With the leaps made in technology over the last decade, anyone can launch an online store. This is both good and bad. On one hand, launching your own eCommerce business is easy. On the other, consumers know the drill, and they’re constantly (and most times unconsciously) picking apart every online store they stumble upon. As with all human relationships, trust in eCommerce brands is earned over time and can be diminished in a split-second. To be perceived as a trustworthy brand, your website needs to look professional; here’s how you can easily make that happen.
First, What are eCommerce Trust Signals?
eCommerce trust signals are elements displayed on your online store that make you seem more trustworthy and professional to online shoppers. Guarantees, social proof, associations, memberships, transparency, and other signals show site visitors that they are doing business with a real person.
Next, Why Does Your Online Store Need Trust Signals?
The internet is an incredible virtual landscape -- you have a device in the palm of your hand that can access all the information you could ever want. Consumers can access nearly every product they need online. You want to make the most of the shopping experience because, no matter your niche, the galaxy of competition is vast.
Here are several reasons why you need trust signals:
- Right away, you only have a few seconds to capture a new website visitor’s attention before they move on to shop somewhere else. Without a professional-looking online store, you lose credibility almost instantly.
- Furthermore, consumers have a general distrust of the internet because of the prevalence of scams.
- The last thing online shoppers want is to give their payment information to someone who might use it to harm their finances.
- Ultimately, you’re competing directly with online conglomerates like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart for traffic. If you can’t provide immense value as well as an exceptional customer experience, you won’t win.
Trust Signal #1: Be Transparent About Drop Shipping
One of the most common complaints I hear about online shopping is a variant of, “I ordered a product from a website and when it arrived, it was in a package with a foreign label. I don’t want to order from that store again.” This happens primarily with drop shipping sites. But, as a drop shipper, you aren’t doomed -- there’s nothing inherently wrong with your business structure. The truth is, you just need to be honest.
If your customers’ orders will arrive in multiple packages, after two-to-three weeks, imported from overseas, let them know in advance. You don’t have to say, “I don’t like the idea of handling my own inventory, so I sell other people’s products.” How many successful third party Amazon sellers use FBA, which is essentially the same thing? Tens of thousands!
Screenshot source: Cascio Music
Instead, try using verbiage that is more customer-centric:
“To keep our product costs low for you, we avoid middlemen and store our inventory with the manufacturers. Because of this, you will receive your order in packaging that doesn’t include the X brand. Don’t worry, we’re still available to help you with any issues that might arise with your purchase.”
Trust Signal #2: Show Real Contact Information
Shoppers want to know that they are doing business with a real person. So, use real contact information including an email address, physical address, phone number, and/or chatbox so you can actually be reached by shoppers. The easier it is for customers to contact you, the better.
Screenshot source: Ratio Coffee
Seeing an actual location and giving shoppers communication options goes a long way in building trust.
Trust Signal #3: Accept Multiple Forms of Payment
Online sellers of the past had to choose either a shopping cart that accepted credit cards or PayPal. While both of these are still at the top of the popularity list, the payment possibilities are nearly limitless. So, you need to provide options. This is important for ensuring you can cater to customers’ payment method preferences.
- Credit Card
- Voucher/ promo codes
Other trending forms of eCommerce payment are Apple Pay, Square, Amazon, and Google Checkout. Just offer a few different options to ensure a convenient checkout process.
Screenshot source: Great George Watches
Trust Signal #4: Sell on More Than One Channel
While I mentioned that you’re competing with sites like Amazon and Walmart, you can also use these giants to scale your business. On average, shoppers who browse more than one channel log 23% more repeat shopping trips than those who visit your branded website alone.
When consumers see that your products are listed on large marketplaces, you seem more trustworthy. MightySkins, for example, hosts their airpod skins on their branded website, Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.
Screenshot source: Mighty Skins
Omnichannel Retail Tips & Tools
Sure, it sounds simple to add your products to several marketplaces, but there are a few keys to making your omnichannel ventures successful. First, you need to be organized and integrate your inventory management system across all channels. Your product and customer analytics should be seamless.
Modern eCommerce platforms understand the value of a multichannel sales experience, including offline, so they make most of these integrations relatively easy. Shopify, for example, has a Chip & Swype card reader that links offline sales with your website dashboard. Make sure the tools you use enhance the sales and shopping experience across all channels.
Finally, you need to test the shopping experience across all devices. In your Google Analytics dashboard, you should be able to see which devices and browsers shoppers use to view your website.
So, make sure to test the browsing and checkout process, not only from your desktop, but from Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices, from multiple browsers (Chrome, Safari, etc.). If your product images don’t load from a user’s phone, they’ll probably move away and check out your competitor instead.
Trust Signal #5: Always Send Delivery Updates
A critical element of an optimized customer experience is to give your shoppers what they want. Today’s consumers want to be completely in control of the online shopping experience. A great way of accomplishing this is keeping them updated on the location of their package.
his doesn’t have to be tedious. Depending on how many packages you deliver , you can use automation technology to send delivery updates. Smart Shipping Software makes this easy.
Screenshot source: ShipHawk
These trust signals will launch your relationship building efforts with customers, but they’re not all-encompassing. What other trust signals do you use on your eCommerce website? Tell us about them in the comments.
Ashley Kimler is part of the superhero team at Heroic Search in Tulsa. She's been working in the digital marketing industry for over a decade. Follow @ashleykimler and @heroicsearch on Twitter to see what she and her team share next.