This post comes to you from digital marketing expert Alon Eisenberg, the Content Manager at TrustedShops UK. He's here to explain the importance of trustworthiness in a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. Read on for the four elements he recommends paying attention to, so you can earn the trust and the business of even more customers.
Humans naturally evaluate the trustworthiness of people and situations all the time. It's an instinctive mechanism we use to keep ourselves safe. And we do it when we're deciding whether to make an online purchase, too. It all comes down to a feeling: Do we feel that this ecommerce website is trustworthy? Do we believe we'll get a good product in exchange for our hard-earned money?
We all know this feeling as consumers. But as an ecommerce business owner trying to convey trustworthiness, the concept might seem abstract. Fortunately, there are several specific, concrete elements that go into inspiring this feeling of trust in prospective customers. Whether shoppers consciously realize it or not, they're on the lookout for four key factors that signal trustworthiness in an online store. Pay special attention to each of these in order to build trust and earn business from more shoppers.
#1. Clean, convenient, and consistent website design📱
You know what they say about the importance of first impressions. And in the digital world, the first impression you make on prospective customers is often the initial look and feel your website. When new shoppers arrive there, they subconsciously take in your ecommerce website's design and its various elements to decide whether they feel comfortable proceeding. Do an audit of your online store's UX design to make sure it has the common elements consumers look for to signal trust:
- A simple design. If your website design looks overcrowded or unprofessional at first glance, shoppers might be turned off. Instead, you want a clean design that's inviting and reassuring instead of intimidating, overwhelming, or concerning.
- Easy navigation. It's one crucial element of good on-site marketing for ecommerce: You should make it as easy as possible for shoppers to browse what you have, or to find something specific they may be looking for. If they're browsing, they'll need categories to explore. If they know exactly what they want, they'll be looking for a search bar right away. Make sure your site has these elements, and that they're easy to find and use.
- A mobile-friendly layout. More and more consumers are shopping from their phones instead of from computers. In fact, mobile sales are already at 39% of total ecommerce sales, and they're on track to overtake sales from desktops before long. If people can't browse and buy from your store on their phones, you might lose their business altogether. Make sure your mobile ecommerce website is easy to navigate, quick to load, and offers all key functionalities.
- Official certifications. Ratings and trust badges from recognizable authorities can help instill trust too. For example, the Trusted Shops trustmark lets shop owners offer a 30-day money-back guarantee to their customers once the site has been audited, and it's recognized as a high-quality certification. Specialty food products could also use certifications (like vegan, Fair Trade, etc.) that are trusted by consumers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot are two other well-known certifications or trust badges for websites that you can earn and display.
- Comprehensive product pages. If shoppers can't get a clear picture of the item they're interested in, they're not going to buy. That's why your ecommerce web design needs to include detailed product pages. They should contain all relevant specs plus clear, professional photos of the product at every angle. The product pages should answer every question a prospective buyer may have about the item. Leaving out details or only showing the product from one angle can come off as suspicious and untrustworthy.
- Consistency. The best website design is a consistent one. If you use different fonts on each page, for example, or have a wildly different brand voice in each section of text, visitors may start to feel distrustful. Consistent branding, voice, and design throughout your website show that you're well-established and can be trusted.
- Company information. Make it easy for prospective customers to learn about your ecommerce brand. Create a strong and easily accessible About page. Have your business's contact information readily available too. If there's no way to get in touch with you or see where you're based, shoppers will be naturally wary.
#2. Reachable, helpful customer service 👩🏻💻
84% of consumers say customer service is a key factor in deciding whether to buy, and only 3% say it's unimportant. So not letting customers contact you for support, having long response times, or otherwise dropping the ball with customer service can turn people off. Providing no or poor support to paying customers shows that you care more about the money than the people spending it.
Excellent customer service, on the other hand, shows shoppers that you value their business and care about their satisfaction. Here's how else great service can benefit your ecommerce business:
- Increase sales. An unanswered question is sometimes the only thing holding a prospect back from making a purchase from your ecommerce store. If you can answer their inquiry about your product, brand, or policies quickly and efficiently, you can win conversions from those previously undecided shoppers.
- Earn repeat business. 95% of consumers in a survey said that customer service is an important factor for brand loyalty. The better service they receive, the more likely they are to come back. This is even true if you make a mistake, like shipping them the wrong product or a product with a defect. As long as you're quick and friendly about making it right, customers typically won't hold these mistakes against you.
- Generate word of mouth. Truly incredible customer service is unfortunately not the norm in ecommerce. So when a customer has a high-quality experience with your customer support team, it's not uncommon for them to spread the word. It's a great ecommerce digital marketing strategy that can earn you more business through referrals.
Of course, offering consistently fabulous, 24/7 service to all customers around the world sounds like a tall order. What's an online shop to do? The answer: Automate your customer support. Put routine inquiries in the capable "hands" of a well-built chatbot. It'll be able to serve the majority of prospective customers instantly and automatically, freeing up time for you or your support team to handle more complex inquiries.
Here's the best news: Setting up a Messenger chatbot to answer FAQs is easy. You can build a basic customer support bot for free in an afternoon—no code or previous experience required. (That's the key function of Chatfuel! 🌟) Sign up for a free account to get started with ecommerce marketing automation and support automation. Then, watch this quick video tutorial to learn how to customize our ready-made FAQ bot template for your business. 👇
#3. Authentic social proof ⭐
Another way humans typically evaluate trust is by learning about the past experiences of others. That's why social proof is one of the most important factors in building trustworthiness for your ecommerce store. Influencer campaigns can be one form of social proof, and they are effective when done right. But there's a more common and arguably more important form of social proof that you should focus on first: customer reviews.
Displaying customer reviews directly on your ecommerce website is simply a must these days. There are two types of reviews you should focus on:
- Shop reviews are reviews about your store in general, which can boost the credibility of your brand overall. They can be the difference between buying and moving on for a shopper who hasn't heard of you before. Good reviews can also boost click-through rates for your Google ads—because if you work with a Google-certified partner, you can display your star rating on your ads. Seeing multiple stars can grab a prospect's attention and make them want to learn more.
- Shop reviews are important, but product reviews are arguably even more powerful. These are the customer ratings for individual items, which are shown on the product pages themselves. Of course they can draw the eye of a shopper, help answer questions they may have, and give them faith in the quality and suitability of the product for their needs. But there's another big reason to display product reviews too: If you don't have them on your site, shoppers will seek them elsewhere. And if they leave your ecommerce site, they might end up buying the product from a competitor instead. Display product reviews on your page to keep visitors on your site.
One concern that holds some ecommerce merchants back from displaying reviews on their site: the negative ones. But a few negative reviews won't have as detrimental an effect as you'd think. In fact, having a variety of reviews actually makes you seem more trustworthy than if you had only five-star ratings. In a study about trust online, 77% of consumers said that diversity of reviews was either important or very important to them. People know that no business could possibly please 100% of customers 100% of the time. That's why a mixture of ratings shows authenticity, and authenticity shows trustworthiness.
#4. High search-engine rankings
There's one simple reason SEO is so important for building your online store's trustworthiness: people trust the top results. If they do a Google search for a certain product and your store is one of the top few results, you've automatically won some trust right there. And if you're not on the first page of best ecommerce sites in your niche, the odds of prospective customers discovering your shop through organic search are slim. Only 7% of respondents in a Google survey say that they typically look past the first page of search results.
SEO is long-term work. It's not a part of your ecommerce marketing strategy you can improve or "fix" instantly overnight. However, the three points we've already covered above can help you improve your search-engine rankings over time. High-quality website design, great customer service, and helpful reviews not only build trust, but they help keep people on your site longer. As a result, your page’s bounce rate decreases, and time spent on your pages increases. These are two factors that most SEO experts agree have a strong influence on Google’s ranking algorithms, so they can help boost your place in the search engine results page over time. Plus, customer reviews are usually packed with relevant keywords, which can help improve your site's ranking too.
Build trust to boost business 🚀
Whether you're a big player in your market or new to the industry, building trust with your site’s visitors is essential to beginning (and maintaining) a relationship with them. Customer trust in your brand is a foundational element of success. (What is ecommerce if not a digital trust exercise between shoppers and sellers?) Focus on the four elements we covered here, and you'll be well on your way to increasing sales and brand loyalty for your ecommerce store.
Build a bot to build trust! 🤖 A Messenger chatbot can help you provide even better customer service to earn trust and get more sales. Sign up for your free Chatfuel account to create your first ecommerce chatbot—no code or previous experience required. Then, once you're ready for unlimited users, priority support, and other perks, upgrade to Pro.