Do you have the feeling that it is increasingly difficult to get people to trust your website in order to make a purchase on it? Well, don’t be afraid that you’re the only one. Creating a sense of trust takes an ongoing commitment to integrity and consistency for all online entrepreneurs.
Establishing and maintaining trust in an online context is both critical and difficult. When customers walk through and shop at a department store, they have multiple indicators of how trustworthy the business is. The things that they observe, it might be the professional look of the salespeople, the well-designed storefront and signage, enough products in stock or even other customers making purchases.
Even though online shopping is slightly different than offline shopping, still the same well-designed storefront (the home page), clear and obvious signage (navigation) and size of stock (number of items in stock) should be clearly displayed in order to gain the customers’ trust. However, customers do still have less to go on when determining how comfortable they feel when making a purchase. So it’s up to you to quickly earn their trust and limit any scepticism.
Trust Matters. But Why Exactly?
Before I go into depth and write about the steps a company can take to assure prospective customers that your company is trustworthy, it’s important to know why trust matters. It’s simple: people do businesses with those they like, know and trust. And certainly, the more meaningful a purchase is to a customer, the more consciously he or she seeks for a trustworthy seller. Besides that, if a consumer believes that a brand A produces products of better quality than brand B, anything with the stamp of brand A is more likely to pass the ‘basic trust test’.
If you want your brand or company want to be seen as a trustworthy source, you need to work on that in every single aspect of the consumer purchase cycle. Let’s start with positive customer service interactions (speedy phone connection, no waiting lines, friendly customer service employees with knowledge about your business, online chat, FAQ on your website and open communications on social media), it can act as a proof that your company is honest and decent.
But Seriously… How To Gain Trust Online?
Let’s take a closer look at what you can do to increase the trustworthiness of your online business. The following 8 best practices will help you out.
#1 Organised Web Design
It doesn’t matter how interesting and well-ordered your content is… if your web design dates from 1999, customers will be concerned about the legitimacy of your company. So if your design looks messy and unprofessional, you’re likely to miss out on sales. However, if you make use of good looking graphics and a structured navigation, visitors will stick around to the explore your site further.
First impressions are important in any type of business. However, they are even more important for online shops. That’s why it is essential to create a compelling design with an easy-to-navigate interface. You can hire a professional web designer, but if your small business cannot afford that, WordPress is good to start with. It offers templates that are simple, yet professional. Ask yourself continually: If a prospective customer looks at my site, would he or she trust me enough to transfer money or give credit card information?
#2 Show The People That Power Your Brand
Once customers have a certain level of interest in your brand or company, many will want to know with whom they are likely to do business with. I advice you to create an inviting “About Us” page that includes a brief history about your company and what your mission and vision is.
In order to make it more personal, you can add photos of all your employees with their position and a brief biography. Also, consider the tone you will use; think about the industry you’re in and let your employees write a decent piece of text about themselves. As the subtitle says: show the people that power your brand!
Another good point of creating trust is by showing the individual email addresses, Twitter user names and LinkedIn profile URLs of your employees. It helps in establishing that extra little thing to credibility.
#3 Show The Accomplishments You Are Proud Of (but make it not too obvious)
If you received any awards lately, make sure your audience knows. Either with the help of the press (press releases) or make it visual on your website. Tell your audience why you received a certain award and what you would like to accomplish with the prize.
You can also ask customers to write a review about a certain product or service. Or in the case of doing business with partners, ask them to evaluate critically on the cooperation and quote some of their sentences (only positive ones, of course) ;-).
#4 Build And Maintain Customer Relationships
Coca-Cola and Amazon.com are two excellent examples of businesses that have great customer relationships. These two brands are building emotional relationships with customers, because it’s powerful and it works. So is everything that Coca-Cola does inspired by hapiness; from their custom vending machines to their compelling commercials, all is integrated to bond with customers and to make them happy.
So is the case with Amazon.com, the online store with millions of products, 24/7 availability, product reviews/ratings and complete product descriptions, offers customers a true purchase experience.
When you personally engage with your website visitors, you will build a much stronger bond, which leads to valuable customer relationships and an increasing number of returning customers as a result.
But that’s not the only reason, nowadays more and more information leaks to the wrong persons via the Internet. It’s smart to prove that customers’ private data will remain safe when they buy from your online shop. It should briefly state that you won’t share any private information like customer name, address or credit information etc. Having this statement on your site, will help potential customers into actual paying customers.
BUT: if you say so, make sure that you stick to your word, otherwise all you efforts to gain trust are useless.
#6 Secure Checkout
Once a customer wants to make a purchase and enters the checkout page, there is one last detail that might influence their decision to purchase: a secure transaction process. Make sure that the third-party payment vendor you choose is reliable and that the security technology is up to date. Examples of recognised brands are PayPal, iDeal, Visa, Mastercard and American Express, that customers are comfortable with. It can also be helpful if you add an icon and brief explanation at the checkout page saying that all transactions are secure. Oh, and don’t forget to use SSL encryption to prevent unauthorised parties from having access to financial information.
#7 Keep Your Content Up To Date
If you regurarly publish news articles or add new products and update your website, it will show your audience that your site is well-managed and cared for. It might even be seen as an indication of how prospective customers will be treated by your company. The content your publish should be authoritative, trustworthy and ensure that it is written by an expert in your field.
Good content does not only increase your conversion rates, but it will also help you to rank higher in Google’s search engine ranking…
#8 Google Ranks Your Site. Act Upon That!
Google uses a system that evaluates the quality, authority and trustworthiness of websites that appear in its search results. If you want to rank high in search results (ehh yes, you want that for sure…), your website needs to align with the quality requirements… Find them in the infographic below:I hope the tactics above will help you improve your online trust. Work on your company’s credibility and let it be a success!
What are your tactics to gain online trust? Tell me about it in the comments below!