In July 2017, I created Millinery Market, an online marketplace that connects women who are looking to rent or buy a hat, with talented milliners and race enthusiasts from across Australia and New Zealand. You may remember my previous post where I talked about what led me to create the marketplace.
Here’s the link if you haven’t checked it out before: www.millinerymarket.com.au
Today I’m happy to announce some exciting new features for Millinery Market thanks to a lot of great feedback and suggestions received from our members. These feature updates aim to better support milliners and improve trust within the marketplace.
5 Star Review System Instead of Thumbs Up or Down
User reviews are an important part of Millinery Market as it lets other members know that a person can be trusted.
Up until now, user reviews have consisted of a thumbs up or down, and a freeform text comment. I’ve decided to change the thumbs up or down to a 5 star review system to allow users to be a little more granular with their reviews.
Previously, for small inconveniences such as your returned hat not being packaged well or a slow response time to messages, you likely would have given a thumbs up because a thumbs down seemed too harsh. Now with the star system, you can give 4 stars if you’re generally happy but feel there’s some room for improvement.
Milliner Badges & Filters
One of Millinery Market’s primary goals is to provide a platform for milliners to showcase their work to a wider audience.
To help highlight hat listings by verified milliners, I’ve introduced milliner badges. There’s two types of badges; a milliner badge and top rated milliner badge. Milliners earn the top rated badge once they have a minimum of 5 reviews with an average review rating of 4.5 stars or higher.
Customers can now also filter hat listings by verified milliners if they’d prefer to rely on the services of a professional milliner.
Read the ‘How it Works’ page to see if you’re eligible for the badge.
Reduced Service Fees for Milliners
When you consider the cost of quality materials and the many hours spent making a beautiful hat, you can understand that milliners operate on fairly thin margins.
To help keep milliner’s costs low, I’ve reduced the Millinery Market service fee by 30% for milliners who have a milliner badge. The higher service fees for non-milliner hat listings are used to subsidize the cost of milliner hat listings.
Discontinuing PayPal Payment Gateway
Millinery Market used to use both Stripe and PayPal as the payment gateway. Over the last few months, I’ve decided to discontinue the PayPal gateway as they no longer offer the ‘Premiere Account’ (required to receive credit card payments) and their payment flow isn’t customisable to suit the platform.
Moving forwards, Stripe will be the only payment gateway, and owner’s will receive payment directly into their bank account. You can add your bank account details in the Payment tab on your profile settings page.
Deemly User Trust Profiles
When users first join Millinery Market, they don’t have any past reviews so it can be tricky for them to show others that they’re trustworthy. Some lenders don’t feel comfortable lending their expensive hats to members with an anonymous looking profile who don’t have a review rating.
To overcome this issue, we’ve partnered with Deemly to allow members to create a trust profile. A trust profile lets users display their review ratings from other platforms such as Airbnb or eBay and show they’re a real person by verifying their online and offline identity through their social media accounts and government ID. The trust profile is displayed on your Millinery Market profile page.
To create your own trust profile, just click on the Trust Profile tab on your profile settings page and follow the prompts.
Standardized Terms of Hire/Sale
Until now, lenders and sellers have specified their own terms of hire/sale to cover things like cancellations, minor damage, major damage, late returns, refunds, etc. In the last few months I’ve noticed a lot of new sellers aren’t sure what to write or end up omitting some key terms.
So to simplify things for owners and provide customers with a more consistent experience, I’ve standardized the terms. When you create a new hat listing, you can now choose one of three options; flexible, moderate or strict terms. You can see what each of the terms mean in this knowledge article.
If you have a hat listing on Millinery Market, please edit your listing and choose one of the new standard terms as the legacy terms will be discontinued in the coming weeks.
Upload Photos to Messages
Customers often ask lenders/sellers for additional photos of the hat from different angles or of the hat worn on the head to gauge size. To facilitate this type of request, we’ve now updated the messaging system so you can upload a photo right in the conversation thread.
Complimentary Stylist Advice
Since starting Millinery Market, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from new members who have never worn proper millinery before who need some help with choosing a hat to suit their outfit.
I love helping ladies who are new to racing fashion and believe every woman should be able to experience the magic of wearing beautiful, handcrafted millinery. I also know that it can be quite daunting when you’re first starting out, so to simplify the process Millinery Market now offers complimentary style advice.
So here’s how it works – if you need help choosing a hat on Millinery Market, just send an email to email@example.com with your location and a photo of you wearing your outfit and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours with 3 to 5 potential options. Simple.
I hope you enjoy these new feature updates. Do you have any ideas or feedback on how we can improve Millinery Market? Let me know in the comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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