With the way e-commerce expanded over the last decade, customer trust was already one of the biggest challenges plaguing online brands. The sheer amount of competition, information and product reviews available online meant that building customers’ trust was a leading focus for e-commerce brands everywhere.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the COVID crisis. This year alone, there has been a 129% year-on-year increase in online purchases in the US and Canada alone. More demand but infinitely more competition and uncertainty.
As McKinsey puts it, “Given the likelihood of continued uncertainty, companies should focus on efforts to renew and build trust with consumers through excellent shopping experiences and in the way they engage with the community during this difficult time.”
As a newly established online store, now is when it’s even more important that when a potential customer comes across your brand, they immediately trust you and are ready to make a purchase.
Why customers may not trust your online store
- You don’t have enough people talking about your store (yet)
- You’re difficult to get in touch with
- You don’t really have a presence on the internet
- You aren’t straightforward or forthcoming with answers that customers need
- You’re not making a great impression
Don’t get overwhelmed – these are all things that can easily be set up or fixed!
Solutions to help build trust on your new online store
1. You don’t have enough people talking about your store (yet)
Enter: social proof.
Social proof is the idea that most people will follow the actions of either the majority or the influential. The most common types of social proof are:
- User reviews
- User testimonials
- Social media engagement
- Vote of approval from an influencer or authority
Undoubtedly, user reviews & testimonials as well as social media are the easiest first steps to aim for as a new store.
The infographic poster store PopChart spotlights logos of famous clients and a testimonial on their homepage:
How to get people talking about your store:
- Consider personally requesting customers who are satisfied with your product to share a few kind words or a picture, then post it on social media and your website
- Work on your social media – post content that will get your customers’ thumbs stopping. The more shares and comments you get on your posts, the more social proof you’ll garner
- Ask your satisfied customers for referrals to increase your reach and then engage them to try and get more people talking about your store
- Create case studies and post them on your website, with a quote from the customer you’re highlighting
2. You’re not making a great first impression
This mainly comes down to your user experience and three main solutions to address it –
a). Drawing customer attention: Using trust badges not only draws customer attention to your products but establishes trust by doing so. It’s important that as soon as a customer lands on your store, he or she is convinced about your brand and wants to browse through your products. You can use trust badges to provide information (food brands use badges like “certified organic!” or “gluten-free!”), to ensure payment safety (by displaying trusted payment gateways) or badges that show a vote of approval from an authority. Read more about trust badges here.
b). Your store design: Having a ‘brand experience’ on your store is extremely important today and it mainly comes down to the colours you use, the product images you use, your store layout and navigational experience. Think about what you want your customers to feel in the first 3 seconds after they land on your online store – Happy? Wowed? Excited? – and build your brand experience accordingly. If you want customers to feel happy, vibrant primary colours would do the trick, along with an easy-to-navigate website and well-lit product images showing happy people.
Here, the store The Modern Shop uses bright colours to create excitement about their sale while ensuring the rest of their site is still easy to navigate:
c). Your mobile experience: By 2021, mobile is expected to account for 54% of all online purchases.3 Keep in mind though, that even if customers don’t complete their purchase on mobile, they will most definitely first come across your store on mobile, likely from social media or a quick online search. Having a great mobile browsing & shopping experience is no longer a plus point – it’s a must-have for your store.
d). You’re difficult to get in touch with: Being difficult to reach constitutes a bad user experience. Customers today need the information to be within easy reach – if they want to reach you and they don’t find the details they’re looking for, it immediately tells them you don’t want to be reached or establish any kind of relationship with them. This leads to an immediate mistrust of your brand.
Ensure you’ve got different ways to be contacted:
- From your website – an email, a mailing address, a phone number or even a webform with a promise that you’ll get back to them
- On social media – make sure you answer messages as promptly as possible and also link your social media on your website to create a unified brand experience
- On search engines – on Google, for example, you need to list your mailing address and phone number Via the Google My Business Listing
You also need to be extremely reachable after a sale is made – help a customer track a product, provide regular updates on the delivery status and answer any questions they may have.
4. You don’t have a strong enough presence on the internet
You might wonder what ‘strong enough’ really means. The thing is, no one makes a purchase decision off your website alone – they’ll come across you on Google, look for you on Facebook or Instagram…they’ll also want to know what other customers are saying about you on other platforms.
If you’re not present on the platforms where your customers frequent, it sets an alarm off in their head and causes mistrust. That’s why most successful brands you know will always have a multi-platform presence – a website, social media, videos on YouTube, etc. They are also very consistent and regularly about it.
5. You aren’t straightforward or forthcoming with answers that customers need
Don’t forget we’re still living in the information age, and customers are more empowered than ever. In order to do well, you must keep your customers’ best interests at heart. That means being upfront with information (even about sourcing practices, if relevant), answering all customer queries promptly and very importantly, not making false promises. If customers feel like you have something to hide or aren’t forthcoming enough, they won’t trust you – and that will usually reflect in their reviews as well.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- Have an FAQs section on your website – This will show customers that you’re forthcoming with information and it will also save you the time of answering the same queries again and again.
- Have a chatbot or a live chat on your store – In the case of a live chat, you need to make sure that a team member is truly available during your promised hours.
- Answer queries promptly – Customer queries can come through on social media, your reviews section, email or a phone number if you’ve listed it – it’s a lot, but you need to cover your bases and respond with thorough answers in good time.
To summarise, building trust on your e-commerce store comes down working on a few main areas and best practices:
- Your user experience: In the e-commerce world, looks & experience matter – they are a symbol of your knowledge & commitment to quality.
- Social Proof: Have enough people using and talking about your brand or products, to encourage others to assume the same actions.
- Case Studies: Put out examples and content about the difference you have made in people’s lives with your products/services.
- Trust Badges: Using labels to show your customers that you’re a trusted brand – trusted by other customers or labelled as such by an authority in your field.
ModeMagic is a Shopify App that you can install and use to apply trust badges to your products. You can choose from a library of ready badges or you can even create your own to establish trust and boost your revenue. In fact, with ModeMagic’s product labels, customers have seen an increase of 15% in sales! The easy-to-use interface, pay-as-you-go pricing model and modern designs make it popular among users and easy to quickly add a trust badge to a product in a way that stands out to customers.
This post was contributed by ModeMagic, a Shopify app that enables you to add product badges and labels on your store to enhance its look, call out discounts, create urgency and nudge shoppers to purchase.