If you want to sell products and services over the internet, then it’s important that consumers feel they can trust you. Online shoppers are increasingly sceptical about where they spend their money and any signs that your website looks dodgy will make them think twice. In this article, we’ll look at ten different ways you can increase trust in your website so that customers feel more confident to shop with you.
1. Online Reviews
One of the most effective ways to increase trust in your business is to use online reviews – mainly because they are the opinions previous customers and they are independent. According to Vendasta, 92% of consumers now read reviews with the star rating being the primary way they judge a business. Indeed, for local businesses, 68% of people state directly that reviews increase trust.
There are numerous ways that your business can start to use reviews. You can ask for reviews on your Facebook page, you can get them from websites like Yell or Google My Business when you list your company on those sites, or you can sign up to use a service like TrustPilot.
To make the most of the reviews, you need to get your customers to leave them and this may take a little encouragement on your behalf. However, once good reviews start coming in, you should put your star rating on your website and make sure that customers see it in the most appropriate places. In addition, you should put a link to the reviews you have received so that potential customers can read them for themselves.
2. Customer testimonials
Customer testimonials are similar to reviews with the exception that they are published directly on your website. You should use them as a way to show how your product or service was appreciated by the customer and the benefits it brought. The more influential, high profile or relevant the person leaving the testimonial, the better. So, if you sell equipment to schools, try to get a testimonial from a headteacher – if that’s the headteacher of Eton, even better.
To make sure people believe that your testimonials are real and not just made up, you should always ask the person giving the testimonial to provide their name, position and organisation, such as Brad Smith, Managing Director, Brad’s Bikes. This way, those that feel the need to do so can look the person up on Google – you’d be surprised how many do this.
3. Portfolio / Case Studies
Although it might not be appropriate for every company, having a portfolio and case studies on your website is another way to boost trust. They highlight the work you have done in the past, proving that you are an established company with experience. They are also a way of the letting your customers see the high standards your company works to.
Portfolios are excellent for businesses that create things with a visible end result, e.g. wedding planners, photographers, builders, jewellery makers, gardeners – the list is endless. Case studies are more useful for companies that offer services that have an impact on customers – they are a way to demonstrate the problems you helped the customer overcome, the way you achieved this and the improvements that came around because of the work you did.
4. Contact details
One of the biggest advantages of shopping on the high street is that people know where to go if there is a problem. There is a building with people in it. Nothing inspires trust as much as that.
Whilst you cannot have a bricks and mortar website, you can do the next best thing and provide your customers with everything they need to know to make them trust that your business is legitimate.
The essential details are these:
- Company Name
- If a registered company, also give the company registration number so you can be checked as legitimate at Companies House.
- Company address, in full – including country if you sell overseas.
- Company telephone number – landlines are far more trustable than mobile numbers.
- Email address that preferably ends with the same domain as your website (@hotmail.com or @gmail.com doesn’t inspire the same trust.)
In addition, you should also aim to use live chat so people can speak with you there and then; show your location on a map, preferably with an image of your business so people can see it is real; and where appropriate, have a ‘Meet the Team’ page with headshots, brief bios and contact emails.
5. About Us page
A properly written About Us page can do wonders to build trust in your business. It should not only give a brief description of the history of the business and the products and services you offer but should also include sections on your business’ ethos and goals.
These latter sections are where you can drive home the message that you are there to help and benefit both the consumer and the wider society. Perhaps you can inspire trust by showing your green credentials or your commitment to a local charity or community. People are much more likely to trust companies that give back to society.
Since the beginning of 2017, Google’s Chrome browser has warned visitors that sites which do not have an SSL certificate are not secure. If you don’t have SSL, this could cause anyone trying to buy from your website to reconsider their purchase.
If you are not sure what this means, SSL is a way of encrypting sensitive information, such as credit card details, so that it cannot be stolen as it is sent from the buyer’s computer to your server. With hacking on the rise, consumers are becoming much more reluctant to spend when they don’t have complete trust in your services – that last thing you need is for Google to tell them your site is not safe.
Luckily, SSL is easy to set up. For more information about how to encrypt your website, check out our recent article: SSL Essential Now Google Warn Users of Non-Secure Websites.
7. Payment Options
It’s not just SSL that affects people at the point of sale either. Another factor that can stop a purchase at the last minute is the merchant you use to take payments. For example, PayPal is widely known and used by millions of people, so if you offer PayPal as an option, it’s likely to make customers feel more comfortable.
If you offer payment via other services, try to use a company that people are familiar with and will have trust in, such as World Pay. If you sell primarily to the UK, then using a UK based merchant can help create trust as it will be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and provide customers with the rights and guarantees they expect.
8. Make your legal obligations clear
Make sure that you have all your policies clearly accessible on your website and that they are written in plain English. This way customers can be reassured about the way your business operates. You should include the following:
- Returns, cancellation, and money back policies (as per Distance Selling Act)
- Product/service guarantees
- Delivery policy
- Terms and conditions
Fraudulent websites often don’t have these at all, so it is always a good idea to publish them. At the same time, the more customer friendly these policies are, the more likely you are to make a sale.
9. Technically accurate writing
One of the most conspicuous signs of a fraudulent website or scam email is the poor quality of the writing. People expect legitimate websites to be professionally written and be free of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. When they do come across a website littered with mistakes it can give the impression that it is not genuine or that the business does not do things professionally.
The companies which are most affected by this are smaller businesses that write their own content but don’t have the essential literacy skills within the company to provide technically accurate writing. Obviously, this can have a negative effect on sales and needs to be remedied quickly. The best way to do this is to employ a freelance copywriter to check your content for you and rectify any mistakes.
10. Membership of professional associations
The final way to build trust with your audience is to prove that you are a member of a relevant professional association. For example, if someone was looking for a central heating engineer they would expect you to be CORGI registered, similarly, if they were looking for a travel agent or holiday they would want a company that is ABTA or ATOL protected.
There are professional organisations for most lines of business and their job is to make sure standards are upheld and that consumers are protected. Joining these organisations lets you display their emblems on your website and this shows your customers that you operate in ways which meet industry standards.
Of course, your business will need to meet the criteria required by these professional association in order to be given approval – but that is the whole point; customers prefer to buy from companies that have been assessed and come out with flying colours.
Trust is a key element in the buying decision for consumers, especially when they are purchasing online. The more you can do to show that you are a company that can be trusted, the better. From reading this article, you will now have a clearer idea of ten ways you can improve trust in your business and convert even more visitors into customers.
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