Editor’s note: This post was written by Michael Georgiou, a business professional and entrepreneurial guru with a proven success in creative strategy, online branding, project management, and communication projects in both the public and private sectors. He drives Imaginovation’s rapid business growth in marketing and sales. A large portion of Michael’s experience is working with reputable clients in delivering a wide range of solutions for web design and application development projects, as well as managing the user interface and user experiences on a high level marketing perspective.
“In a noisy world, filled with choices, you can’t blame your prospects for ignoring you.” – Seth Godin.
Your online store will face stiff competition from other web-based stores that are selling the same or similar products. This means if your target customers are not convinced about the quality of your products/services or the credibility of your website, they will choose to buy from your competitor’s site.
You can’t afford to let this happen.
This means it is crucial that your online presence stands out from your competitors if you want to increase eCommerce sales.
One of the ways to achieve this is by ranking high on search engines. However, simply designing an SEO-optimized site will do no good for your eCommerce store if your site does not appear trustworthy to your visitors.
An SEO-optimized site will increase your site visitors but its conversion ratio will be low if it appears unprofessional, unsafe and untrustworthy. On the other hand, a credible-looking website can result in huge profits for your business.
Here are 6 characteristics to guide you to create a credible online reatail store that will ensure it looks and feels trustworthy to visitors:
Provide Social Proof
Today’s smart, tech-savvy and well-informed shoppers do not blindly trust advertisements. Rather, when a shopper is looking to buy a product (be it an expensive smartphone, a novel or something else), the first thing he will do is check online reviews and ratings of that product.
The same has been proved by a Nielsen study. It shows that online shoppers are losing trust in most forms of advertising. The study also showed that 92% of consumers trust information from people they know.
In order to create trust among visitors, an eCommerce store should leverage social proof by using product reviews and ratings feature on individual product pages. Potential customers feel more confident about their purchase once they read reviews and ratings from other satisfied customers.
If you are an eCommerce business providing specific services to customers, one way to build trust with your potential clients is by displaying client testimonials somewhere on your site to show how real customers have enjoyed your services. If possible, ensure you provide complete information like name, social profile details and email address of the customers whose testimonials you are displaying on your site.
Another way of providing social proof is to leverage social media channels and integrating buttons for those social sites on your eCommerce website.
Emphasize the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ Page
Shoppers don’t trust websites or apps. They trust people. So humanize your brand by displaying the faces and names of people who are behind the company on your website. This will build trust among potential customers and give them the confidence that they are dealing with a real business and not a scammer.
To ensure a potential buyer feels comfortable shopping from your eCommerce store, it is important that all your contact information like phone number, physical address and email address on “Contact Us” page is easily visible and accessible.
E-consultancy found that providing clear contact information is one of the most important determinants of whether or not new visitors trust your brand when they first visit your site.
Providing all relevant details about your store will help customers understand who you are, where you are and what credentials, as a business, you hold.
FramesDirect.com gets it right by showcasing the details about the founders and the story behind the start of the company in its ‘About Us’ section.
Prominently Display Security Seals and Payment Badges
This is one of the best ways to gain visitor trust. Security seals give customers confidence that their private financial information will be safe on your site. If your site appears unreliable or unsafe, you are not likely to see many visitors.
Potential customers today check for the additional ‘s’ in their browser address bars; ensuring it is ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ before entering their credit card number. This tells them that the website is secure and they can enter their payment details.
The best way of securing your website is to use secure sockets layer (SSL), a standard security protocol that encrypts data between a web server and a browser. For an eCommerce store, it is mandatory to implement an SSL certificate. This not only assures potential customers about the security of your website, but also ensures any data share by visitors onsite will not pass into unauthorized hands.
Prominently displaying 3rd party security seals and payment badges throughout the shopping cart pages will give visitors a feeling of security, which is highly crucial to boost conversions.
Communicate All Policies Clearly
One of the ways of ensuring that your company appears trustworthy to customers is clearly listing all your policies on your website. It is highly unlikely that visitors will go through all your policies, but even then, providing all policy details will lend an air of credibility to your store.
Communicating all terms and policies with customers is vital for any eCommerce store today. Use plain English rather than legal jargons when outlining your policy.
Deliver Great Customer Service
Some eCommerce owners think having a secure payment system is all that their online store must do to reassure customers. But delivering great customer service also contributes to the degree of trust that customers will have and ultimately determine whether they purchase products/service from your site or not.
The ultimate way of providing great customer service and winning their trust is to give them an opportunity to chat with you. By including live chat support on your website, you can up the ante on the personal assistance your website is offering its customers; it will help them get answers to any problems or questions they are facing related to the product, shipping or brand.
Apple, for instance, provides a powerful way to tell visitors how they care about them by adding a feature called ‘Talk to a Specialist’ on their pre-checkout page.
Always Provide Quality Content for Your Products
Do you find it difficult to convince people about the quality of your products? Point them to well-designed product pages to create instant credibility.
Since online shoppers aren’t able to touch, feel or examine the quality of products, providing detailed product description on individual product pages will build trust in visitors. Apart from product descriptions, use multiple high-quality product images and high-resolution product videos.
For instance, Crate & Barrel does an excellent job of providing complete details about its products to shoppers.
A report from About.com shows that consumers find companies that use content marketing more trustworthy than their competition. Creating a blog and providing relevant information about your products and industry will help build credibility in the minds of your potential customers. This will also improve your authority as an online merchant.
In the world of online retail, nothing separates the successes from failures more than the reputation of the store. To convert visitors into loyal customers, eCommerce outlets need to get this particular aspect of their store absolutely right.