E-commerce is a cutthroat business. As a smaller player, if you want to compete with the online giants like Amazon you need to take every advantage you can. One of the most vital secrets to e-commerce success is to build a sense of trust in your brand, helping steer visitors away from the more familiar, bigger-name websites. Here are six ways of developing that essential sense of credibility and trustworthiness.
Use Social Proof
Even the most individualistic people tend to find safety in numbers. If you can show how popular your products are with existing customers, this can boost website conversions considerably.
Try adding genuine testimonials in prominent places to help smooth the buying journey, or alternatively, simple case studies showing how your company has benefited a real-world customer.
However, it’s important to use a little finesse. The testimonials and quotes you use must be entirely believable. If they’re too gushingly complimentary, they’ll struggle to impart any trust or credibility, and may even have a detrimental effect.back to menu ↑
Publicize Well-Known Customers
You can add extra power to the testimonial concept by leveraging the standing of a big-name customer to enhance your reputation. You can do this through endorsements, case studies, simple logo displays, or any other consensual way to stress your link.
However, this approach is hugely different from an old-style celebrity endorsement, or even the more modern influencer technique. The big name needs to be a genuine and voluntary user of your products, and to be a particularly respected figure within your customer base. It’s not enough to simply pay for the endorsement of someone with huge reach but no specific connection to your niche.back to menu ↑
Stress Your Physical Location
Even if you’re a pure-play online business, it’s important to publish a physical address through which your company can be contacted. Even better, include a map detailing any stores, offices, or other locations your company has in the real world. You may not offer a bricks and mortar service, but a physical location imparts a stronger sense of trust compared to an anonymous website contact form.back to menu ↑
Offer Great Support
Building trust can be a slow process, but providing great customer support can speed it up considerably. Make it easy for customers to contact you through a toll-free telephone number or online chat, and your credibility will be boosted regardless of whether the facilities are much used.
However, support can go further in generating trust. Make sure your website provides plenty of in-depth, helpful information about your products, using a comprehensive FAQ section or similar. The more information your visitors can see about your offerings, the more confident they’ll feel in making a purchase.back to menu ↑
From secure site certificates to formal industry accreditations, there are many programs you can sign up to which will vouch for your company’s legitimacy before accepting your membership. Displaying the logos of these schemes on your checkout page may only have a small credibility-boosting effect, but it all adds up.back to menu ↑
Comprehensive Payment Options
And even if you run a fully secure server for transactions, offering a range of payment options can add an extra layer of trust. It may cost a little more to offer a third party provider like PayPal alongside your own payment facilities, but it has two major benefits.
If a visitor is already a frequent PayPal user, their trust in the service will help overcome any worries they have of shopping with a new company. However, simply having the option available also adds to your credibility: you must be running a legitimate business if PayPal are happy to work with you.
A lack of trust in your brand is the single biggest hurdle in the way of converting visitors into customers. Each step you can take to increase credibility will have a cumulative effect, and when e-commerce margins are usually on a knife-edge, every little improvement goes directly toward enhancing your bottom line.