When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, what convinces you to give them your money? What tells you that the almond-sesame-green-tea pomade is, in fact, the solution to all your hair and skin problems?

Now, imagine what it would take to establish the same confidence, comfort, and trust if you couldn’t see the chic saleswoman with the perfect hair. What if you couldn’t smell the amazing herbal fragrances of the product line or hear the soothing mood music as you walked through the expertly designed studio?

This dilemma is exactly what customers face when they visit a digital storefront like your website. They’re relying on digital information to show them why you and your products are trustworthy. People shopping in your ecommerce store need to trust that the product they see is the product they’ll get. They need to trust that your company can securely process a payment, deliver the product without a hitch, and that you won’t disappear if something goes wrong.

That’s a lot of trust to earn, especially when you don’t have the luxury of face-to-face interaction. And it can only happen if certain trust elements shine through on your ecommerce website.

So how do you use your ecommerce website to gain your customer’s trust?



Building Trust the Ecommerce Way

Trust Element 1: Current and Well-Executed Design

If you walked into a store and saw peeling wallpaper and shelves held together with duct tape, would you feel comfortable buying their cologne?

The same concept applies to your website. A great ecommerce experience will make people feel the same way they do when they walk into a great brick-and-mortar store.

If someone’s going to let you take money from their credit card online in exchange for a product, your site has to look professional, and it has to be current. You don’t want it to look like something Tom Hanks searched for on AOL in “You’ve Got Mail.” And that copyright year at the bottom of the page can’t be three years old.

Your design ought to make people feel that the products and services they’re receiving are top-shelf quality. Unprofessional, unappealing, and poorly executed design is a credibility killer and a trust killer. Don’t put your Veuve Cliquot in PBR packaging!

Trust Element 2: Smooth Experience

This may seem simple, but a website has to work. No broken links, simple navigation, compatibility with all major web browsers, and ease of view and use on any device. These steps are the equivalent of walking into that immaculate studio space. The details show that you take care of your store.

A successful website will reflect your brand attributes and personality, but it won’t get in the way of the shopping experience. The user won’t be distracted by clutter.

What does this look like practically?

  • Products and product categories will be well-organized.
  • Search and filter functionality will be easy to use.
  • Shoppers won’t have to jump through hoops to find what they want.
  • It’ll be easy and enjoyable for shoppers to browse until they discover something new.
  • It’ll be simple to add something to the cart and obvious when it’s been added. (Little things like that tiny number above the cart are crucial.)

Having a seamless website design is integral to providing your users with an exceptional online experience. The worst thing you can do is frustrate your customers when they’re trying to buy a product from you. That’d be like the chic saleswoman handing you off to the employee glaring at you from behind the checkout counter.

These little details make a big difference when it comes to earning trust and making your ecommerce register ring.

Trust Element 3: Brand Proof

Use your ecommerce website to replicate an in-store experience as much as possible, whether or not you have your own space outside the digital world.

Tell your company’s story. Explain how you got started in this business. Let them know why you’re so passionate about tea tree extracts and how your blend is different from the rest of the market. Don’t assume it’s boring customers will connect with your genuine passion and expertise!

Throughout your site, show proof that you stand behind your products. Offer solid warranties and guarantees, not flimsy, half-hearted promises loaded with loopholes and fine print. If needed, make sure things like SSL certificates are up-to-date and don’t throw warnings and errors.

By establishing brand proof, you’ll build a reputation as a solid ecommerce company and earn people’s trust.

Trust Element 4: Social Proof

While brand proof focuses on things you say about yourself, social proof focuses on things said about you by others. They validate your claims.

In other words, when customers confirm what you say, your claims become facts in the eyes of your audience.

Social proof must be transparent, and it must be authentic.

Make sure testimonials come from real customers. Photos and videos have a lot more impact than anonymously written testimonials that seem overly scripted.

If you’re going to use customer reviews, you have to share the good and the bad. If someone sees nothing but five-star reviews, they’ll probably wonder what you’re hiding.

Nobody’s perfect, and every company has customers who love to complain about the smallest things. Tell the whole story.

This’ll make or break you. Don’t fake it, and address unhappy feedback head-on.

Also, use social sharing functionality to enable customers to tell their friends and family what they like. This not only helps to build trust, but it can get positive word-of-mouth going and give ecommerce sales a boost.

How to Build Trust on Your Ecommerce Website: Final Thoughts

It’s not impossible to accomplish the same kind of trust with your customers that you’d get if you were engaging with them face-to-face. All it takes is creativity and intentionality to curate the kind of customer experience they’re looking for online.

Get started on these four trust elements to give your customers their dream ecommerce experience full of the kind of trust that wins them over for good.

Not sure how to get going? Send us a message, and our team will help you define your first step.


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