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10 Actionable tips to building a trustworthy ecommerce store

Before we take a closer look at some actionable tips on how to build trust in your ecommerce store it is important to be clear on why trust is a vital factor in ecommerce.

  • It gives consumers faith to buy products or services even if the company is unknown.
  • It encourages the use of ecommerce technologies, makes the transition process to ecommerce easier and enhances the level of acceptance and adoption of ecommerce.
  • It leads to the improvement of consumer commitment, raises customer satisfaction, establishes the groundwork for loyalty, sustains long-term relationships with customers and helps to establishment a competitive advantage.
  • Future purchases can be motivated and price increases tolerated.
  • It reduces customer concerns, and helps them to tolerate mistakes made by ecommerce businesses.

Unfortunately ecommerce adoption is lagging and the biggest factor affecting its development is the lack of trust among consumers. If you want your customers to buy from you it is important to reduce the levels of perceived risk and make sure your website is as trustworthy as possible. And in so doing you are supporting the proliferation and advancement of ecommerce, by encouraging and improving the ecommerce experience with consumers.

Here are 10 actionable tips to help build a trustworthy ecommerce store:

Have a strong and professional design

While first impressions are important in any type of business, they are even more important for online stores. A clean, modern, professional, compelling and aesthetically pleasing design plays a crucial role in communicating value and encouraging users to trust you.

It is also important that you create a consistent brand experience that provides an integrated route to purchase. Ensure that your website is responsive regardless of device, operating system or screen size and that all your branding and content is cohesive. If consumers see a disconnect in the experience, visual branding and messaging of your brand, they may hesitate to follow through on their purchase.

Establish yourself as an expert

One of the most important ways to build trust with your ecommerce customers is to show knowledge in your field. Instead of using content that is generic and “salesy”, prove your knowledge by creating content that is unique, informative and conveys a sense of professionalism.

Be transparent

If you’re running a business, you have to contend with the assumption that your main goal in life is to part fools from their money. So, to avoid this your website should try to convey an ‘open book’ mentality as much as possible. Feature more than legal disclaimers and uninspired statements on responsibilities. Provide information regarding production, data privacy, pricing, good and bad reviews (bad reviews often do better for a brand than featuring only good reviews) and other topics that give customers even more reasons to view you as credible and trustworthy.

Show that others trust you

What others say about you and your product, service, or business is at least 1000 times more convincing than what you say.

Testimonials are a great way of gaining credibility with your customers. Text and video testimonials, as well as logos from companies that endorse you can go a long way to improving trust.

It is important to note however that most customers would find website reviews authentic and more trustworthy if there were more than a few reviews and these reviews featured both positive and negative comments.

Humanize your website

Isn’t it nice when you visit an online store and you feel like the people behind the business really care about their brand, and even the products they carry?

Apart from direct contact, you can humanize your website through:

  • Your tone of voice. Rather than a distinct tone and jargon you can use a tone that your customers will resonate with.
  • Brand storytelling. Your about us page, website blog, social media can all be used to appeal to users with a mix of visual and textual content.
  • Expressing your values. Sympathy grows when a company expresses a set of values that customers identify with.
  • Behind-the-scenes. Include photos and videos of team members, the store and introduce your brand to the world. Being able to see the faces behind an ecommerce site can generate more trust than merely reading about your company’s story online.
  • Use direct contact channels. Customers like to talk to people directly, knowing that they are not receiving stock answers or are interacting with an automated system.
  • Don’t always be trying to close a sale. Rather than pushing the hard sell all the time, start teaching your customers. Give customers how-to infographics or videos that show them how to make the most of your product or service.

It’s much easier to trust a face behind a brand, rather than a brand itself. Wherever possible, allow customers to see and interact with the people that power your brand.

Make sure your website is up-to-date

Besides having consistent uptime and fast loading speeds, there’s a few other things you can do to ensure that your website appears ‘alive and well’.

Audit the frontend of your website and be sure that all of the information in regards to shipping, contact information, product information and more is all up to date. Take the time to go through product descriptions, as well as old blog posts to ensure that there isn’t any outdated information that may be misleading or broken links that lead to a dead end.

It is also important to show that you are active online. Ease customers minds by showing that you care about engaging with them. Your blog and social pages should continuously be updated with new quality content, and comments should always be responded to.

Security indicators

Now more than ever, online shoppers are hyper aware of their privacy and security. With that in mind, it’s important to prominently display that a visitor on your website is browsing and shopping securely.

There are a few ways to do this:

  • Getting a certified trust seal from an approved internet security company. Although these don’t indicate any technical security, they do represent the certification of your company.
  • Get an SSL certificate. Indicating actual technical security, an SSL certificate serves to show that there is a secure connection between the browser and the web server, and they guard against network eavesdropping.
  • Make your privacy policy clear. As identity theft and the leaking of sensitive information have become all too common it is important to inform your customers that their private data will remain secure when they do business with you.
  • Reliable payment providers. During the most vital step in the purchasing funnel it is important that you Indicate that you make use of risk-free and credible payment providers.

Contact information

By putting your contact information at the forefront and setting up simple contact methods—whether it’s through live chat, email, social media or phone—being responsive is absolutely critical in building trust for your ecommerce business.

It is important to make sure that any backlogged messages have been logged and the customer is further notified that their query has been received and a response can be expected in specified amount of time.

Reduce purchase and ordering complexity

Customers may assume they have a reasonable amount of time to make a return or exchange a product, but if those assumptions contradict your policies, the tension can erode their trust.

Prevent customers from thinking you are only out to make a quick profit and make sure any policies are easy to find on your site. And if any promotions or sales include rules and regulations, make sure those are clearly stated upfront as well.

Building and nurturing trust with your customers is an important step for every ecommerce business owner to take. And even though these tips may not guarantee trust in ecommerce, it can go a long way to encouraging the adoption and advancement of ecommerce.

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Paula Gries


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