It can take a matter of milliseconds for some consumers to decide that your website doesn’t appeal to them. Others might linger for a whole minute or two before reaching precisely the same conclusion.
Either way, you’ve lost them. Why is that? Potential reasons could include anything from cumbersome navigation to an irritating popup that never goes away. A common denominator is often a failure of trust.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic template that’ll give your website a guaranteed visit/order/repeat formula. But there is a lot you can do to help engender trust.
And where there’s trust, there’s trade.
1. Include testimonials
If you receive really good feedback from a happy customer, don’t be bashful about using it. Three to 10 words maximum. Include a photo of the person if possible. Celebrity endorsements are harder to come by but can be worth their virtual weight in gold.
2. Be upfront about charges
Even if a customer has invested a lot of time in choosing a product from your website and is ready to pay, an unexpected charge at the checkout page will make them leave in the blink of an eye. So if there are taxes, packing costs or shipping charges to pay, make this explicit right at the start of the ordering process.
3. Do what the customer expects
Make it clear to visitors what will happen when they click on tabs, links and CTAs (calls to action). If you’ve asked people to sign up for a monthly newsletter, for example, resist the temptation to contact them any more frequently than that.
4. Put a place to a name
It’s important for customers to know that, although you are an online business, you have a physical presence. So make sure your ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ pages include credentials such as a contact number, email address and, ideally, an actual address.
5. Avoid that stock-shot look
Search long and hard enough (not to mention pay out enough) and you may find stock photographs that are more-or-less appropriate to your business. But why not go for a totally unique and authentic look instead? Photographs taken by a professional give you more control and allow you to develop your own visual identity.
6. Be a safe place for shoppers
7. Show off your social
Displaying social media accounts can enhance your e-commerce website’s credibility. Conversely, an absence of all social media activity is likely to trigger alarm signals in the minds of potential customers.
8. Offer after-sales reassurance
This includes things like providing online order tracking, email notifications, SMS alerts and delivery confirmations. You should also make it easy for customers to get answers to any post-purchase questions they may have about a product’s operation. And, should they have cause to return a product, shoppers need to know that the process will be quick and painless.
9. Get the tone right
If you’re selling medical equipment, you probably don’t want to come across like a street trader. Similarly, a dry and stuffy tone would be inappropriate for a website offering bouncy castle rental. It sounds obvious, but striking the right ‘tone of voice’ is a crucial element of your brand building. It shouldn’t be something you simply trust to instinct.
10. Don’t overdo talk of ‘trust’
Just as airlines never advertise on the basis of how safe their airplanes are, you shouldn’t overemphasise the trustworthiness of your business. Explicit references to your honesty will merely sow seeds of doubt.