September’s Project: Building Trust

TrustTrust is one of those lovely catch-all terms that aims to quantify people’s individual perception of another entity. It’s typically ‘digital’ in that its jet another metric we all hope to have at our disposal but turns out we end up using a variety of other metrics as proxies. You may want to reduce the bounce rate of your website, the conversion rate, time spent on site, independent reviews scores, customer retention, average basket value and propensity to socially share your content as metrics.

If we take them as a whole and look to make general improvements in September there are quite a few actions we can take to make step-change improvements in the overall level of ‘trust’ that visitors have for e-commerce stores. These include:

1) Clean, Clear and Functional Designs
Have a look at your analytics and find design anomalies. If you’re not already using CrazyEgg, then you may want to use the ‘Page Analytics’ chrome plugin. When you visit a page on your website, you will see basic traffic statistics as well as bounce rate data and where people click on the page.

Page Analytics

When you visit a page of yours,  you will have a clear idea of what you would like customers to do. If they are not doing that, then consider either your messaging or design. Consider if your primary call to action is hidden, if people are clicking links that take them back to where they already are. Are they looking for content that could be more prominently positioned?

Although Lings Cars‘ marketing strategy is to stand out from the crowd and goes against virtually all marketing persons’ recommendations – except ‘stand out from the crowd’. Unless you’ve got the ability to pull it off, it may be better to take inspiration simple, clear themes such as the ones that our sister company and most other eCommerce platforms offer. 

We wouldn’t suggest completely redoing your website template, but taking inspiration from them and see if any simple tweaks could be made to your store.

2) Try and boost performance
Quickening the time it takes for a website to render will build subconscious levels of trust. Slower websites instill the view that the business doesn’t invest in the marketing channel, and the buying process will similarly be slow, cumbersome and not worth the effort.

You can find out how to increase your website’s load speed by visiting Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool here and submitting your URL.

Site Speed

Some of the recommendations may be beyond all but your website’s developers. While others, such as minifying HTML you may be able to do yourself – certainly try reducing the size of images.

Also, consider using the mobile-friendly tool from Google to check how easily people on mobile devices can interact and purchase from your website. Again, there may just be a few simple tweaks that, if made, could greatly enhance mobile users’ experience (and propensity to purchase).  Unlike this website that may need an entire new CMS. Just as with page speed, having a mobile-compliant website shows that you take their custom seriously enough to keep your technology up-to-date.

Not Mobile Compliant

If your site comes back as partially, mobile compliant consider using URLProfiler.com to crawl your website and get scores out of 100 for each element in Google’s mobile-compliance system. Find out more here.

3) Check your messaging and assets
If you’ve been mentioned in the press or had other web sites favorably review the products you sell then ensure these are mentioned on your website. It shows that you’re a serious business and don’t hide from the limelight. The perception is that if the press trusts you enough to be quoted in the broadsheets or appear on breakfast TV then you should be trusted by themselves.

If you haven’t already built a ‘press‘ or ‘as seen on’ section then make sure you do. Add your contact details and be willing to talk to the press.

Also, scan through your website to look for out-of-date offers, imagery, and other text. If you’re still mentioning your ‘getting ready for summer’ campaign in November, then consumers may feel you’re not all that serious about your business and be attentive to any issues that they may have.

Also look at your shopping cart page and, if you’re able to do so, at more confidence building images such as secure server buttons and even customer review aggregate scores (more on those later).

4) Clear out-of-stock products
Having category pages full of ‘out of stock’ products won’t instill confidence. It may look like you’re going out of business, it may look like you have cashflow issues, or it may just look like you don’t keep on top of things.

Of course, some products listed as ‘out of stock’ will never come back in stock. If they don’t have any links to them then 301 redirect them to a relevant category or similar product page – don’t just delete them from your system.

For those products that are temporarily out stock take the opportunity to review those pages and try and improve them as best you can as you wait for the stock to come in. Also, offer a ‘Notify me when back in stock’ option

5) Show your social credentials and proof
Social media does two great things: it shows you’re an alive and active business, and it allows you to show how others feel about you.

Using something like Buffer can allow you to keep a constant stream of useful content flowing through your social channels. While Hootsuite is a cost-effective method of monitoring your social channels and monitoring the wider social world for relevant keywords and trends.

But don’t forget to show off your social followership. Use Facebook facepiles and Twitter follower numbers and any other badge from any social platform you’re particularly liked on.

Social proof also includes publishing independent reviews that you may collate by a third party. Within your site template show these ratings and even the reviews. Perhaps at the same time, perhaps separately in different sections of your website.

Reviews Proof

6 Have prominent contact details
If people cannot easily reach you it will diminish trust. Try and keep your contact details clearly visible on your website. If you do not offer telephone-based customer support, then explain why – just as Sunshine does.

Sunshine Info

Even if you do provide email or live chat support be responsive and accurate in your replies.