How to Build Trust with Online Shoppers: An Actionable Guide
If you want to succeed in the increasingly competitive world of ecommerce, you have to work hard to build trust with your target audience.
In ecommerce, trust is not something you can build once and secure forever. Building trust requires constant attention and effort. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of work, but if you can do it, the rewards can be big.
When people trust you, they buy from you, they spend more with you, they become loyal to you, they refer others to you, and they help keep your business alive and growing.
So, how do you do it? There’s no perfect equation that is guaranteed to work for every ecommerce business, but there are a number of common tactics worth trying.
Here are 7 trust-building tactics you can experiment with at your business this year:
1. Product Videos
One of the best ways you can start building trust when you’re in the ecommerce business is to produce, publish, and share videos of the products you want the people in your target audience to buy.
As an ecommerce business owner or marketer, it’s important to remember that your prospective customers don’t get to shop online the same way they would in an actual store. They can’t hold your products in their hands or see them up close and in-person. They can’t feel them, hear them, or smell them either.
That’s why, in ecommerce, you have to work extra hard to build trust and convince people that your products are worth buying.
Product videos can help you fill the gap that exists for consumers when it comes to shopping online. Videos allow viewers to see your products up close and from multiple angles. They also give you the opportunity to shape the story or experience you ultimately want your prospective customers to feel when they are researching and deciding whether to buy your products.
Videos are powerful selling tools. Consider the following:
- Almost 80% of people state that product videos give them more confidence when purchasing a product (Wyzowl).
- 73% more visitors who watch product videos will buy and 57% are less surprised by products with video (HubSpot).
- Businesses that use videos see on average 34% higher online conversion rates than those without videos (Wipster).
Want to learn more about how to start creating product videos for your online store? Check out this comprehensive guide from BigCommerce.
2. Brand Stories
Another great way to build trust with your target audience is by shaping and sharing stories about your brand, Brand stories help your prospective customers understand who you are, what you believe, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what the future looks like for your business and products.
Brand stories can also be used to give consumers a better idea of how your products are made, where they come from, who handles them, and what makes them different.
Online consumers today aren’t just looking for the right products to buy—they’re also searching for the right businesses and missions to support. As an ecommerce entrepreneur, it’s your job to establish, maintain, and nurture authentic relationships with your past, current, and future customers. Brand storytelling is one way to do it.
Some examples of brand storytelling content include things like:
- About pages
- Origin story videos
- Interviews with founders and employees
- Company timelines
- Photos from then and now
- About us content on product pages
- Brand story supporting material in product packaging
3. Original Content
You can also build trust by leveraging yourself as a trusted resource for the people in your target audience. These days, online shoppers aren’t just using search engines to find products—they’re also using search engines to find answers and gather potential solutions to their problems.
As an ecommerce business owner, you have the opportunity to position yourself and your brand as a resource they can turn to when they need help. That’s where content creation comes into play.
Here’s a list of the types of content you should be creating for your audience in order to start building trust and seeing actual ROI from your efforts:
- Niche Topic Content – Content that relates to a specific topic or theme that you and your customers are passionate about or interested in. For example, if you sell athletic clothes, you might write content about running or working out. If you sell camera equipment, you might write about traveling or adventures.
- Community-Driven Content – Content that very specifically serves the people you’re regularly interacting with on places like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With this type of content, you’re responding to questions or conversation topics with rich, original content that aims to help and answer questions.
- SEO Content – Content that targets specific keywords or keyword phrases that you want to rank for in search engines like Google. The key here is to create content that your target audience can find when they are using Google to find answers or solutions to their challenges.
- Product Education Content – Content that helps answer questions that your target audience might have about your products. How-to articles are good examples of product education content.
- Media-Rich Content – Content that blends text with original photos, videos, GIFs, and other graphics in an effort to stand out and attract the people you’re trying to reach.
- Storytelling Content – Content that tells stories about your company, your products, your founders, your employees, and your customers.
- Partner Content – Content that comes from or features your vendors or partners.
- FAQ Content – Content that simply lists answers to common questions that your target audience about your products or the industry you’re operating in (example: running).
Want to start investing more in content marketing for your store? Check out this recent post that we published on the Sellbrite blog about content hubs and landing pages.
4. Live Chat
Live chat is another great way to build trust with online shoppers from the moment they land on your website for the first time. Consider the following about the relationship between brands that offer live chat and online shoppers:
- More than 42% of online shoppers prefer live chat option to solve the issues and queries during online shopping (J. D. Power).
- Roughly 44% of online customers say that having questions answered by a live person while purchasing something is one of the most important features of a website (Neil Patel).
- Over half of consumers are more likely to repurchase from a company who offer live chat support, and 79% of businesses say offering live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty (Kayako).
Implementing live chat on your ecommerce gives you the opportunity to create the right first impression with website visitors. It also makes it easier to establish and nurture relationships with potential buyers. Live chat can be a great way to show people that you care.
To add live chat to your ecommerce site, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Research tools – Do some research on the different live chat tools that exist (Kayako, Drift, Intercom, Zendesk, HubSpot), and find one that you’d like to add to your website.
- Step 2: Build your team – Ask one of your existing employees to build out and manage the live chat strategy for your business. If you don’t have anyone internally that can help, hire someone who has experience doing it in the past.
- Step 3: Create guidelines – Create documentation that help your live chat agents understand how they should be communicating with people they interact with through live chat. What voice or style should they use? How soon should they respond to messages and how soon should they resolve them? What should they do if they don’t have the answer? How should they help an unhappy visitor or customer? These are questions you should know the answer to and share with your team when you’re ready to turn live chat on.
- Step 4: Set goals – Set goals around number of chats resolved and the amount of time it took to resolve them. Track performance and help your live chat team improve.
- Step 5: Evaluate efforts – Check in with your team from time to time to find out how live chat is going. Adjust your strategy and team accordingly if needed.
The key with live chat is to be consistent, so don’t invest in it until you’re ready as a business and team. Once you start offering it on your website, your visitors will expect to hear from you within seconds. If you’re not prepared to manage it, hold off until you have the right resources in place.
5. Personalized Emails
Personalized emails can also help you build trust with potential and past customers who might be interested in purchasing products from you.
Think about it: online consumers are getting absolutely flooded with email campaigns from virtually every brand, business, and online store they’ve interacted with in the past.
It’s your job to make your emails stand out. A simple way to do it is by adding personalization to your campaigns instead of sending the same generalized email to everyone on your list.
You can personalize emails in a number of ways. Here are some ideas:
- Send customized thank you emails to each person who places an order through your website.
- Add first name greetings to the promotional emails you send out.
- Reach out on a one-to-one basis and get feedback from your newest or most loyal customers on what their buying experience was like.
- Provide personalized product recommendations based on their search history or past purchases.
- Send personalized email campaigns to different segments of your audience based on seasonality, weather, holidays, or sports teams.
To learn more about how you could be adding more personalization to your marketing campaigns, dig into this comprehensive guide.
6. Free Samples
Another clever way to build trust with the people who might purchase products from you is by offering to send them free samples of your products.
There are a few reasons why sending samples is a worthwhile tactic to test with your audience:
- Reason #1: It allows you to build a list of potential customers that you can market to through email, social ads, and direct mail.
- Reason #2: It proves to your audience that you aren’t hiding behind anything, and you aren’t trying to trick them into buying from you. You’re able to show them that you stand by your products and you simply want to help.
- Reason #3: It creates buzz and brand awareness for your business. People love the idea of getting free stuff, and once they find out you’re willing to send out free samples, word will quickly spread.
If you’re not in a position to send free samples to your audience, consider offering some sort of “try-before-you-buy” option. This kind of strategy, made famous by brands like Warby Parker, allows consumers to decide whether or not they want your products, and puts minimal financial strain on your business.
7. Badges, Grammar, Links
The final actionable tip for building trust with your audience relates to your website as a whole. Because online consumers are visiting so many websites in a given day, yours needs to be at the top of the list as far as security and reliability goes.
Online consumers, in general, have a pretty good idea of what to look for when trying to decide whether or not to trust a website with their personal or financial information.
Here are 3 areas you can optimize in order to ensure that you’re giving off the right impression to those who land on your website:
- Area #1: Trust Badges – To help online consumers understand that you’re committed to keeping their information safe and secure, add security badges and language that reinforce and remind visitors about the tools you’re using to protect them throughout the buying process.
- Area #2: Grammar – To add credibility, ensure that there are no typos, misspellings, or grammar issues on your website. These are usually easy red flags for online shopping when trying to decide how legitimate or professional your company actually is.
- Area #3: Links – It’s also important to ensure that all the navigation links and linked text and photos throughout your website goes to working, up-to-date pages. Broken links or archived pages can be another red flag that online consumers watch out for when deciding whether or not to trust you.
As a rule of thumb, audit your website every month to ensure that it continues to meet your own standards as well as the high standards and expectations that most online consumers have today.
Over to You
What are you doing to build trust with your website visitors and returning customers? Tell me in the comments below.