In today’s world, people don’t inherently trust brands. A study by Cohn & Wolfe found that 87% of consumers feel that it’s important for brands to “act with integrity at all times.” Integrity and authenticity rank above innovation and product uniqueness when it comes to what customers value. To earn and keep customers, trust is essential.
We all know that customer reviews and social proof can be powerful ways to encourage sales or social commerce and build customer trust. But what about when your ecommerce store is brand new and doesn’t have customer feedback yet?
Earning trust (and sales) for your new online store
Here are four ways to earn trust — and sales — for your new ecommerce store.
1. Share your brand’s story
Every online store has a brand, and every brand has a story. Do you know yours? Just as important, do your customers know it? Storytelling is a poignant marketing tool that can help retailers connect with customers. A brand story goes beyond product descriptions or website design; it represents the purpose and values of your company. Here is how to build a brand story that will help you acquire customers:
A good story builds ethos, or an emotional connection, with the audience. Brand stories are no different. You want your potential customers to feel connected to your story. What are your brand’s mission, origin, and purpose? Share that with your customers and make it something that they can relate to and care about.
Be consistent across platforms and interactions in regard to who you are and what you stand for, and be transparent and honest in all customer communications, regardless of the channel. Some of the best brand stories come out of the drive to solve a need for something, and your customers understand and can relate to that need.
For small businesses especially, that need is probably pretty niche; you likely solve for a very specific problem or pain point for a certain group of people.
Establish your brand as an expert in this niche. For example, if you sell rock climbing shoes, make your personal rock climbing experience and expertise a part of the story you tell to connect with customers.
2. Create and share quality content
At its most basic level, content can be a powerful tool to educate, entertain, and connect with potential customers. Content marketing not only helps shoppers feel connected to your brand and your story, but can also be a great way to boost your search engine rankings, increase brand awareness, and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
Make sure that your posts don’t just revolve around your products; Instead, go back to the target audience you identified earlier on, and create content that is useful to them.
Using our rock climbing shoes example from earlier, a blog post titled “10 Best Climbs on the West Coast” is more effective content marketing than “Why You Should Buy Our Shoes.” Just like traffic to your online store, content should be a fine balance of quality and quantity. Make sure that your content is unique, engaging, and credible.
3. Showcase your site security
While it’s nice for your customers to connect to your brand on an emotional level, they still need to be confident that their personal details and payment information are safe when they shop with you. 20% of online shoppers in the US have abandoned an order due to security concerns, meaning you could be missing out on revenue from one in every five customers if you don’t make your security protocols front and center.
By using “trust signals” across your website and checkout, you can boost customer confidence and increase sales. Trust signals include:
- Recognizable security badges, such as from McAfee or GeoTrust. Over 75% of customers said they didn’t buy because they didn’t recognize the trust logos used.
- An SSL certificate. This certification shows visitors that your website is secure and encrypted by prompting your browser to show a padlock logo in the address bar when you visit certain sites.
Another way to encourage customers to trust your checkout is by offering recognizable express payment options, such as PayPal and Apple Pay. Theses trusted payment options not only add convenience but can also alleviate security concerns by only requiring login info rather than credit card details.
4. Be transparent and upfront about all costs
Transparency is an integral part of the ecommerce customer experience, from browsing through buying and beyond. First and foremost, make sure that your product pages are descriptive and honest, and include high-quality, accurate product photos.
88% of shoppers say that detailed product information is “extremely important” to their purchasing decision. Giving honest info about your product upfront can also decrease returns later on.
A newer trend in apparel is to allow shoppers to “try before they buy.” This methods helps customers get to try your products before they purchase them — the exact same way they do in physical stores. However, this can lead to a much higher return rate.
Speaking of returns, make sure your return policy is clear and straightforward. Because ecommerce often requires customers to make a purchase decision without ever having seen an item in person, a good return policy is integral to encouraging customer trust.
In fact, 66% of shoppers review a retailer’s return policy before buying. There should be no hidden fees associated with returns. 74% of shoppers won’t complete a purchase if there are returns shipping fees, so, if possible, we recommend offering free returns.
Finally, be upfront and honest about your delivery options and shipping costs. Make sure that you provide clear delivery date estimates and tracking information to your customers.
If you choose to outsource ecommerce fulfillment to a tech-enabled third-party fulfillment provider, you can access a complete view of each order — from the moment it’s placed online to the moment it is delivered to your customer’s doorstep — and automatically pass tracking info along to your customer. This helps ensure greater precision, transparency, and, ultimately, trust.
If shoppers don’t trust your brand and checkout, you could be missing out on tons of online sales, especially in the early days of your new ecommerce store. But building trust is just one piece of the customer acquisition puzzle. Learn how to define and market to your target customers to increase conversions and build brand loyalty in our Ecommerce Guide to Getting (and Keeping) Customers.