customer didn’t read your ‘No Returns’ policy, and realized (too late) that their item wasn’t what they wanted. You might soften the blow with a reasonable explanation of why your business cannot accept returns, and add a suggestion for an alternative product that would better suit the customer’s needs. Sometimes we humans just want to know the reason why something is the way it is before we can accept it, and shoppers are no exception.

In our Holiday Workshop email series, we have been including tips from our Seller Advisory Panel members. If you have any tips about how to create a wonderful customer experience that you'd like to share, please leave them in the comments. We have a wonderful community of sellers and we appreciate all the comments and suggestions you may have!

55 responses to Transparency for a Stellar Customer Experience

  • SpaceAgeAntiques says:
    10/13/20 at 13:24:41

    Good points, totally agree.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 07:58:19

    Thanks Steve!

  • ccmom says:
    10/13/20 at 13:36:37

    Nice blog
    ..See so many listings that say “see pictures for description” To me this does not cut it and I will pass on these listings.

    Besides the pictures, first few words of the description visible in searches are what may stimulate a prospective buyer into actually looking at your listing

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 07:59:06

    Great tips, ccmom! Thanks!

  • Bluelucy says:
    10/13/20 at 15:32:23

    I always state condition. If anything is flawed, I try and put the in the title. That way I have few problems with what I sell.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 07:59:45

    Hi Bluelucy, thanks for your comment. Sounds like you have a good system for listing.

  • Good_Karma_Resale says:
    10/13/20 at 15:40:00

    You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it a great one! Excellent customer service paired with total transparency is what brings customers back and helps all of us sellers. Conversely, a bad experience hurts us all exponentially as buyers are more inclined to share bad experiences by word of mouth than they are positive experiences.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:13:49

    Agreed, great points, Good_Karma_Resale!

  • ooak says:
    10/13/20 at 16:00:32


    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:14:19

    Yes! Thanks for your feedback, ooak!

  • TnT_Deals says:
    10/13/20 at 16:27:56

    Top notch ideas!

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:14:37

    Thank you TnT_Deals!

  • antivirusspecialist says:
    10/13/20 at 16:39:33

    Totally agree with the points.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:15:30

    Thanks for your comment, antivirusspecialist!

  • bingoshop says:
    10/13/20 at 18:16:44

    I agree with you, too. a Very good and helpful post. Thanks

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:15:49

    Thanks, good to hear!

  • Cyber_Seller says:
    10/13/20 at 18:41:04

    I wish I can copy and paste on the description portion when I am listing.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:17:02

    Hi Cyber_Seller, thanks for your comment. If you drop a message to [email protected] they can assist you with that.

  • MarieADawson says:
    10/13/20 at 18:42:29

    Great article and so true . Thank You for sharing.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:17:25

    You’re welcome, MarieADawson!

  • Tradernik says:
    10/13/20 at 19:07:56

    My suggestion would be that you should also think about the experience of the people that are your customers – that is, the sellers. My experience trying to get up and running on this platform was so bad, I gave up. Support here is worse than eBay, which says a lot. Anyone who sells on eBay knows that they’re all about buyers. I get it, but at least support new sellers when they’re trying to get up and running.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:20:15

    Hi Tradernik. Thank you for your feedback on your customer support experience. It looks like we responded to you within 24 hours, but you didn’t receive our reply. You can direct any future questions to [email protected] or you can email me directly at [email protected].

  • moradnader says:
    10/13/20 at 20:42:36

    very good

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:20:48

    Thanks moradnader!

  • Marmotface says:
    10/13/20 at 20:53:01

    I’ve placed my Xbox for sale 2 weeks ago (my first time trying to sell something online) with zero views. I tried to find this exact sale item, plugging every detail I listed (including Fort Collins, the town where I live), and I can’t find my own Xbox anywhere. Therefore, I have to wonder if ANYONE can find it!

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:29:44

    Hi Marmotface. I checked your listing and it is live on Bonanza and also has ads on Google Shopping showing right now. I can suggest some additional details that may help. I would add more images (with white backgrounds), and expand your description to include the specifics of your game system along with the names of the games that are included. Hope this helps!

  • EdwardD713 says:
    10/13/20 at 23:22:35

    I agree with what you are stating.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:30:25

    Good to hear, EdwardD713, thanks!

  • Sfbully says:
    10/13/20 at 23:37:24

    These blogs are obnoxious.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:31:47

    Oh no! So sorry to hear that you do not find the blogs helpful. You can opt out of receiving new blog announcements on your account dashboard under Notifications.

  • world_knitted says:
    10/14/20 at 02:09:26

    Great news! Thank you!

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:32:20

    You’re welcome, world_knitted!

  • ZhaoMaoSheng says:
    10/14/20 at 02:31:37

    aweason! If you want to do a good business, you have to be so hard! Tired? no way! Because online business is more difficult than offline business itself! Now that you board the ship, be a good helmsman!

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:32:47

    Thanks for your comments, ZhaoMaoSheng!

  • bonzuser_dnvcm says:
    10/14/20 at 05:50:28

    Very informative, especially for newcomers. Thank you

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:33:11

    You’re very welcome, bonzuser_dnvcm!

  • naoual_loukili says:
    10/14/20 at 06:19:22

    good tips

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:33:30

    Thanks, naoual_loukili!

  • ChipsAndGames says:
    10/14/20 at 07:05:28


    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/14/20 at 08:33:51


  • Nordstromsauto says:
    10/14/20 at 08:34:13

    Its always fun and informative to read the blogs here on When the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words is used” I cringe because it should be “a GOOD picture is worth a thousand words” because a bad photo doesn’t help your sale. Take the best photo that you can to show both the positive and negative aspects of the item you are selling, and explain in the description about your photo (as to why you took it and what it is showing). That is what will bring back your buyers and prevent returns. As noted, it doesn’t help with the title scanners (light-readers) much, but for the serious buyer, it may make or break your sale.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/15/20 at 07:43:11

    Thank you Brian! I appreciate your extra tips! Great suggestions.

  • DariaHomeDecor says:
    10/14/20 at 08:54:18

    Thank you very useful. I always do this

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/15/20 at 07:43:42

    That’s good to hear, DariaHomeDecor! You’re very welcome.

  • BookbinEtc says:
    10/14/20 at 09:56:40

    Good tips, Shelly.

    It is always easier to appease a customer who doesn’t feel like you’ve pulled a ‘bait and switch’. Much better to be upfront, and lose a sale, than to deal with the after-sale unhappiness because you were less than honest in the description.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/15/20 at 07:44:39

    So true, BookbinEtc! Thanks!

  • tomwayne1 says:
    10/15/20 at 03:52:17

    I try to “under promise and over deliver” – especially on shipping and handling times.

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/15/20 at 07:47:09

    Sounds like a solid plan, tomwayne1!

  • Rebica says:
    10/15/20 at 15:10:32

    Thanks you

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/16/20 at 08:13:52

    You’re welcome, Rebica!

  • GarysBedding says:
    10/16/20 at 01:54:31

    Thanks for the Transparency piece. can’t wait for the Communication and Feedback articles!

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/16/20 at 08:14:13

    Coming right up, thanks so much, GarysBedding!

  • Wiscuz says:
    10/16/20 at 01:59:09

    Good points

    BonanzaShelly says in response:
    10/16/20 at 08:14:29

    Thanks, Wiscuz!

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