Your website is up and running, your business model seems sound, yet your conversion rates aren’t quite meeting the desired mark. This is a common frustration from eCommerce companies trying to spread their wings. There is a good chance that something is missing from the relationship with your customers, a simple concept as old as marketing itself: trust.


Why Trust Matters in ECommerce

Trust in eCommerce is substantially different from what is required of a brick-and-mortar company. Without a location or brand to physically interact with, even tech-savvy shoppers can feel nervous about entrusting their time and money to a multitude of intangible variables seemingly out of their control. Gaining customer trust, therefore, requires playing by some new rules.

Unless you happen to hold a monopoly in your particular industry, trust is an indispensable component of the formula for building good eCommerce conversion rates. It will shape both long-term and immediate relationships between sellers and buyers-- completion of purchases, repeat sales, promotion on and offline alike, and everything in between. So let’s get down to the question: how can eCommerce businesses build trust with their potential customers?



1. Transparency is Key

While it is said that maintaining a bit of mystery is good in a relationship, this definitely does not apply to the one between your eCommerce company and its customers. From brand identity to policies to products, it is important to be honest and informative on your website and in all communications. A page or section should be provided to answer questions concerning your daily operations, data and privacy policy, and other significant topics of concern.

Promotions, items’ availability, and shipping are three major areas in which detail matters. Misleading a customer, whether deliberately or not, about an expired sale or a discount only applicable when buying in bulk is one of the quickest ways to make them feel distrustful of your site.

Make sure to keep your product pages regularly maintained and descriptive, and if an item is out of stock, provide an estimate of the time in which it will be restocked, or delivered as an order. Shipping and handling prices should be easily found on your site and provided upfront (if you are absolutely unable to provide free shipping!).



2. Plan for Experiences, Not Transactions

It can be tempting to add marketing value to your links by driving traffic to your general website rather than a specific product page, or adding pop-up ads to your most popular pages. However, customers can see through, and easily be put off by, an overwhelming “salesman” strategy that doesn’t put them first. Your eCommerce site is selling an experience, after all, not just your products. 

The effort put into making your site easy to navigate, smoothly functioning, and even aesthetically pleasing in design from entry point to checkout page will reflect in visitors’ appraisal of the company. Focus on building relationships in the longer term-- reward loyalty, build in customizable components, and generally put the customer first as any brick-and-mortar store would.



3. Put Trust Markers on Display

Seals, logos, and badges are all easily addable elements of pages on your site, which can give your credibility with visitors a significant boost.

Did you know that 19% of online shoppers abandon their carts because they do not trust a site with their payment information? And rightfully so-- in an age of frequent data abuse and hacking scandals, everyone wants to feel assured that their online information is secure and encrypted.

Trust badges have proven to have a positive impact on their sites’ conversion rates and revenue. Use this to your advantage and put your hard-earned SSL certificates and seals to work by showing them off!

There are numerous sources available to help you find the most credible and relevant options for your company, since not all markers bear the same reputability. (A whopping 76% of users surveyed in a VWO survey reported canceling their purchase decision because they did not recognize the trust logo!)



#4. Offer a Human Hand

With the question regularly arising in users’ modern digital experiences of whether they are talking to a robot or an actual human being, it is more important than ever for eCommerce companies to put effort into humanizing their image. This entails everything from displaying specific names and faces of team members alongside primary contact information, to choosing the right contact channels can reduce the client-business gap, to including live chat bubbles on all pages for customers to speak with someone directly-- as with many things in marketing, the devil is in the details.

As an eCommerce business grows, using some form of marketing automation is all but inevitable. It is possible even then to maintain the “human factor” to a degree; this is where good segmentation comes in to anticipate and differentiate customer needs.

When good copy meets relevant, custom-tailored product offers and suggestions, the online shopping experience can become just a bit less intimidating. And speaking of good copy…



#5. Engage Emotionally

A professional tone in product copy is undoubtedly important. However, this does not mean that there is no room on your site, much less outside of it, to establish a voice from behind the keyboard. Brand storytelling is a strategy with great untapped potential, and can be utilized everywhere throughout a site in small ways.

Even the “About Us” section has the potential to personalize your message; more than simply a place to present professional information about your company, it can offer a statement from the owner, a history of the company, a Meet the Team section, and more.

Finally, as established, social media presence matters, as it encourages the audience to engage with the company in a way that can be less formal and show a more personal side of it.



#6. Don’t Just Take Our Word for it

With well over half of online shoppers looking at product reviews before purchasing, customer feedback and testimonials can hold a weight equal to that of a personal recommendation in this day and age. This is the best way to prove the value of your products and brand, so display them prominently on your website.

For that matter, encourage feedback actively among your customers! It can be nerve-racking to include negative feedback alongside the positive, but surveys have shown that including only positive reviews creates suspicion among readers who deem them inauthentic.

With regard to building reputation generally, a dynamic social media presence in this day and age is integral. Multi-channel marketing through several social platforms and marketplaces, in additional to email campaigns, newsletters, etc., will expand your outreach. If possible, cross-promotion, partnership, or public endorsement can provide a welcome boost. As the psychological mere exposure effect suggests, the more familiar an object, the more likely we are to think of it favorably-- so build that presence!

Now that your eCommerce site is in order, I suggest implementing email automation to take your revenue generation to the next level. You can learn learn how by watching our free on-demand webinar How to Boost ECommerce Revenue with Email Automation.


This blog is part of Your Definitive Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization blog series.