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5 Tips To Effectively Build Trust In E-Commerce Sites

Posted 23rd October, 2012 by Chris

Building trust in B2C and B2B e-commerce websites is of the utmost importance if you wish to grow and sustain a successful consumer base for your online business. With fraud, identity theft and cybercrime on the rise, it has never been more important to convey your reliability and credibility to the end user. Research by The Office of Fair Trading highlights that almost a third of UK internet users choose not to shop online because they don't trust the system.

Through hosting and supporting tens of thousands of e-commerce websites, we see time and time again that small businesses fail to take the basic steps needed to validate and secure their online presence, resulting in a loss of visitors, sales and return business. As we want our customers to succeed, we have formulated five recommendations, to help small business owners avoid common mistakes and develop an e-commerce experience that is secure and trusted.

1. Have A Website That 'Just Works'

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It seems blindingly obvious, but you'd be surprised how often we see sites which are fundamentally broken or fail to operate as the user expects. It can be a frustrating and sometimes painful process, but it is essential to invest time to ensure your website works and emanates professionalism. Fast load speeds, full functionality and a clean, uncluttered design will enforce to the user that you're a professional outfit with a product or service to match.

Before launching your site we recommend you run through these basic checks to avoid embarrassing mistakes which could have a detrimental impact on your company's image:

  • Ensure your site works as expected across key browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, IE7+).
  • Proofread all copy, eliminating any spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Check hyperlinks navigate to their expected targets, and forms function as intended.
  • Use image optimisation tools, such as jpegtran and optiPNG, to improve page load speeds.
  • Ensure your Javascript/CSS files are error free and compressed to improve initial load speeds.

For advanced users we highly recommend you run a website audit using a tool such as woorank.com. WooRank is a free analysis tool that provides a detailed review of your website, highlighting over 70 areas for potential improvement including suggestions on SEO, usability, social impact and site security. If you're a Tsohost customer with a Virtual or Dedicated Server we also recommend you utilise a caching tool, such as Varnish Cache, which will significantly speed up your website.

2. Be Human

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In any company the people behind the business are just as important as the products and services on offer. Forge relationships with customers and increase your product/service credibility by showcasing who you are. Include an ‘About Us’ page to highlight you and your team, what you do, your company history and most importantly your vision for the future.

Another way to effectively reduce the automated, distant nature of e-commerce is to subconsciously demonstrate your human element through effective website design. Personify your website to appropriately communicate your brand values and attributes.

3. Showcase Independent And Unaffiliated Testimonials

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Whether you’re a well established brand or new to the market, displaying customer testimonials and ratings is the perfect way to install trust in potential buyers. Research by PayPoint.net shows that 54% of online shoppers are reassured by other customers experience, and 62% of consumers actively seek reviews before deciding to purchase.

Your website should display impartial and honest reviews that are easily accessible to visitors browsing your site. Demonstrate that you listen by effectively acting upon what is being communicated through customer reviews, be it negative or positive. Knowing you care increases trust and confidence amongst consumers, both of which are key components to a beneficial B2C/B2B relationship.

4. Secure Your Site, Get a Trusted Commerce Seal

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Having a secure website is a critical element to building online trust with consumers. The inclusion of a trusted commerce seal highlights good business practice and communicates to the customer that your site is a safe place to do business. A signed SSL Certificate from Tsohost not only facilitates a secure and encrypted connection to your site, it also verifies your identity so that the client can be reassured that their sensitive information is safe. The user will see a 'padlock' symbol or a green 'https' in their browser, assuring them of the authenticity of your business. Certificates start from as little as £49.99 a year and include up to 256-bit encryption and a 10,000 USD warranty.

5. Show Your Willingness To Support Customers

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Consumers want to be 100% certain that they can contact a company, preferably a human being, both prior to ordering and after, should a problem arise with the product they purchased. Reassure customers this is possible by displaying several forms of contact (telephone and email) in highly visible areas, preferably above the page fold. Additionally, you should actively encourage communication so the consumer never forgets there is a helping hand if required; do this by suggesting that visitors ‘contact’ a member of staff should they have any questions.


Categories: eCommerce, Security, SSL, Tips

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