Retail has always been built on an unmentioned trust between the customer and the store.
You trust the product you’re buying is of expected quality.
You trust you’ll be able to return the item if it’s not right.
You trust the person you’re shopping from has your best intentions at heart.
The world of online shopping is no different.
Earning the customer’s trust is essential in e-commerce and key to growing your brand.
Let’s take a look at why and cover some key tips that will convince shoppers to put their faith in you.
An untrustworthy landscape
As I’m sure you know, faith in the internet isn’t exactly at an all-time high.
High profile data leaks and the proficiency of scam sites have made even the most internet-savvy user extremely cautious of online shopping.
It’s not just experts who have a checklist of things they look out for every time they visit a new site, the average person knows the red flags that indicate a website that might not be on the level.
A website that doesn’t take trust and customer security seriously, sticks out like a sore thumb to the average shopper and will send a bounce rate up and up.
People are simply too cautious and have too many alternative options available to them to shop with a store they don’t trust.
The mantra “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” has never been more true than with online shopping.
The power of social proof
Few online shopping phenomenons have caught on in the last few years like the concept of social proof.
In a way, this idea has been around forever.
People have always shopped in stores recommended by people they trust.
The concept of brands is built on the idea of flocking towards something lots of people like and put their faith in.
However, in e-commerce social proof is more visible than ever.
It takes the form of star ratings hosted by mainstream review websites, testimonies from other and product reviews from customers who loved or loathed their experience with the item.
This type of social proof is incredibly powerful, and can often be the difference between a conversion or not.
Most customers will check one of these social proof factors before purchasing.
The opinion of their peers, no matter how informed it is, is the most trustworthy one in their minds.
A bad reputation can spread
The internet can be a gossipy place.
If you earn the reputation as an untrustworthy website, that can be incredibly hard to shake.
A couple of bad Google reviews and negative social media comments about poor delivery time will stick in the mind of the average customer.
Of course, sometimes this is impossible to avoid, but if this is far and away the overriding sense of your business people get from reviews and the general look of your website, you will be marked as something not worth the risk of shopping with.
Never underestimate the power of social media and general, everyday recommendations to ruin the reputation of an online store.
Happy customers are great for marketing
In counter to that last point, a great reputation as a store absolutely worth trusting makes for great marketing material.
A customer who trusts you and feels inspired to spread the good word about you is one of the best assets an online store can have.
It’s essentially free marketing and positive press that you can leverage to further grow awareness of your brand through strategic ads.
Sometimes just being honest and trustworthy is the best trait a store can have.
Likewise, positive Google reviews and evidence of a well-developed website with good social proof can help you appear higher in search engine results, further exposing you to new customers that will immediately see your positive feedback.
How to earn customer trust:
Now that we know why we need to make earning customer trust a focus on our website, let’s see how you go about doing that.
It’s imperative you put a focus on social proof.
What kind of social proof works for you will depend on your website and your audience.
It’s not just important you make a point of having positive feedback on your website, but prioritize the placement of it.
Online mortgage broker Breezeful is a great example of this.
The simple use of prominent social proof on its website helps to make a difficult decision on a complicated topic much easier to process.
Pushing this towards the top of the page shows how much faith they put in their customer feedback and featuring faces alongside positive reviews is a special human touch that makes the whole thing extra convincing.
Taking a slightly different route, fitness accessory developers Fitbit has chosen to create an entire page just for reviews and positive press reaction.
This gives customers a dedicated space where they can sit and read about all the independent feedback on the product and service.
The number of reviews helps to make the brand look legitimate and the use of high-profile brands cements their status as a big deal you can’t afford to miss out on.
Tear back the curtain with content
Most e-commerce store owners know that content is key to store growth and attracting new customers.
What they might not know is that content can also make your company appear more trustworthy and genuine to the average visitor.
Viral YouTube sensation Will It Blend is a great example of this.
One of the first series of its kind on the platform, Blendtec’s Will It Blend didn’t just give a great demonstration of the product it was selling in a unique way either.
It introduced its viewers to the CEO of the company, allowing them to build a relationship with him and see that there were friendly faces behind what would typically be quite a boring industry.
On the smaller scale, marketing and advertising agency Rethinkers use subtle icons on their ‘Meet the Team’ page to tell first-time visitors a little more about their team’s personality than they’d usually get from a standard page.
A little quirk like this can show a new customer that effort has been put into this site and it doesn’t exist solely to scam them.
Credibility is an extension of social proof.
In the same way, a customer or client recommendation can make a contemporary consider working with you, certification can be the factor that tips a sale over the edge and gets them to convert.
Featuring a seal of approval from a major brand or marketing yourself as an authorized seller of a product can have a huge impact on how regular customers perceive you.
You’re no longer just another e-commerce store vying for their attention, you’re their first stop of official products and someone that the brands they trust have chosen to put their faith in.
There are lots of ways to earn the modern online customer’s trust.
These are just a few of the most effective measures, but it’s important to analyze and canvas your existing audience for what they want to see.
Keep an eye on your bounce rate and monitor your website for signs that may trigger alarm bells if you were in the customer’s position.
Rodney Laws is an online entrepreneur who has been building online businesses for over a decade. Rodney uses his experience to help fellow entrepreneurs start and run their own companies.
Find out how he can help you by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io or heading over to @EcomPlatformsio.