When you own an e-commerce website, creating trust among your customers and prospective customers is essential to success. People won’t buy from your website if they don’t trust you — and in order to compete with the big guys, you need to work extra hard to show customers at first glance that your website is trustworthy. Here are seven tips for building a trustworthy website.
1. Tell them where to find you. Include a physical business address and at least one phone number for your business at the bottom of each page. Would you trust a website if you couldn’t see that there was a real, physical business behind it? Your customers won’t either. Since P.O. boxes are sometimes associated with scams, use an actual street address. Also include a phone number so that people feel they can easily reach you and get help with any questions or problems they may have.
2. Prove it. Prominently display security certificates and other badges of trustworthiness. A seal from the Better Business Bureau or any other “seals of approval” that your business has earned all help gain customers’ trust. Most important for any business that hopes to accept customers’ money or collect their personal information: Post an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate tells viewers that data transmitted to and from your website is encrypted for security. It also indicates that your identity has been authenticated — in other words, the site belongs to you and isn’t a front to steal credit card numbers.
3. Be upfront. Clearly explain your website’s policies regarding shipping costs and timeframes, sales taxes, and returns or exchanges. The more information you provide, the more confident customers will feel that their purchase will go smoothly. Making it easy to return products is especially important — customers want the security of knowing that they won’t get stuck with a problem purchase.
4. Provide detailed product information. Remember, your ecommerce website is competing with heavyweights like Amazon — just think about how much product information is available there! Adding a variety of photos; details about product size, weight, material and color; and allowing customers to post product reviews will all help potential purchasers get the information they need to make a decision with confidence.
5. Offer a wide range of customer service options. Would you want to buy from a website that only handles customer service via email? You might get stuck never getting an answer to your email — and never getting a refund for your return. Allow customers to contact you by phone, email, “Contact Us” forms, online chat — whatever format they prefer.
6. Create an “About Us” page. Customers will be more comfortable buying from your e-commerce website if they feel like there’s a person behind it. An About Us page that tells the story of your business, conveys the personality and mission behind your company, and includes photos of yourself and your team will help to humanize your website. That goes a long way toward building trust.
7. Be a stickler about spelling, grammar and punctuation. If you’re not a good proofreader (or don’t have one on your staff), it’s worth the cost to outsource the job to a professional who can ensure your website copy is perfect. After all, if you can’t be trusted to spell things correctly, customers will wonder what else you’ll get wrong.
Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.