The Importance of Trust Signals in Ecommerce
If you were to recall the first time you bought a product online, you will remember how unsure you were of the process. It was scary because you did not see the product live, you just looked at a picture. And, unless you read the product description thoroughly, the item might not be the one you needed.
You must have read horror stories like buying a dining table only to get one that is fit for a doll house. Aside from not seeing and touching the product, you transacted with a person behind a screen. There was no way to know for sure if he was a crook or not. Then, there was payment. It is only in eCommerce where customers pay for an item in full without getting it immediately. Delivery takes days and it is possible that it will not happen. In such a case, can you still get your money back?
eCommerce started around the time internet did. Since then, a lot of eCommerce businesses have prospered. One of the pioneers, and still the biggest, is Amazon. The industry has thrived because it was able to earn customers’ trust. It may have taken a while, but eventually they earned it. Trust is the currency that online selling relies on. And now, buying goods online is preferred by many customers.
If you are in the eCommerce business, getting your customers trust is imperative. When they are in your website, they should get an assurance that you are a credible entity and that they can trust you with their money. There are trust signals that customers look for before they give you their business.
What are Trust Signals?
Trust signals are factors in your website that help to convert a visitor into a buyer. A typical visitor who ventures into your website will look around first to see if you are trustworthy. This is expected because there are a lot of online stores guilty of dubious practices. There are a lot of horror stories that have burned many buyers. Your website should have the ability to inspire trust. Do you know that as much as 70% of online purchases do not proceed due to lack of trust? This results to a significant loss of sales annually.
There are several types of trust signals, some more important than others.
Top Three Trust Signals
1. Testimonials and Reviews – What your customers say about your product and service will greatly affect future buyers. Nobody buys an item online without looking at the reviews first.
Here are some ways to get testimonials and reviews:
a. Know which type of content to create – It is purely text? A witty text can get your followers engaged, and sometimes that is all you need.
Do you want to post pictures? Is it going to be a single image or multiple images? What about videos? It can be a pre-recorded one or you can also do a live video streaming via Facebook or Instagram.
Do not forget links. Links, whether own or curated, can be an effective content.
b. Social proof – Social proof is the most powerful type of review. People have the inherent need to conform. Copying what the majority is doing gives one the feeling that he is on the right track. The different types of social proof come from:
- 1Credible experts in the industry,
c. Reviews in Feeds – Including the reviews in your social feeds is an effective way to let your followers know that you are a trusted brand.
d. Identity of reviewers – Readers can tell if a review is authentic or not. Putting the reviewer’s identity and photo establishes the credibility of the review. To push this up further, the photo of the reviewer holding the product is much better.
e. Seller Ratings – It is not just the product that gets reviewed. Buyers rate the sellers, too. They will talk about how you are – whether or not you’re attentive to their queries, if you are pleasant to deal with, if you communicate promptly, etc. Seller ratings (star rating) can be included in your product page.
2. Communication – When it comes to trust, having a physical location that customers can visit to check out your products and see the legitimacy of your business is definitely advantageous.
However, seeing that this is not an option for strictly online shops, you must find ways to compensate for this and be able to still deliver signal trusts that leave your potential customers more at ease.
A working telephone number, a valid email address, live chat, and Social Media links are usually how most online businesses create trust signals.
a. Contact Information – Tell your customers who you are, your office’s location, and how they can contact you. This information should be easily seen in your website. Update this information whenever necessary. It is so common to see email addresses that bounce and telephone numbers that are no longer working.
b. Social Media – We are in the social media age and giving your social media accounts to your customers is important in building trust. Social Media is where people talk and connect. Make sure that you can be found in the platforms that matter – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and lately, TikTok. Put social plugins in your website for quick access.
3. Safety in Payment – The thing that scares most people about online purchase is payment assurance. You are paying in full for an item that will take days for you to get.
There are ways to make the checkout trustworthy, some are:
a. Various payment methods – There are many ways customers spend their money – credit card, debit card, payment transfers like PayPal and cash on delivery. Allowing different payment methods in your store will make customers trust you.
b. Badges – Badges like PayPal, Visa, and VeriSign make customers feel safe giving you their money. These are the highest rated elements customers look for in a website that makes them trust you.
Customers, especially first timers, feel vulnerable spending their money online. A lot of them check out your items only to abandon their cart. It is up to you to earn their trust. After you have tested the different trust signals, determine which ones work in your store.
Know the type of signal your customers look for and work on it. If it is reviews, ask your existing customers to leave one so you can feature them. If your customers get assurance from social media channels, interact with them in your social media accounts.
If you are new in the business and need to build payment credibility, get as many badges and certifications as possible. Trust signals will boost your brand’s credibility and increase your conversion rate at the same time.