Increasingly, online shoppers simply aren’t willing to do business with online stores they don’t fully trust. The problem being that establishing trust in the first place isn’t easy.
Ecommerce means doing business primarily with computer algorithms, which can understandably be disconcerting for some.
Truth is, there’s nothing any online business can do to guarantee 100% safety for of its customers. The very nature of doing business online means there’s always a risk of something going awry at some point in the process.
Instead, therefore, it’s a case of using all the ‘trust signals’ at your disposal to earn and maintain the trust and respect of your customers. Without which, it’s unlikely they’ll take you seriously enough to consider doing business with you.
With this in mind, here’s a brief rundown of the five most important trust indicators every website needs:
1. Contact Information
Right off the bat, nothing matters more than making it as easy as possible for your customers to get in touch with you. Ideally, via multiple channels and at convenient times of day and night throughout the week.
Even if a visitor to your website never takes the time to reach out, the fact that you’ve been so forthcoming with your contact information speaks volumes. You include your business address, e-mail address, telephone number and live chat button on every page, making it clear you’re not attempting to dissuade customers from getting in touch.
2. Social Profiles
Admittedly, social buttons on a webpage alone aren’t enough to instil trust. Instead, you need to ensure that your social buttons send the right message. This means investing as heavily as necessary in your social media strategy, in order to bring in a decent number of followers and generate social signals.
You can expect many of your visitors to head straight to your social pages to check you out, so you need to ensure you’re well represented across all your profiles.
3. Strategically Placed Reviews
Reviews, recommendations and testimonials on a dedicated feedback pages are all well and good. However, they’re not nearly as powerful as selected snippets presented in strategic locations across your pages.
Take short extracts from some of your most impressive reviews to date and embed them in appropriate locations. Keep things relatively subtle, however, as too many five-star snippets on the same page can look forced and/or synthetic.
4. Incorporate Trust Badges
Chances are, any formal steps you take to protect your customers from the usual risks when shopping online will qualify you for a ‘trust badge’. Displaying an SSL Secure Site Seal if you have an SSL certificate for your website is one example, as are the brand names/logos of any software or hardware providers you use to protect your customers.
Browse the home pages of any major online seller to see what kinds of badges they use to instil a sense of trust. From McAfee to PayPal to Visa to your own 100% money-back guarantees, there’s plenty of scope for creating a reassuring first impression.
5. Privacy and Security Policies
Last but not least, you also need to spell out in writing (in clear and concise terms) exactly how you go about safeguarding those who visit your website. Encourage customers to review your privacy and security policies, ensuring the text you publish is easy to understand and contains minimal jargon.
Important information in a summarised form can also be included in FAQs, or any similar informational resources on your website. Try to address as many potential questions or concerns as you can, without the need for the customer to contact you directly.