This week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that fake online retailers have scammed Australians out of $150,000 in the first quarter of 2017.

Not only that, reports are escalating of unscrupulous business practices, such as Shakuhachi taking orders for stock they don’t have or simply not fulfilling orders.

It’s pretty heartbreaking to see websites like this making a fortune, whilst many honest, hard-working small business owners are hustling their hearts out!

So, how do you gain the trust of your website visitors?

All eCommerce websites need trust signals. Without them, sales conversions and revenue will remain low.

Whereas, your website visitors are more likely to place an order when they can immediately and easily sense that your business is trustworthy.

Read on to learn the secrets of trust signals

How to gain the trust of eCommerce customers

4 ways to build customer trust in eCommerce

Few online shoppers are willing to take leaps of faith. We are conditioned to search for and compare multiple options before making a decision. Plus, we’re wary of giving our credit card details out to just anyone!

These days, most marketing strategies focus on the quick win, using short-term persuasion tactics like pop-ups offering discounts.

Less attention goes to building trust, even though that’s what drives customer loyalty and repeat purchase.

In the anonymous online environment we operate in, there are HUGE gains for businesses that know how to build customer trust online.

1. Identify yourself

The number one most visited page on any website is quite often the About Us page.

Why is this? Simple – customers want to know there are real people behind the website interface.

A customer builds trust in a business when she identifies values or experiences similar to her own.

TIP: Don’t hide behind the brand!

Avoid writing in a corporate style or speaking in the 3rd party (ie, “Catherine was inspired to create this business….”)

Instead, tell your own personal story on your About Page – share what led you to creating the business and what your customers can expect when they buy from you.

Also, give it a more human element by including your name and get a decent photograph taken of yourself!

2. Include a phone number

To explain why she didn’t include a phone number on her website, an eCommerce business owner once told me, “I don’t want to talk to customers, that’s why I started an online store”.

Don’t want to talk to customers? Then get out of retail!

There is nothing worse than a website that forces you to communicate by filling in a web form. Smacks of government bureaucracy…

TIP: Provide multiple contact points

Include phone, email, address (or PO Box), a contact form and social media.

Here’s what the ‘contact and communication’ trust signals look like on the Birdsnest website:

Offer multiple contact points to increase customer trust online

3. Get external proof

Reviews and testimonials are one of the most trust-inspiring things you can include on your website. If you have no other trust signals, you should at least have this one!

According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends and family and 70% trust reviews and testimonials posted online:

Earned media such as customer reviews inspire trust

And Marketing to Mums expert Katrina McCarter confirmed through research that Mothers look for reviews by other Mothers. Celebrity endorsement isn’t as influential.

Other social proof that bolsters your credibility includes:

  • Media coverage – this goes on your website’s ‘As Seen In’ section; and
  • Awards, whether industry or business-related.

TIP: Automate review collection

A client of mine recently recommended a brilliant app called Stamped.io.

This app automates the collection of customer reviews in a very nifty way – customers can type their review straight into your email, and the app automatically posts it on your website!

Removing the need for customers to click back through to your website and log-in in order to leave a review, significantly increases your chances of collecting more reviews.

4. Offer multiple trusted payment options

The #1 moment your online shoppers really need to trust you is when they’re about to spend their money.

There are plenty of ways you can increase your shopping cart checkout conversions, but when it comes to trust signals there are two things you must include:

TIP #1: Offer multiple payment methods

And not just any old payment methods either – they need to be trusted and preferred by your customers.

PayPal offers the highest level of buyer protection for online shoppers.

But you also need to be able to accept credit cards. Use a well-known 3rd party payment gateway such as eWa.

And in Australia, Afterpay is the new payment option of choice.

TIP #2: Show 3rd party badges and certification

The presence of images, such as SSL security, well-known payment gateway icons and guarantees in the checkout process goes a long way to building trust. In fact, SamCart have proven that the presence of these images actually increases conversions!

Here’s how Birdsnest display their trust icons:

Display 3rd party badges and certification to increase trust

How many of these trust signals do you use?

Comment below to share your thoughts and any additional trust signals you’ve used to increase your website sales conversions.