Building trust in an online store.
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Simple techniques to make your e-commerce site more trustworthy.
Trust is the cornerstone of customer relations in today’s highly competitive online retail space. Consumers will often second-guess clicking the “check out” button when shopping with an online business, especially an unknown/unfamiliar entity. They are distrustful of anything less than the seamless, intuitive online shopping experiences they are accustomed to from the more established e-commerce sites.
Customers encounter more uncertainty purchasing from an online store than a traditional bricks-and-mortar store. Concerns around credit card security and privacy when rendering details online, the inability to see, touch, smell the product before delivery, the fact that the product may not live up to expectation and the wait for shipping.
Cautious customers will only purchase from retailers they trust. They seek reassurance. Establishing trust in an online store is both difficult and critical, however employing simple techniques can help prove legitimacy and trustworthiness to a wary audience.
Professional web design
First impressions are lasting impressions.
It is essential to incorporate best practices to make the site familiar, reliable and clear, putting shoppers at ease and removing skepticism. A professional website will have high quality images, an aesthetically pleasing design, compelling copy and user friendly navigation.
People do business with those they like, know and trust. Creating a comprehensive ‘about us’ page humanises the brand and lets customers see who they are doing business with.
Include information around the company culture and mission statement as well as any industry awards.
Adding a contact page to the website adds legitimacy in a era of fraudulent online business scams. A business email/mailing address, telephone number, Twitter account details, or LinkedIn profile URLs establish credibility.
Customers in the digital era are all too aware of identity theft and the need for their private data to be protected. Providing a Private policy statement on your site stating you will not share private information such as customer name, address, financial records or credit information will allay concerns and reluctance to purchase.
Trust badges and payment provider logos
Prominently displaying trust badges and payment provider logos illustrates to customers that their credit cards, Pay Pal and Stripe accounts are secure. McAfee, Norton and money back guarantee badges add to the perception of security. Moreover, customers will want to see evidence of SSL encryption to prevent unauthorised access to financial information. An icon at checkout stating that all transactions are secure is reassuring, making for a more comfortable purchase.
Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people are influenced by the actions and attitudes of others. Customers are more likely to purchase based on the positive testimonials of other satisfied customers. Social proof can be displayed on your site by sharing user-generated content, adding real statistics, and displaying real product reviews - including photographs of satisfied customers. These can be featured on the home page or a specially dedicated page for testimonials.
Reviews can also be beneficial to your SEO, and affect how authoritative Google perceives your site to be.
Money back guarantee
Online customers are risk averse. A no risk, money-back guarantee can influence a potential purchase.
A regularly updated blog demonstrates attention to the site and by extension, attention to the customer. Content should be interesting, relatable, authoritative and trustworthy to yield conversions. It is also beneficial for increased SEO rankings. If you are perceived as reliable and trustworthy by Google and ranked highly, your audience will be more confident.
An unprofessionally run site can cost customers and prospects. Broken links, irrelevant search results, missing images, general glitches, and slow load time may suggest the absence of a dedicated team or resources behind the site. The site should be audited regularly and issues attended to immediately to mitigate perceived illegitimacy/untrustworthiness.
Product and shipping information
Prospective customers expect transparency with regards to product and shipping. Providing detailed, accurate product information such as exact measurements, weight, ingredients and allergens can remove impediments to the checkout.
Additional shipping/handling costs should be mentioned upfront to avoid carts being abandoned by ‘deceived’ customers! Being clear and honest as to when delivery can be expected makes customers feel safe in their decision to purchase.
Michael LeBoeuf remarked, “A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all”.
Excellent customer service is key to any successful business, but especially so in building trust with online shoppers. Stellar service is emerging as the overriding criterion for brand loyalty, surpassing product and price. One negative experience however and over 50% of customers will cease to do business with the company responsible. Once trust is lost it’s extremely difficult to regain and it’s therefore crucially important to deliver on promises made in content, reviews and policy.
Over 70% of customers say that valuing their time is the principal thing a business can do to provide them with good online customer service. Furthermore, they expect companies to be available to them 24/7. This assuages any reservations they may have preventing them from purchasing, especially if queries are answered expeditiously by a Live Chat option on your website. Consider too having a FAQ’s page on your site where customers can have their questions answered without the need to contact your support team.
Offering parcel tracking and a great return policy will further reassure reticent buyers.
Incorporating proven best practices will make your site feel familiar, reliable, transparent and trustworthy to your online audience.
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