Careers at Trustpilot
Trustpilot’s mission is to make shopping experiences more transparent.
In 2007 Peter Mühlmann was a student in the School of Business and Social Sciences at Aarhus University in Denmark. Around that time his parents began shopping online, and he sought to create a website to make it easier for them to compare offerings. He created Trustpilot, an online community that enables customers to post reviews of products and services they have used. The site generates a “TrustScore“ for the company. Companies can use it to promote their business.
Mühlmann eventually left school to work on Trustpilot full-time. Things got off to a positive start as he was able to raise $3 million in venture funding between 2008 and 2010. Over the next few years he obtained even more investments. They included $4.5 million in 2011 from Seed Capital Denmark and Northzone and $13 million in 2012 in a round led by Index Ventures. The latter contribution facilitated international growth, and in 2013 Trustpilot set up operations in London and New York.
The company experienced more success as time went by. In 2013 it was named “Danish Startup of the Year“ at the European Startup Awards hosted by Next Web. In 2014 it raised $25 million in a round led by Draper Espirit. In 2015, it formed a licensing agreement with Google in which reviews on Trustpilot’s site would be included in Google’s new product ratings service for the UK, Germany, and France. Trustpilot is now the largest consumer review platform in Europe.
Logo © by HumbleTrustie (Wikimedia Commons) under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Business model of Trustpilot
Trustpilot has a segmented market business model, with customer segments having slightly different needs. Its customer groups are as follows:
- Consumers: Individuals who want to post reviews about businesses for others to see.
- Businesses: Organizations that want to obtain and monitor reviews about themselves from customers.
Trustpilot offers five primary value propositions: accessibility, customization, performance, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by enabling anyone to post a review of a business on its site for free (though they must have a Facebook account or e-mail address). It also allows businesses to set up a profile for free to encourage customers to post reviews for them and to view review analytics.
The company offers customization by providing five different versions of its website for specific regions: Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It also offers e-mail templates that businesses can personalize to create messages inviting customers to post reviews.
The company has demonstrated strong performance by helping companies improve and promote their business. Positive outcomes for various clients include the following:
- Search engines Bing and Google used Trustpilot reviews to add seller and product ratings to their online ads, increasing click-through rates by an average of 17%
- Mazuma Mobile used Trustpilot reviews to address customer concerns and now has 100,000+ positive comments
- High Position, a digital agency, set up a split test using Trustpilot’s TrustBox widgets on its website, and saw product sales increase by 58%
- com set up a split test and discovered that including Trustpilot reviews on its website increased their conversion rate by 15.42% and their average basket size by 22%
The company reduces risk by creating transparency and checking for accuracy. All customer reviews are open to the general public and uncensored. Before a review is published, Trustpilot requires the customer to submit proof of purchase of the product/service. If a response is not received within a given period, the review is discarded. This helps to ensure the authenticity of site feedback.
The company has established a powerful brand because of its success. It touts itself as Europe’s biggest and fastest-growing consumer review website. It hosts more than 20 million reviews in 39+ languages of more than 130,000 companies in over 119 countries. Over 700,000 reviews are submitted monthly. Trustpilot’s prominent business clients include Dior, HomeAway, Travelex, Wordpress, JustFab, ForRent.com, Trugreen, Telenor, Boohoo, Hostelworld, Expert, and Bestseller.
Trustpilot’s main channel is its website, through which it acquires most customers. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages.
Trustpilot’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the website while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website includes a number of self-help resources, including articles, infographics, presentations, case studies, guides, and answers to frequently asked questions. That said, there is also a personal assistance component in the form of e-mail support.
Trustpilot’s business model entails maintaining a robust platform for consumers and businesses. The platform includes its website and mobile apps.
Trustpilot invites service firms such as marketing agencies to join it in partnership to better promote their clients’ businesses. The firms can refer their clients to Trustpilot to obtain customer reviews. Afterwards, the firms receive a number of benefits, including revenue share on converted referrals, co-marketing opportunities, and the opportunity to manage the client’s Trustpilot account. Specific partners include 3Q Digital, Ascensor, Bespoke, and Wpromote.
Trustpilot’s main resource is its staff of editors, who monitor reviews for authenticity and establish TrustScores for businesses based on the feedback. The company also relies on technology staff to update its website, marketing staff for promotion, and customer service staff for support. Lastly, as a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $116.9 million from six investors as of May 2015.
Trustpilot has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is likely sales/marketing, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of administration and customer support/operations.
Trustpilot has one revenue stream: the subscription fees it charges businesses for access to enhanced services. Specific plans are as follows:
Lite – An entry-level option whose main goal is increasing customer satisfaction. Companies can collect and display reviews on-site and improve advertising ROI. Pricing starts at $599 monthly.
Pro – An option for growing companies whose main goal is to drive traffic and increase conversions. Companies have all of the benefits of the Lite plan, and can also improve website conversion rates, make data-driven business decisions, and expand their social media presence. Trustpilot must be contacted directly for a price quote.
Enterprise - An option for firms needing enhanced data protection and enterprise-level account management. Companies have all the benefits of the Pro plan and can also receive complete customization, comprehensive account management, and integration with in-house business tools. Trustpilot must be contacted directly for a price quote.
info: Peter worked to complete a degree at the School of Business and Social Sciences in Aarhus University, but eventually left so he could devote himself full-time to Trustpilot. He oversees the firm’s strategic direction.
info: Jesper earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Economics at Copenhagen Business School. He previously served as Co-Founder and Partner of StartupVP, Chief Operating Officer of Instadia A/S, and VP of Global SMB, Business Development at SAP.
info: Jan previously served as CTO of SoftwarePeople at AdPeople Worldwide, CTO of Instadia at Omniture, Regional Director of Iocore Benelux & France (now Digia Oyj), and Director of Iocore Denmark. He leads Trustpilot’s technology operations.
info: Hanno earned a Diploma of Economics at the University of Bonn and a Master’s degree in Finance at Princeton University. He previously served as SVP, Corporate Finance and M&A of Bankrate and as a Principal at Apax Partners.
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