How to Build Trust in Your Ecommerce Website
There’s been an unprecedented proliferation of ecommerce websites in recent years, provoked mainly by the Covid pandemic lockdowns which forced people to shop online. Entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the boom, and the fact that ecommerce websites are increasingly easy to set up has exacerbated the trend.
More than 24,000 ecommerce businesses were started in the UK during 2021/22, according to research from Instant Offices, based on data from Companies House.
This may be great for the economy, but it is confusing for consumers who are faced with thousands of brands that they’ve never encountered before. How do they know which ones they can trust?
As far as the eshops themselves are concerned, the challenge is to engender that trust. Why? Well, I like this quote from self-confessed “ecommerce nut” and Shopify expert, Alex O’Byrne, who states that “trust is the first principle of conversion”.
In other words, unless you reassure and engage your customers, you won’t make sales. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling perfume, pet food or language courses – unless a potential customer feels they can trust your website and your customer service they won’t click that “Buy Now” button.
Soothing Sceptical Shoppers
Far from being attractive incentives to buy, things like very low prices and rare products only make consumers sceptical, coupled with the fact that your website is unfamiliar. We’ve all been warned about scams and data security, and your fresh new site may be registering in shoppers’ minds as “dodgy”, so they’ll often abandon their shopping carts before checking out, or even never start adding to their carts in the first place.
It’s obvious, therefore, that in order to make a success of an online retail business you need to deal with the issue of trust. You’re keen to sell your wares, but having to delve into the psychology of consumer behaviour may be more than you bargained for. You proudly launched your ecommerce site, all search engine optimised with a secure payment gateway, and waited for the orders to roll in – but now you discover a big percentage of potential customers are afraid to put their money on the line.
What Can Be Done to Make Consumers Trust Your Website?
I’ve spent some time picking the brains of web designers, developers, SEO experts and digital marketing executives at Dentons Digital – a leading digital agency in south west England who specialise in ecommerce sites – and put together a list of some of the practical measures required to give an ecommerce website credibility and trustworthiness:
First impressions count, so your website needs to be:
- Professionally designed with clear, well-written content, inspiring imagery and simple navigation.
- Product descriptions must be informative and include everything a customer needs to know, including all the delivery, returns and guarantee information.
- Crisp, clear product pictures are essential (remember this is your showcase).
- The site must be fast-loading and responsive to look good on all devices.
The Effect: A good user experience shows site visitors that the site owners have invested everything possible into their website so their product/s are probably worth having. An unscrupulous, fly-by-night vendor isn’t likely to bother spending money on good web design.
Any element on a web page that encourages a customer to trust you and feel secure enough to make a purchase and complete the transaction is technically a trust signal. Trust signals come in many forms, such as:
- Physical trust seals, in the form of third-party logos and badges that certificate and accredit the legitimacy and authenticity of your website, particularly on transactional web pages. See a Selection of Free to Download Trust Seals.
- Third Party Reviews – set up business pages on any relevant third-party rating sites (especially Google My Business) that you can find so you can collect and showcase unbiased reviews from real customers. (Always respond to any reviews you receive).
- Testimonials and case studies, not only in written form but as videos if you can.
Contact details – including a physical address and phone number –
clearly displayed preferably in the header or footer, along with a contact page and an online contact form.
- Social media accounts for your eshop, to show off new products and receive reviews/comments about your service.
- An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is essential to authenticate a website’s identity and enable an encrypted connection. Most savvy consumers are aware that an SSL certificate (indicated by the prefix HTTPS on the website’s URL) are secure – its like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it through the post. WordPress Guide to SSL Certificates.
- A full, well-constructed About Us page with a short description of the company history, its goals, achievements, information about the employees and a mission statement gives the personal touch and engenders trust.
The Effect: Using trust signals wisely without letting them be overwhelming will be a powerful way to help site visitors trust your business and engage with it, improving your conversion rate.
Google Will Trust You Too
Implementing the measures I’ve outlined to make your website and business trustworthy will have the added bonus of improving your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) too.
When it comes to pleasing Google – and therefore getting your site ranked well for searches – it helps if you have implemented the E-A-T concept on your website. E stands for Expertise; A for Authoritativeness; and T for Trustworthiness.
We’ve covered most of the points required for the Trustworthiness aspect, but you can score more points with your users as well as Google by making sure your website fills the other E-A-T criteria too.
Expertise is reflected by content created by a competent, professional writer with a worthy reputation. Authoritativeness depends mainly on your site’s reputation – those incoming links from reviews sites and any mentions on other websites will certainly improve your authoritative score.
E-A-T is not a ranking factor per se, but Google does consider it when evaluating the quality of a website for delivering search results, which means these parameters are worth paying attention to.
As you will have gleaned from all of the above, getting customers to trust your ecommerce store is a complex business involving blatant information and subtle persuasion in equal measure. If its all giving you a headache why not consult a professional digital marketing agency like Dentons Digital to trust-proof your ecommerce operation, while you concentrate on reaping the rewards?