Trust on a website
When shopping online, there are a number of strong turn offs but one major element that will stop me from purchasing is the trust factor.
Many users now will only buy from half a dozen well known brand sites due to the number of dodgy sites on the net. Being easy to create (many big ecommerce sites started literally from a back bedroom), you risk handing your details over to a scam operation or a foreign warehouse that pretends it is based somewhere in London.
The trust factor comes from several sources:
Look and feel
This is one of the hardest factors, it includes the user experience that is created by the site, the navigation, the colours and the design. It is a hard thing to get right but can make and break a site. Your reviews can be gleaming but you need to make sure they correspond with the appearance and usability of the site itself.
Well written content is important, it’s quality and quantity here. It needs to be perfect as nothing reduces trust on a site as much as poor language, typos and grammatical errors. Content includes product descripitions, news feed, a company blog and welcome/about us pages.
Quantity also applies to user generated content as well, hoards of great reviews by independent users can really strengthen trust. Honesty is a cornerstone of building trust, this means including the bad reviews as well as the good ones, besides, if you have forty positive reviews for every product, ‘fake review’ warning bells will start to ring.
Quality content is one of the easiest areas that many big businesses get wrong – this is one of the reasons that Amazon and Play are ruling the UK ecommerce market.
Contact and legal
A lack of contact details is one of the biggest signs that you shouldn’t give them your credit card details, legal ts and cs, the privacy statement (even a cookie statement) all contribute to that feeling that this site is a complete and trustable location.
If you have a brick and mortar element, include a picture of it, “red brick trust” and a map of where to find you means that people will feel more secure, knowing you can’t just vanish overnight once they’ve placed an order.
Websites don’t need to validate (W3C), but they need to work cleanly, reliably and be fast loading, it is vital that ecommerce websites use SSL appropriately (the padlock symbol) and they need to work on all the modern browsers, as well as reliably on mobile devices and tablets.
Videos and music on a site can be the ultimate turn off if done badly, but a well made video and smooth animations/page transitions will scream quality.
If the site include products, all the photos need to be well shot – in focus and high definition, well lit and follow a similar layout or composition.
This is all for nothing if potential customers search your name in Google and the top result is a big fat zero in the reviews and feedback department.
Customer service is important and if you have got this right then ask your customers for reviews. Post them on independent sites such as http://www.reviewcentre.com and http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/. By actively encouraging your customers to leave reviews, it is more likely it won’t just be occasional negative review – we all know people are more inclined to complain than praise if they haven’t been prompted.
These reviews will also show up in Google Shopping, making your site pop from the rest.
Blogs and PR
PR is one investment that is worth every penny, by reaching out where appropriate you can help create and portray the brand image that you want to express; be it budget, quality or focus on customer care.
If you have any more tips on building trust on a website, please leave them in the comments below!