February 24th, 2016 | 5 min
With online shopping becoming more accessible than ever before and predictions suggesting that online sales will account for 20% of all retail sales in 2018, there has never been a better time to invest your efforts into your e-commerce website.
Though the growing online retail world presents many new opportunities, it equally comes with several difficulties; competition, and lots of it. Now, we’re not saying competition is bad, in-fact the opposite, it’s healthy. However, it presents new areas for failure that would have never been an issue in stores.
Now, not only do you have to be an expert in your industry, in visual merchandising and customer service, you also have to be a digital mastermind – or at least, employ someone who is!
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as long as you cover the basics you should be ready to fight away the competition.
Ways to gain Trust on your website
Firstly, you must ensure the look, feel and user experience is right, see last week’s blog on – how to increase my e-commerce conversion rates. Following this, time and effort need to be spent making sure your website, not only is trustworthy, but also looks trustworthy and secure – after all, people are giving you their personal information. Below we have listed the main areas to cover to ensure your website projects that impression of trust to ensure people feel comfortable committing to a purchase with you…
Exceptional Spelling and Grammar
Poor spelling, grammar and badly constructed sentences are a major turn off for any visitor. If your business can’t string a sentence together, how can you be trusted to complete an online transaction? It’s always worth getting a second or third pair of eyes to help you spell check or if absolutely necessary, investing in a professional to do it for you.
If you needed any more persuading in this area, keep in mind that Google isn’t too fond of poor spelling or grammar either. Your search rankings will suffer if your website is weak in this area which only gives your competition an even bigger advantage.
Remaining Active on Social Media
In an online world full of so many choices, customers can afford to be selective. The vast majority will now conduct some form of background research before they commit to purchasing anything online. Ensure you remain active on social media, if your last Facebook post was around three months ago, one could assume your company is no longer in business.
Make sure your tone of voice is consistent across all platforms, if your website has a formal corporate style, stick to this on your social media. All of your communication and branding needs to be consistent across all of your channels to present synergy and unison throughout.
Security Certificates & Seals
Probably the most important of all elements listed is to have a reputable SSL certificate, also known as a security seal. This essentially authenticates the legitimacy of your website to your visitors in relation to security. A green padlock will instantly be displayed in the visitors URL tab when you are submitting important information through a web form (such as registration information or credit card information). By showing a seal, your customers will be assured that your website is safe for shopping. Any website using an SSL Certificate & Seal is ensuring that any information a customer submits to them is encrypted between your browser and their website. This means that nobody can intercept the information as it gets transmitted from customer to website.
It’s best practice to make the seal visible at all times on your site, but if this isn’t feasible just ensure that the certificate is prominent on your home page, shopping cart and during the checkout process.
Below is a survey conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna; they measured the importance of trust seals and asked participants which factors helped them to decide whether or not to trust a website.
(Econsultancy/Toluna, article reference:http://blog.crazyegg.com/2014/08/22/trust-seal-ecommerce)
As you can see the results speak for themselves, nearly 50% of people considered trust marks (security seals) an important factor in deciding whether or not to trust a website.
See here for more information on the best security seals to use to increase your conversion rates.
As previously discussed, in an online world of endless choice, people need more convincing than ever. A good way to do this is to allow them to hear from previous customers. Adding human reference helps to substantiate that you’re the real deal.
There are a multitude of ways that you can do this, whether it’s testimonials, reviews, case studies, displaying a social media feed, or displaying how many products have already been purchased, as long as you make the most impressive information readily available you will boost conversions.
Our personal favourite technique is to integrate a recognised reviews website. Although this comes at an additional cost, it’s proven to be worthwhile. Paying a monthly fee to your reviews website ensures your customer is prompted (usually via email after a purchase is made) to give feedback. This is then collated and displayed not only on the reviews website itself, but you can add a widget that displays it on your own website as well. Seeing a star ranking style review area on a page instantly helps validate you as a legitimate and trusted business.
An important thing to be aware of is that there are only a few select review websites that can pair the domain of the review URL with Google and then display this onto a Google search (see example below).
This provides instant validation to anyone searching for your products that you have a history of happy customers. You can find a very useful list of the review websites that will pair with google in this way here. Any review sites that aren’t on this list will be more useful than none at all, however, this functionality is proven to encourage the initial click onto your site.
Various Payment Options
There’s a variation of different payment options available to consumers on most e-commerce websites, therefore, offering only one would be foolish. Bear in mind though, that too much choice can be overwhelming.
The most popular payment methods out there are Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and PayPal. You may find others that you prefer that you can include but remember the internet is constantly changing, so try your best to keep in touch with what’s popular at the time. The last thing you’d want to do is alienate a customer by not offering their prefered payment method.
This is such a quick win for any business, ensuring your contact details are visible and easily accessible so customers know that you are a real company with real people. Add your contact information to the header and footer of your site, maybe even include it in a sticky navigation so it never disappears.
So that’s it…
The bottom line is, when customers first encounter your e-commerce website, they will do exactly the same thing they do when they walk into an unknown traditional store – look around, size up the place and decide whether or not they trust the merchant enough to buy from them.
If you want them to buy something from you then you must ensure you have all the right components to make your storefront look instantly trustworthy. Simple things like, SSL certificates, social proof through external review websites and providing adequate contact information can all go a long way to building confidence with your customers.