One of the biggest barriers as an online store owner is building trust with your customers and if you are getting traffic to your site but struggling to convert them into paying customers, then trust may be an issue.
But fortunately, there are many different things you can do to start building that trust and make your online store a more credible option in the eyes of customers, which can lead to:
- More sales
- Higher conversion rates
- More repeat customers
The things that we are going to cover in this guide are a combination of onsite and offsite, which combined can really help you build trust and credibility in the eyes of your customer, so let’s get started!
- 1. Make Sure Your Site is Secure
- 2. Provide a Great User Experience
- 3. Create A Great Product Page
- 4. Prominently Display Customer Reviews
- 5. Offer A Selection of Payment Options
- 6. Make It Easy To Contact You
- 7. Provide Excellent Customer Service
- 8. Have a Clear Returns Policy
- 9. Add A Personal Touch to Your Website
- 10. Build Trust Through Content
- 11. Display Any Professional Memberships
- 12. Be Active on Social Media
- 13. Get People Talking About Your Business Online
- 14. Ask For Feedback
1. Make Sure Your Site is Secure
We have put this one first on the list because it is really important because if you get a visitor to your site and they get confronted by:
- Notification in the address bar saying ‘site not secure’ in bright red writing
- A full-page warning saying that the connection isn’t secure
It instantly damages your credibility as a trustworthy site and they will more than likely click back and go somewhere else, so what are some of the things you can do to stop this from happening?
- Make sure your site has an active SSL certificate
- Make sure all of your pages are running on the https protocol
- Display any additional security badges that you have available for your site (as long as they are applicable
With most hosted ecommerce platforms, the SSL certificate will automatically be installed and be running on the https protocol as standard but if you are running a self-hosted platform such as WooCommerce or Opencart, you need to make sure that the SSL certificate is installed and that your pages are all running on the https protocol.
2. Provide a Great User Experience
If you are getting traffic to your site, then you want to provide them with a great user experience but what makes a great user experience on your website?
- It loads quickly
- It works well on all devices
- It has a modern design
- It is easy to navigate
- It is easy to find information on your site
With the evolution of websites, customers now expect sites to be quick and easy to use and if your site isn’t, then it will frustrate them, which results in them clicking off and going to your competition’s site.
So make sure you go through your site, check on how easy it is to use and if you think everything is ok get friends and family to use your site and give you honest feedback on what they found difficult on your site and if multiple people highlight the same issue, then fix it.
In terms of performance, there are plenty of tools out there such as Uptrends Speed Tool and Google PageSpeed Insights, which will show you how well your site performs but make sure to check multiple pages, such as your homepage, product & category pages, blog posts and informational pages to see how well they perform and also check for both desktop and mobile performance.
3. Create A Great Product Page
You should be doing this anyway but having a great product page can help build trust with your customers but what do we mean by a great product page?
Well, there are a few things that come into this:
- A clear product title – so that they know exactly what to expect when they land on your page
- High-quality product images – images help to sell products and having original, high-quality images can also help build trust as it shows them what they are buying and you can convey more information than the stock manufacturer images
- Add videos – including a video of the product being showcased or used can help give customers a better understanding what the product will look like in real life, which can sometimes be difficult to communicate through images alone
- A well-written product description – creating a well-written product description can not only provide all the information that the customer needs about the product but also has SEO benefits
- Clear pricing – display the price of the product, any taxes if applicable and information about postage can also be helpful as they don’t have to actively go looking for it
- Add an FAQ – on most platforms you can add an FAQ section to your product page and you can use this to answer any questions that appeared when you were doing your keyword research or common questions that you have had from your customers
A great product page should answer all of the customer’s questions regarding the product, which builds trust as you are helping them, which in turn can lead to more sales. It can also cut down on returns as your customers are better informed before they make a purchase.
4. Prominently Display Customer Reviews
One of the best ways to build customer confidence is to show prospective customers reviews left by your existing customers, the reason why this works so well is because of social proof as people feel more confident in buying and product and dealing with a business that they haven’t before if they know that others have previously.
And there are a couple of different types of reviews that you can get customers to leave:
- Business Reviews – these are reviews that customers leave about your business as a whole and are usually done on third-party sites such as Google, Facebook or review sites like TrustPilot
- Product Reviews – these are reviews left directly on your website and are specific to your products, these can not only help in building trust but also can also help your sites SEO
This is a common tactic used on many ecommerce sites because it works as it builds trust and makes your store look more credible.
But don’t use fake reviews even though it can be tempting as you are lying to your customers, which isn’t very trustworthy.
5. Offer A Selection of Payment Options
One of the biggest risk factors that people face when buying from a new site is fraud as they don’t want to be conned or scammed out of their money and one of the ways you can alleviate this is by offering payments options that people know and trust, this can include:
- Credit Cards
- Google Pay or Apple Pay
As these are what they usually use to make a purchase and they know that should they run into any problems they have come back via the method they used to pay, this is why PayPal is so popular amongst customers.
Many ecommerce platforms will allow you to display the icons of the payment options that you accept in the footer of your site and by doing this, you are informing your customers about this before they reach the checkout.
6. Make It Easy To Contact You
When people are dealing with a website that they have never bought from before, displaying a good selection of professional contact options can help to build their trust and just using a contact form won’t cut it, so what are some things contact options to consider?
- Domain-linked email address – don’t use a Gmail or similar as it looks unprofessional and makes customers question the legitimacy of your site, so always use a domain-linked email address
- Use a landline telephone number – once again, this makes it look more professional than a cell phone number but don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a landline, just use a VoIP service to turn your cell phone into one
- Live chat – one of the most popular ways in which customers contact online stores (just make sure you list the times your live chat is available) as they can get their query resolved quickly
- Physical address – if you have a physical storefront, then make sure you list this on your website and adding a map can make this even better
- Socials – some people prefer to reach out via Social Media, so leave links to all of your accounts on your site
By offering a wide variety of contact options, it instills confidence in your customers that should they need to, they can contact you and they can do it via their preferred means.
7. Provide Excellent Customer Service
It doesn’t matter whether customers are contacting you about sales, returns or general inquiries, you want to provide them with an excellent experience as the better they are treated, the more trustworthy your business is in their eyes and when it comes to providing excellent customer service, there are a few things you can do:
- List your business operating hours – a simple one but by including these on your contact page, in your footer etc customers will know when they can expect a reply to any inquiries
- Promptly respond to all inquiries – a crucial part of good customer service is getting back to customers asap and providing them with a helpful response
- Deal with returns asap – if a customer returns an item, check it and process the refund as soon as you can as people don’t like waiting to get their money back
- Ship orders quickly – getting orders shipped out asap also falls under good customer service as people want their new product now!
A great way to start offering excellent customer service is to treat your customers exactly how you would want to be treated and like most of us, you have probably had a bad experience with a company in the past, which dented your confidence with them and you are less likely to deal with them again.
A bonus of providing excellent customer service is that your customers are likely going to be more responsive to review requests as many people are happy to share their good experiences with a business.
8. Have a Clear Returns Policy
One thing that many people will do research into before placing an order on a new website is to look at what their return policy is like, should there be a reason that they don’t like the product and want to send it back.
And to help build trust with these new customers, you want to have a clear and easy-to-find returns policy on your site. Returns policies will vary from business to business but things you want to include are:
- How can the customer initiate a return
- How long the customer has to return an order
- What the process is for example, email us, send the item back, we check it and then issue your refund asap
- Who pays for return postage
- How long it may take refunds to appear in their account (check this with your payment gateway)
- If there are any reasons why they can’t return an order, such as it was a bespoke item
As with other pages on your site, you want your returns policy to include all the information that the customer could need in an easy-to-read format.
Some businesses bury this in their general terms and conditions and this can appear like you are trying to hide information or purposely making it difficult to find, which definitely doesn’t build trust!
9. Add A Personal Touch to Your Website
One common mistake that small ecommerce businesses make is that they try to be too ‘corporate’ and give an impression that they are a bigger company than they actually are by not adding any kind of personality to their site
And while this may work for some niches, for others it can have the opposite effect as it can give the impression that you are just another faceless store, which is why you want to add some personality to your store as you aren’t like every other store but how can you do this?
It does depend on your business setup, if it is currently just you, then you want to create an about page, which includes information on:
- How the business came into being
- Why you decided to start the business
- What the goals of your business are
- A bit of background on you, this can be great for showing your knowledge and expertise around a subject
- A picture of yourself
You don’t have to give your full life story but providing a good amount of information can help create a connection with potential customers.
If you have a small team, then you can expand on your about page with a meet the team page, especially if some of these are people that they may be dealing with when contacting your business and possibly add a little blurb about each team member.
The reason why this can help build trust is that with smaller businesses, people tend to buy from people and if they can see that you are truly passionate about your business and your goals and values match theirs, then they may be more inclined to become a paying customer.
10. Build Trust Through Content
Content is awesome and can be a great tool for building trust with potential customers as you can make your website an information hub alongside your online store, to get the most out of your content, you want to consider:
- Creating a blog
- Creating a YouTube channel and embed the videos in your blog (like we do on EcommerceGold)
And your content should be helpful, so create:
- Tool/equipment lists
This way you are providing value to your customers beyond just being somewhere to buy the product from and as creating this content also shows your knowledge and expertise in the subject and many people will view you as an authority, which brings with it trust.
There are also many other benefits to creating content for your site, including:
- It can improve your site’s SEO, which can result in:
- Better rankings
- More traffic
- A different type of traffic
- Additional revenue streams, such as YouTube Ad revenue, affiliate marketing etc
This is why we recommend that you include content creation as part of your wider marketing strategy as it can make a really positive impact on your business.
11. Display Any Professional Memberships
Are you or your business part of any professional memberships that are related to your niche? If so, then display these on your site (most membership bodies usually have some sort of logo you can upload to your site) and if you have a profile on their site, you can also link to this as this show customers that you:
- Are legit, as most organizations have requirements to be a member
- Have knowledge and expertise in your niche
This may be more important for some niches than others but anything that can help build trust with customers and give you an edge over the competition is worth trying.
12. Be Active on Social Media
Whether you like it or not, social media is an important part of running an online store and if you have links to your social media accounts on your site, then you need to be:
- Regularly posting on all of your accounts
- Engaging with your audience by responding to comments etc
- Doing more than just promoting your products
Not only can this lead to you growing your audience on your social media accounts but it shows potential customers that you are active within your business because if you have ever clicked onto a business’s social media account and the last post was 3 years ago, it makes you wonder whether they are still trading, which isn’t great for building customer trust.
This can also lead to a form of social proof, especially if some of your existing customers are following you on social media and posting helpful comments on your posts as it shows potential customers that other people have bought from you in the past and they are happy with the product and service that they received.
13. Get People Talking About Your Business Online
We’ve already mentioned it a couple of times in this post but social proof is a big component of building trust as people feel more comfortable making a purchase from a business if they can see that other people have bought from them previously.
But in the early days of your online store, this can be challenging to do, which is why part of your marketing strategy should be getting people talking about your business and your product and you can do things like:
This can involve reaching out to Influencer, YouTubers and Bloggers to come to an arrangement where they mention your products in their content and even though they are being paid to do this (and should be disclosing it), it still is a form of endorsement and as their audience trusts them, it gives your business more credibility.
This can lead to direct sales from their audience and some potential reviews but more importantly, you have a wider online presence because if people start searching for your product, they may see blog posts or videos coming up in the search results, which shows you aren’t some random company that no one has ever heard of.
14. Ask For Feedback
Doing things on your own will only get you so far and it can be very easy to miss things or even be completely oblivious to something that is detrimental to your business, so start asking for feedback, this can be from:
- Friends and family, insist they be honest
- Online communities, such as Linkedin, Forums, Reddit or Facebook groups like our Ecommerce Mastermind group as your peers can give you valuable and honest feedback
- Your customers, while you really want glowing reviews, customers will also give you honest feedback about your business
When you are gathering this feedback, take your ego out of the equation as none of us like being told we are doing something wrong but using this as constructive feedback to help you improve your business is something you should be doing and acting upon.
Building trust with potential customers is challenging, especially for new and small stores but it isn’t impossible and if you start implementing an active strategy to start building trust, then you will see more sales and higher conversion rates.
But remember, your reputation is everything when it comes to business and as famed investor Warren Buffett said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
So tie building trust into your marketing strategy, so that all of your efforts are working towards the same goal and it should start paying off.