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How to build trust (and therefore conversions) on your website from the first visit

The fundamental aim of any e-commerce website is to get conversions – to get site visitors to part with their money and purchase the products on sale. This can be done by improving user experience, conversion rate optimisation, and listing the right products backed by the right marketing. What’s also critical is building a feeling of trust between the visitor and the business, as fundamentally people don’t buy from people they don’t trust.

The first step to building trust is to be consistent in your messaging – so whatever messages brought the person to your website need to be upheld once they reach your website. Make sure every piece of marketing and PR is accurate about your business, the products on offer, and any promotions. Put simply, don’t run adverts on Facebook for products that are out of stock and don’t do press releases about non-core product lines.

Someone’s likelihood of trusting your business can be quickly eroded by a bad first impression. How can you ensure the first impression is a good one? There are some pretty simple steps you can take:

  • Make sure your website looks current – not like it was designed in 1980
  • That now includes making sure it works on mobile and tablet
  • Make sure your most popular landing pages are up to date – so no Christmas promotions in January (usually this means your homepage and one or two others)

How your products are displayed also has a part to play. The products that are thrust in front of people should be ones that are in-stock and in-season. So make sure your homepage and category aren’t putting out of stock and sale products front and centre (unless of course it’s sale time!).

The trust marks (a term that covers a wide range of things) on your website should be everywhere – homepage, product pages, everywhere. But there are quite a few possibilities so pick the strongest ones for the footer and header, and put the rest in the most logical places (eg. product reviews clearly should be on product pages!). Some of the trust marks you should include are:

  • A guarantee
  • Returns policy
  • Consolidated review scores – either from your own review system, or Google reviews, or trust pilot
  • Quotes/testimonials from happy customers
  • Security logos and the logos of credit cards/payment methods you accept

Those should be possible for every trading e-commerce business. If you want to really up the trust factor then go for some of these as well:

  • Any awards you’ve won
  • Details of any famous customers you have (you’ll probably need their permission)
  • Where you’ve been featured in the press/TV/blogs and websites

If you really want to up the trust factor a lot – then come out from behind the website and show your customers who you are. Pictures of the team, and stories of how the business came about prove there are real people behind the business – and people like to buy from people they trust.

Another side of building trust is to prove you deserve that trust by being honest with the customer. The number one reason that people fail to checkout is because they’re surprised by the delivery cost – so make sure you explain your delivery pricing on every page, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. If it’s a surprise it leads the customer to believe you’ve been hiding it from them, and if you’ve been hiding that then what else have you been hiding?

Finally, even if you do everything listed above many people will come to your site for the first time and not buy. That’s because to trust someone with your money straight away is a big leap – so give the customer an option to trust you with something smaller, and give yourself and opportunity to prove to the customer that you are trust worthy. The best non-purchase option is to get their email address, pop ups are a great way to do this. Then you can send an email Welcome Sequence packed with reasons they should be trusting you.

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