It’s so important in today’s online-driven environment that businesses are able to build a sense of trust. Customers have seemingly endless options when they want to make a purchase, but at the same time, many online retailers don’t seem trustworthy. You’ll always hear stories of customers who thought they were purchasing one thing and received another, or paid for something that they never got.
One of the biggest competitive elements separating a successful online business from one that might not be as successful is a sense of trustworthiness. If you have an online business, and in particular, an online store, how do you build that sense of trust? How do you give yourself credibility that’s going to create conversions and loyalty?
The following are some strategies that can be used to build a true sense of trust on the part of customers toward your online business.
You always want to ensure you’re protecting your customer’s data first and foremost. What’s been going on with Facebook and user data recently has really highlighted the importance of having customers feel like their data is safe with your business.
You have to ensure that you’re not only doing your part but that you’re working with vendors that value security as well.
63 percent of breaches come from third-party access, writes Maxine Henry, of compliance software provider Reciprocity. Do an assessment and ensure that you’re choosing the right third-party people to work with including vendors, suppliers, and partners.
Post Clear Policies for Shipping and Returns
Shoppers want to know what they’re getting before they make a purchase. There are quite a few considerations to keep in mind in this area. First, make sure that you have a well-defined return and exchange policy and it’s posted right where your visitors can find it. If certain items aren’t able to be returned, go ahead and let people know that upfront.
If you have any guarantees (which can be a good thing), put those front and center as well.
If your items take a little longer to ship, clearly state that either on the products or in your shipping policy.
Finally, don’t wait until the last minute to add in fees. You’re not going to close the sale if your customer gets to the checkout point and suddenly their price has gone up significantly. Some people might not like your policies, but that’s better than people making a purchase and then being unhappy after the fact because they feel like they were duped.
Being honest and transparent means that you’re okay with recognizing the weaknesses of your business, and you put them out there knowing that your strengths are greater than those weaknesses.
Make Yourself Accessible
Many customers don’t feel a sense of trust when they’re buying online because it feels like they’re interacting with a website and not a person. Make it feel as if your customers and site visitors can easily have access to you.
Post your email address, and include a form for questions to be submitted on your site. Make sure you respond quickly to customers.
You can also include a popup chat feature on your site so that customers and prospects will have an instantaneous way to connect with someone if they have a question or concern.
Be Consistent with Branding
A big element of a trustworthy brand is one that has consistent, reliable branding. You want to keep your messages consistent across platforms, as well as your design and aesthetics. You should also make sure that your communication style is similar across channels.
Customers want to know what to expect when doing business with you, and if they start to get comfortable with your branding, they’re more likely to become loyal to you.
Don’t Forget an “About Us” Page
Finally, an “About Us” page is often one of the most difficult things for online entrepreneurs and businesses to put together. They don’t really know where to start when it comes to talking about themselves, so they’ll just overlook it or leave it out.
It’s actually really important, however.
An about us page lets you connect with your customers and build trust on a human level. You have the opportunity to show them why you do what you do, what your history is, and what your values and philosophy are.
When you’re building an about us page, make sure you’re including not only a history and overview of your business but add some photos of your team and your biographies. People want to do business with people they feel are likable, or share things in common with them, such as certain values.