We’ve talked before about the secrets to selling online, in particular effective advertising, but there’s another very important factor that an e-commerce shopping website needs.

Trust – If customers don’t feel they can completely trust your business they’re more likely to buy somewhere else, even if it means paying a bit more. So, what are you doing that might be eroding the trust customers feel when they visit your website?

Review the following four points that important to building a shopping website that inspires trust.

1 – Professional, Consistent Branding

Think for a minute how much confidence you’d have if you saw your doctor show up to do your surgery in a tank top and jandals? We have become used to reading visual cues about the businesses we deal with.

We have more confidence when we see technicians in clean, tidy uniforms, business people in sharp looking suits, or a store that is clean, modern and the shelves with products all lined up (yes, I actually had that job when I worked in a supermarket – and there was always that one person who seemed to enjoy messing up my perfect lines!).

The same goes for your website, it needs to be presented well. Everything needs to be lined up, it needs to look good in desktop or mobile view and your logo shouldn’t look like you threw it together in Microsoft Paint. You should also be consistent – don’t mix up fonts, font sizes, colours or page styles – consistency builds familiarity and that leads to a greater level of trust.

Photos should be of good quality and the text should be free of spelling and grammatical mistakes.

One last point, you don’t need to spend thousands with a design agency to achieve this. For example, we create professional-looking logos for under $200 and can work with you to review your entire site for just $40 an hour.

2 – Secure Handling of Customer Data

Understandably, customers get a little nervous about handing over their personal data and credit card details if the website looks like it doesn’t have a high standard of security or they experience errors while using the site.

At a minimum, you should have an SSL security certificate aka the little green padlock (we include them free with our hosting service).

Other things you can add include your official terms and conditions, shipping, returns and refunds policy and a copy of your privacy policy. You can get an idea of how other shopping sites do this, and speak with your business mentor or legal advisor on what is best for your business.

It’s also a good idea to pay more than just lip service to data protection. Take measures to ensure logins to your website are secure and protected from hackers, and sensitive data is encrypted. If you’d like a security audit, just get in touch.

3 – Social Proof (third-party validation)

Internet shoppers are a wary bunch, and many are cautious when it comes to unfamiliar shopping sites (I clearly remember in the early days of Aliexpress that a lot of people asked us if it was safe to buy from them – it is literally one of the biggest ecommerce websites on the planet!) so you’ll need to make sure your good-looking website, professional branding and copy-written text is backed up by social proof (also known as third-party validation, basically other independent parties vouching for you).

This social proof normally comes in the form of customer reviews, and while there’s no harm in putting customer comments on your website, they hold more weight if they’re on a third-party website you don’t have any control of – it’s just seen as more reliable. This might be a site like Trustpilot or Google Reviews.

Google reviews are also included in some Google services like Maps so it makes it a good option to encourage customers to leave a review on your Google Business page (learn how to set up a GMB page for free). You might solicit reviews on order emails, or your contact page.

Third-party validation can also come in the form of customer case studies, celebrity endorsements or a guarantee from a well-known, larger company.

For example, I recently purchased something on eBay from a seller who had no reviews and honestly the price really did seem ‘too good to be true’. Normally, I would never buy in a situation like that but since eBay guarantee your money back if a seller doesn’t deliver I felt comfortable going through with the purchase. Sure enough, the seller was fake but within 24 hours eBay had given me a full refund. No sweat.

4 – Good Communication

Good communication is not just having a website that is professionally written, with clear, informative and accurate product descriptions. It also includes explaining the checkout process, particularly any extra costs and shipping charges, as well as setting expectations about how long it will take to process and deliver their order.

When online shopping, customers will get annoyed and quickly lose trust if everything is not explained upfront, so be very clear and transparent about exactly what they’re getting, how much it costs, any tax and delivery fees, money-back guarantees, warranties, and when the item will arrive.

This communication should extend beyond the website, with an effective email system that lets them know their order has been received, when it has been shipped and the order confirmed. Our affordable e-commerce websites can also be integrated with services like GoSweetSpot to make it easier for customers to track the delivery of their order.

We can integrate with email software like Mailchimp so you can even schedule follow-up emails a week after delivery to check the customer is satisfied with their order.

Remember, sometimes seemingly small gestures can go a long way to building confidence and trust in your online store, which, in turn, encourages repeat business and referrals.

Work hard to maintain trust in your online shop

It’s said that trust is hard to earn, and easy to lose, so don’t get complacent about maintaining trust in your online shop. Visit your website daily, as if you were a customer, and quickly address any issues you spot that could potentially cause a customer to doubt your reliability as an online seller.

Continue to build up trust in your brand, communicate regularly with your customers and prove that your business is dependable and reliable. Even if you drop the ball (it happens to the best of us) do your best to put it right, and restore faith in your online shop.

As trust grows in your brand, it will put you in a good position to maintain and strengthen your place in a market that is becoming more and more competitive.

What are 4 Trust Factors every E-Commerce Website should have?
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