The Trust Factor

What is the purpose of your online store?

Let me guess… You want to spend hundreds of dollars on PPC and not convert the visitors? You want to build your traffic up so you can brag, then do things to prevent the shoppers from buying anything? Seriously, we all want to make money.

Business: A continuous and regular activity that has income or profit as its primary purpose.

Ok now we know why, but how on earth are we going to convince people to buy… Better question yet, convince shoppers to buy more, more often and more easily. The way I see things is this, shoppers have become “web experts” (at least they believe so). The average online shopper is in fact far less likely to be tricked or misled.

“It only takes on bad apple to spoil the bushel”. Fact is, as a very generalized whole, we the webmasters, shop owners and SEOs have brought this suspicious Internet surfer to their present un-trusting and un-loyal state. Lack of transparency, tricks and general shenanigans to take advantage of visitors has caused an Internet disease among web surfers. All the squeeze pages and spamming has honestly cast a shadow on all site owners in the eyes of the public. So how do you exclude yourself from this group?

There are some very specific techniques to improve your shopper’s trust, but generally speaking you only have to earn their trust… Hmmm just like any other business. Before you read on clear your mind of what everyone else does, what you used to do and most importantly put yourself in the shopper’s position.

  1. Can customers easily find your contact information? Or do you look like your store is a scam? There is no valid reason in this age of technology for a shop not to display a contact number… Shoppers know this too.
  2. Do you display “Trust Seals” yet fail to offer simple trust to your shoppers in return? This is simple, if you feel you need such symbols to elicit a visitors trust, then very obviously you have put a band aid on your trust issue and tried to take the easy way out. Seal or no seal if your store has less than honest elements shoppers will still find you unable to be trusted, seal or not.
  3. Spam is a big one and in fact some of the spamming techniques used by site owners borders on criminal. How pissed is a shopper searching for “red blocks” and clicks in to your site to fine “blue blocks”… Oh yeah pissing off shoppers will convert them, right?
  4. Are you one of those shop owners cross selling 16 unrelated widgets on every product page? Internet users are not only hip to this, but you come off like a car salesman in a brown plaid coat chasing them around the site.
  5. Can shoppers find your products without have to click through 10 pages of what they don’t want? Keep you navigation within 3 clicks to product and sorted in a fashion shoppers can understand. TIP: shoppers are not search engines.
  6. This one really get me… I will leave a store for this one. When a shopper adds an item to their cart are you taking them to their cart and offering them the option of checking out or are you letting your sales is king mentality screw you over. Heres the thing, many times shoppers miss a “added to cart alert” and then have to search out their cart to confirm the price and addition. Are you so sales hungry that you would prevent a customer from checking out with one item? Offer them a choice, continue shopping or checkout!
  7. Do you have a proper SSL? I don’t care if you use PayPal only, get an SSL and tell your shoppers how to determine if the page is encrypted. Then make damn sure you have NO unencrypted items on those pages. Google may be able to get away with this, but you’re not Google.
  8. Display your sale or discount prices in the very first page of checkout. If you don’t shoppers will likely assume your cart is broken and leave for the other hundred million results for the product.
  9. Product descriptions must be designed to inform and gain trust. This is a key piece, not only do you need to text to rank that product page with… But you have to provide all the details to convert the sale. No trickery here, just the facts.
  10. If you are automatically adding customers to a newsletter or email list by default, STOP NOW. Even if they catch the default checked box you have just convinced them you are a spammer.

Certainly gaining the trust of your shoppers is a very complicated area and we have not even covered 5% of the things you need to do. So PPC, banner Ads and squeeze pages are failing… We know this, hell even Google knows this. What do you suppose is the new marketing vantage in this web 2.0 surfer savvy marketplace? It is trust, pure and simple.

One response to “The Trust Factor”

  1. […] Store Contact Info: These things really irritate me as well. Is your phone number posted clearly on your website? What you don’t have one… I’m leaving, this store is probably a scheme run by some eBayer and I’m gona get screwed. How about this one? I come to your store and have a question… So I email you. Your response comes from some GMail or AOL address… Do you also hand out business card printed on the back of used business cards? You must build trust with your shoppers to succeed… This is no longer 1997 and we don’t fall for every trick anymore. […]