How to Increase Customer Confidence
The global online retail market is booming, with $59.5 billion spent online in the US in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone. One study estimates the European e-commerce market to be worth 300 billion Euros in 2012 and another estimated the UK’s internet business to be worth £100 billion in 2010. These are staggering numbers, and reiterate that it has never been more important for businesses to have an online presence.
Selling online is dramatically different to selling in traditional bricks and mortar stores. The tangibility of a physical store evokes trust in a business’ operations. A customer can walk into a store and physically examine the product. This isn’t possible online. Add in the fact that all online payments are processed electronically, along with the deep penetration of credit card fraud, and you have customers that are unsurprisingly wary of buying anything online from unrecognized sources. Thus, the biggest challenge every online retail operation must overcome is increasing customer confidence and perpetuating an element of trust.
Fortunately, there are a few easy ways you can increase customer confidence online:
Accreditation and Security Logos are Your Friends
The first thing a customer will look for before conducting a transaction on your website will be security and accreditation logos. These include SSI certificates, Better Business Bureau accreditation, MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa logos, TRUSTe certifications, etc. A third party accreditation basically tells the customer that your site is trustworthy and has been certified so by respected agencies. For a new online business without immediate brand recognition, this validation can go a long way in establishing customer confidence. If you need a third party accreditation for your online business, visit First Data Merchant Solutions, who specialize in offering merchant solutions, including enabling clients to accept card payments online via their websites.
Make it Easy to Get in Touch With You
One of the worst mistakes an online business can make is to hide its contact details. A business that doesn’t put its phone number and email address upfront and center is a business that has something to hide – at least in the eyes of the customer. Ideally, you should have a contact number or email button located in a visible section of the webpage (usually in the top right hand corner). This tells the customer that you are real and can be easily reached in case of any issues with the transaction.
Use Creative, Professional Web Design
Would you really do business with a website that looks like it was pulled from a GeoCities page in 1998? A creative, visually attractive website design can help establish trust and assure the customer that you are a legitimate entity. Few fly-by-night operators are willing to invest in high quality web design. When customers see that you have put in time and effort to make your business stand out from the crowd, they are much more likely to trust you.
Have a Social Media Presence
Customers feel reassured when they realize that a business is being run by real, honest people. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts are great ways to give your business that human face. Your social media presence could cover news and updates concerning your specialist field, perhaps with a focus should be the people working behind the scenes of the business and what makes your business special (“family run business”, “cutting-edge tech startup”, “innovative research company”, “great work culture”, etc.).
A fundamental law of copywriting is to avoid jargon and speak to the customer in a friendly, empathetic voice. Customers feel intimidated when confronted with jargon and unfriendly language. Your website copy should be easy to read and follow, and make the customer feel at home.
Last, but not least, make sure that you include compelling testimonials from your actual customers. Studies indicate that testimonials can increase conversions by acting as ‘social proof’ of your business. Customers are much more likely to trust your services when they see others praising your business.