Setting up your ecommerce store is just the beginning of your work when you launch a new business. Not only do you still have to market your business to bring customers to your site, you have to earn their trust in order to make a sale.
With new scams popping up every day, and with millions of people experiencing identity theft every year, consumers are more and more cautious when deciding who they trust with their personal and financial information.
Becoming a well established and widely trusted business takes lots of time and effort. However, there are several trust-driving strategies that are quite simple to implement even for an up and coming business. Check out these five actionable tips that can help you show visitors that your business and your site are trustworthy.
1. Display your contact information out in the open
When customers visit your site, especially for the first time, they may have some doubts about the legitimacy of your business. They may not know much about your brand, where your business operates, or who operates it. And with online scams becoming more prevalent and hard to identify, visitors are more wary of purchasing from a site they aren’t familiar with.
Placing your contact information front and center is one simple way to show visitors that there’s a legitimate business behind your site. This lets customers know that it will be easy to get in touch with someone in case they have any questions or issues. With this one simple addition to your site, 51% of consumers are more likely to trust you.
There are many different options for how to display your contact information, but one way to make it front and center is to place your business phone number and email address in your site’s header. Musician’s Friend displays their full phone number in their site header above the search bar, ensuring that it can’t be overlooked.
Alternatively, you could display a “Contact Us” link in your header like Crutchfield. When this link is clicked, a sidebar opens showing the business phone number, along with how many agents are currently available to take calls. This shows shoppers that real people are standing by and ready to help. The sidebar also includes options to schedule a call or start a live chat.
Be sure to include contact information in your site’s footer as well. Sites typically have more open real estate in the footer than in the header, allowing more information beyond the phone number and email address. Many sites will also include a physical address if they have one, or the location where the business is based. Include links to your social media channels here as well, since many shoppers increasingly prefer these channels as a primary communication method.
When choosing contact information placements, don’t forget to consider mobile visitors. Mobile commerce is steadily growing, and it’s expected to surpass over 50% of the total ecommerce market share in the United States by 2021. Include your phone number and email somewhere that is easily accessible on a smartphone or tablet. Swanson includes their contact information at the bottom of their mobile site menu.
2. Use both standard and lifestyle product photos
You know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. Product photography gives you a way to communicate what your products have to offer in ways that words simply cannot.
However, product photos are oftentimes unintentionally misleading. If you’re not a professional photographer, it can be difficult to capture a product in a light that shows it’s true colors and size. If your product photos are subpar, customers may end up purchasing something that doesn’t meet their expectations.
One way to combat this issue and show customers they can trust their purchase will meet their expectations is to include both standard and lifestyle photos in your product listings. This can help customers visualize how the product will look when they receive it, and reduces the chance that they will return it.
Target does a great job of executing this on their product category pages. As customers scroll through products, they can see all the products with no background or a neutral background, but they can also hover over many images to see a second photo which oftentimes shows the product modeled in a real life setting.
For example, this pillow is modeled in a living room setting and styled with other accessories, showing the scale of the pillow compared to the size of a couch, and also showing how the colors appear in a naturally lit room.
3. Place a trust badge on every page
As customers move through each stage of the buyer’s journey, their top concerns often shift. For instance, when first arriving at an unfamiliar site, they may be most concerned about the legitimacy of the business, but as they start adding products to the cart, the customer may begin to feel more concerned about order fulfillment. Then once they arrive at the checkout, the security of their credit card information becomes the primary concern.
If you don’t address common concerns like these, customers may lose faith and abandon your site before they make a purchase.
To alleviate trust concerns in high friction areas of your site, include trust badges that show visitors they are protected. TrustedSite offers a suite of 11 trust badges that address the most common concerns among shoppers, including a floating trust badge which is designed to appear on every page so that there’s a signal of trust at all times throughout a shopper’s visit. The TrustedSite trust badges can be displayed after sites earn certifications that show visitors they follow a stringent set of security standards and good business practices.
4. Show off customer reviews in the right places
When visitors see that previous customers love your business, not only are they more likely to trust you and make a purchase, they spend 31% more on average. But without careful placement strategy, reviews could actually harm how your business is perceived.
Use caution when placing reviews on product category pages. If you haven’t yet collected reviews for many of your items, it may appear suspicious to some shoppers. They may question why previous customers haven’t reviewed your products, and wonder whether or not you’ve actually sold them before. If you appear to be a brand new business, or a business with no customers, visitors may think your site is a scam looking to steal their cash.
On the site below, you can see that for each product listed it says “Be the first to write a review.” This indicates that none of the products have been reviewed yet, and could cause suspicion with visitors. If you’d like to display reviews on product category pages, it’s best to wait until you’ve collected several reviews for most, if not all, of your products.
In the meantime, displaying reviews on individual product pages and your homepage is a great way to build trust.
American Eagle has a fantastic reviews program that allows previous customers to share granular details about their clothing, helping new customers to gauge the fit without needing to try things on.
Unfortunately, your review collection efforts will sometimes result in negative feedback. It can be tempting to hide or delete negative reviews, but that’s an untrustworthy practice that can actually backfire. If you only display positive reviews, customers may perceive them as uncredible or might think your site is fraudulent.
Instead of deleting poor reviews, turn them into an opportunity to showcase outstanding customer service by quickly offering a solution to the customer’s reported issue.
5. Start a referral rewards program
In a customer’s mind, nothing can top the opinions of a trusted friend or family member. Encourage your happy customers to spread the word about your business by starting a referral rewards program.
By offering a small discount to both the referring customer and the new customer, everyone wins, including your business. The new customer gains incentive to make a purchase for the first time, the previous customer gains incentive to make another purchase, and you get the benefit of additional business at a low acquisition cost.
Shoes and accessories retailer Rothy’s runs a successful “Give $20, Get $20” program on their site.
You can easily integrate a referral rewards program into your site with services like Referral Candy.
The road to gaining the trust of your site visitors is actually more straightforward than it may seem. By showing there’s a real business behind your site, showing your site is secure, and showing your products in an honest light, customers will feel more confident doing business with you, and you’ll be in a better position to bring in more sales.