Online environments generally lack the human-to-human contact needed to build the trust that inspires immediate purchasing leaps of faith. What’s more, the highly competitive eCommerce environment can spook customers to shop elsewhere at the first sign of mistrust. The seemingly infinite amount of online options can, and usually does, breed a cautious particularity among prospective customers.
On the flip side, businesses who prove themselves trustworthy can more readily influence an online shopper’s purchasing behavior and even see an audience gain.
As one Singapore Management University study on “trust-based consumer decision-making” found, building trust is the single most important factor when buying online. The higher an online shopper’s trust levels and the lower the perceived risk of the site, the greater likelihood of purchase. Build a customer’s trust and you also shape their spending habits, encouraging larger ecommerce sales over and over again.
Looking for long-term solutions to build the kind of trust that drives customer loyalty? Here are 6 trust-building best practices your online store can adopt.
How to build trust with your audience:
- Emotionally connect.
- Provide a live chat option for on-the-spot help.
- Make use of your good (and bad) reviews.
- Display security badges and trust seals.
- Make your inventory more accessible with Product Videos.
- Focus on consistently producing content.
1. Emotionally connect with shoppers.
Remember likability and transparency go a long way in the online shopping experience. The more connected they feel with your brand, the more likely they are to buy. It’s that simple.
Start by using your words. Limit the technicalities in your web copy. Instead, focus on making product descriptions, about page content, and the overall tone of your site as relatable as possible. As a good rule of thumb, try and write how you would talk to an acquaintance. Read it aloud if you need to get a sense of how it flows – or doesn’t. Write from an empathetic place as often as possible and emote where appropriate. Let them know you understand their pain points and illustrate how you and your product are committed to alleviating their challenges and ultimately improving their lives.
Speak to your mission and the types of organizations you support with your work.
Be an open book on your ecommerce website. This means being vulnerable enough to talk about the challenges you faced opening up your store and the core values that shape your business. Speak to your mission and the types of organizations you support with your work. The more you can appeal to and align yourself with a customer’s values, the more you’ll be more to preempt their spending reservations.
When it comes to your policies, product features, and pricing structure, this is where transparency really comes into play. Spell them out clear as a bell. Make sure they’re consistent, too. This goes double for pricing and shipping costs. For example, stay far away from hidden shipping fees (like those levied on international customers) or other forms of last-step-price-raising (like some budget-travel websites use).
Whatever you do, avoid coming across as secretive and anonymous. It’s a guaranteed trust-killer.
2. Provide a live chat option for on the spot help.
Creating thorough FAQs is essential for building customer trust. But, counting on time and attention deprived shoppers to wade through your FAQ page could cost you the sale. Instead, we recommend clarifying concerns about broad categories such as shipping, returns, refunds, exchanges, and the like, but also giving them the option to access answers directly and immediately from a company representative.
One method is to clearly display your contact information. This includes a physical address, phone number, and preferred online communication channels like a social media account. If your company is small enough, you may consider including a personal email address, encouraging customers to reach out for the smallest concern.
Another strategy is to update your online store with Live Chat features. This allows you to provide clarification and assurance responses in real-time. For a first-time buyer who is still not sure if it’s safe to do business with you, this can be invaluable. It jumpstarts the relationship off on the right foot and allows you continually nurture it as they decide.
Live chat has a 73% customer satisfaction rating: higher than any other customer service channel.
In fact, live chat has a 73% customer satisfaction rating: higher than any other customer service channel. And according to Kayako, “79% of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.”
Whichever route you choose, addressing questions during the shopping process and clarifying doubts could steer shoppers closer to a purchasing decision in your favor.
3. Make use of your good (and bad) reviews.
Regardless of how flattering your product descriptions no amount of compelling copy is going to carry as much weight as an actual bonafide customer review. Nine times out of ten customers are more apt to trust the word of people just like them rather than the company that’s ultimately after their money.
Customers are also inclined to do their research before committing to a purchase. 67% of consumers will search out online reviews before buying from a brand, one Moz study found. Display recent reviews on your product page for full visibility, or you could be losing out on the other two-thirds of would-be buyers looking for feedback to inspire confidence and trust in your brand.
If you’re a new store who’s struggling to increase your ecommerce reviews, try:
- Offering store credits and other freebies to customers who write you a review.
- Contracting with third party review providers to help secure and organize your feedback.
- Increasing user engagement with helpful content that establishes you as an industry leader (more in this in a bit).
- Delighting loyal customers with discounts and special rewards that nurture your long-term relationships.
- Leveraging email marketing software to incentivize positive product review shortly after a purchase is made.
- Attracting reviews on your social media channels.
- Enabling ratings and review features directly on your site.
- Providing unmatched customer service.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of only displaying positive reviews. Not only could it evoke suspicion, it’s also important for customers to see how you proactively respond to issues. The more authentic your reviews appear, the more trust you can cultivate, even when they aren’t 100% positive.
4. Display security badges and trust seals.
What would it take to hand over your credit card to a practical stranger? Understandably, reviews from other strangers may not be enough to allay your fears. For that, you need to decrease the perceived risk of shopping in your online store.
Security badges and trust seals have been shown to do just that.
Yankee Group Research, Inc. published a study that showed 71% of consumers find it important for ecommerce sites to display a trust seal or logo. Another study from Visual Website Optimizer suggests doing so could increase your conversion rates, too. Specifically, adding a “100% Money Back Guarantee” badge lead to a 32% increase in sales conversions.
71% of consumers find it important for ecommerce sites to display a trust seal or logo.
Want to ease a customer’s concern about handing over their sensitive payment information? Show that you offer secure payment options from recognizable entities (like Paypal or Square) that have already gained their trust. Couple this with a strong, recognized point-of-sale system and share about your efforts to protect their sensitive data against potential data breaches.
Next, outfitting your store with an SSL and display badges from the Better Business Bureau or industry-specific association memberships that are synonymous with quality can help you reach important sales goals.
5. Make your inventory more accessible with Product Videos.
Video content is far from a passing trend. Successful ecommerce brands exalt it as a pivotal part of their overall marketing strategy.
How important is it?
73% of customers report being more inclined to purchase a product after viewing an explainer video describing its features. And up to 71% of consumers say quality video content leads to positive impressions of the brand who made it, according to Animoto.
Even if you’re able to gain customer trust in your brand you may still need to overcome some doubts about purchasing the products themselves.
Remember that even if you’re able to gain customer trust in your brand you may still need to overcome some doubts about purchasing the products themselves. Such are the perils of shopping behavior online versus purchasing in person. You have to do double work to prove your products are worth buying.
With the help of high-quality imagery, you can show multiple views and angles of the product. Presenting it in action can also help customers see how your product could integrate into their lives. Suddenly that $100 price tag is replaced by imagining all the exciting future trips you’ll make with that new Smart Backpack in tow.
At the very least, a masterful video helps position your brand as legitimate and has the ability to hold the dwindling attention span of social media users.
Want to learn more about creating high-quality ecommerce product videos that convert? Read how to make the most of videos you shoot here.
6. Focus on consistently producing content.
Become a trusted resource and you’re more likely to be categorized as a trusted seller in the minds of your customers. Consistently producing quality content can help position you as the go-to brand for search queries that relate to your products or industry as a whole. By creating content that supplies shoppers with the the answers their searching for online, they’re likely to come back again and again.
Creating content of all variety will help you get picked up by the search engines more easily, so it’s important to diversify.
Consider expanding your marketing efforts to build trust with these types of content creation:
- Industry Specific Content
- User generated Content
- SEO Content
- Product Education Content
- Storytelling Content
- FAQ Content
With the shopping season fast approaching, now’s the time to implement customer trust strategies that can boost your holiday sales. Follow these action-oriented tips and you’ll have customers trust falling into your open arms.
How do you build trust with customers? Let us know in the comments!