5 Tips For Building Online Trust

Although a number of factors come into play when a customer makes a decision to buy online, none other is more important than trust.

Even in 2013, a lot of people are still uncomfortable buying things online. In fact, our recent research found that security was one of the top reasons for cart abandonment. So for someone to buy from you, they must completely trust the website they are buying from. If you can’t build trust with your potential customer, you won’t get the sale.

Working with retailers, I see time and time again that many businesses fail to take the basic steps needed to validate and secure their online presence, resulting in a loss of visitors and sales. Here are five tips to help avoid those common mistakes and develop a website that is secure and trusted.

First impressions count
First impressions are everything on an ecommerce website. A typical visitor will determine whether to stay or leave within the first 15 seconds. They can easily click away and go to a competitor at any time, so you have very little time to gain their trust. It goes without saying that your website needs to look clean and professional. You could have the greatest products known to mankind, but if you have a shoddy looking website that’s littered with misspellings or poor grammar, no one will take you seriously.

Display contact information
Customers will want to know that you’re easy to get in touch with. They want reassurance that if something does go wrong they’ll be someone on the end of the phone to get in contact with. Ensure that you post all of your contact information, as well as hours of operation, clearly on your website. Ideally include a Freephone number and if there’s space, put it on every page.

All ecommerce websites should include the basics: contact form, phone, fax and mailing address. In the UK, this is a legal requirement for anyone wishing to trade online. If you do business locally, you may want to consider including a store finder as well.

Include testimonials
Your visitors won’t trust you but they will trust their peers. Be sure to include several quality testimonials from your customers.

Testimonials highlight to your customers that you have a proven history of quality and give you the chance to demonstrate that you care what your customers think of your products. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback either, it may just increase your sales! Negative reviews can show credibility to your positive reviews and give businesses a chance to highlight your amazing customer service.

People are actually sceptical about 100 per cent positive ratings – it rings alarm bells straight away.

Get the seal of approval
According to research from Trusted Shops, two-thirds of online shoppers say that a ‘trustmark’, for example a seal of approval from a company such as Trusted Shops or an SSL certificate, is important if they are considering purchasing from a company abroad. Including a trusted commerce seal is good business practice and highlights that your site is a safe place to do business.

Too often I see security seals buried in footer menus, hidden at the bottom of the page. Display them clearly and close to the call to action buttons if you want to seal the deal.

Invest in your software
Installing an international address finder on your ecommerce checkout page can help to improve consumer confidence. In fact our research found that 82 per cent consumers see it as positive and almost 10 per cent said it makes them feel the site is trustworthy. Adding this type of technology to your site not only gives the impression of a professional site, but gives your customers the confidence that their goods will be delivered to the right address.

Trust is one of the most formidable barriers for people engaging in online relationships, interactions, and transactions. It’s never an easy thing to build and even harder to earn back once it’s lost.

Guy Mucklow is CEO of Postalcode Anywhere.

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