7 Tips to Help Merchants Build Trust and Increase Sales

When it comes to eCommerce, there are many factors that determine the success of your business. Each and every aspect of your website must be built with the customer in mind. Building trust is one of those factors, and one of the greatest challenges for online retailers looking to reduce shopping cart abandonment, regardless of their size.

Whenever an online entity is asking for personal details like credit card billing information, consumers need to be reassured that it will be kept safe and confidential.To build this trust, businesses need to show that their company is human, caring, trustworthy and secure, so that site visitors will feel sufficiently comfortable interacting with the site.

This feeling of trust, when achieved, is what will ultimately turn a browser into a buyer. Of course, translating the idea of trust into something actionable is the real challenge. The fact is, building trust is an ongoing process. As a part of that process, below are 7 steps you can take to help make your online venture as successful as possible:

1.     Go Where Your Customers Are

Talk to your customers, and put yourself out there as a subject expert in industry events. Volunteer to speak at conferences, speak up in online forums, and contribute to industry blogs. Start a Twitter or Facebook account for your business, and interact regularly with your community through social media channels.

2.     Location, Location, Location

Reassure customers that your business is real. This is especially challenging for the many online retailers whose consumers have never seen their brick and mortar store. If you have a physical office, include the address and a map to the location. Include your contact information, and a specific email address. For example, “Contact Sales@yourcompany.com” is not nearly as convincing as “Contact Gary Smith, a lifetime Napa resident and wine expert, for the latest on this year’s most popular releases: Sales@yourcompany.com.”

3.     Provide a Clean, Well Lit Space

A website’s user interface is always important, but it becomes even more critical when your site is prompting users to enter sensitive payment information. Navigation should be clean and intuitive, and website design should always follow industry best practices.

4.     Give it Back

Always have a clear refund and returns policy displayed prominently on your website. If the item you send to the customer doesn’t fit, is defective, or is simply the wrong color, they will need step-by-step instructions right away on what they need to do and when to return it.

5.     Tell Them Who You Are

Demonstrate that you’re a legitimate, functioning business even if you don’t have a brick and mortar store by telling customers who you are. Add an ‘About Us’ and ‘Staff Bios’ section to your website with a company history – letting your unique personality shine through. Share your interests and goals by introducing employees who are enthusiasts or experts in the market you serve. Be honest, include photos, and present your company as a professional business that just happens to be small.

6.     Let Them Know How Others See You

Include links to relevant media coverage on your company, your employees, and your successes. Leave the fluff to your competitors, and avoid gratuitous press release marketing. Focus on customer reviews, product reviews, and corporate blog posts. Don’t be afraid to post third party content, and seek to become a credible voice in your industry.

7.     Give Them a Safety Blanket

All of the earlier tips are designed to make people feel comfortable with you as a product source. But if a consumer ultimately doesn’t trust you with their personal financial information, you won’t close the sale. According to a recent McAfee study, only about a third of online consumers believe that most websites are safe for shopping. The majority of online consumers, 84%, continue to have some level of concern when providing personal information online.

The McAfee SECURE™ trustmark helps address these security concerns. All the privacy guarantees in the world fall flat if you can’t secure and protect the information that shoppers entrust to you. The McAfee SECURE service combines McAfee SiteAdvisor® software with comprehensive daily security vulnerability scanning to protect retailers against hackers and data thieves, and the trustmark has been proven to increase site conversion by making risk-averse or risk-conscious shoppers comfortable on your website.

For more information on the McAfee SECURE trustmark, visit our website at www.mcafeesecure.com, and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @McAfeeSECURE for the latest updates on eCommerce news, resources and events. You can also download our whitepaper, 10 Tips to Building Trust Online, for more steps you can take to boost the success of your online business.

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Story added 23. March 2012, content source with full text you can find at link above.