10 Cardinal Rules of eCommerce Customer Confidence
by Shana Leslie
The safer a shopper feels on your ecommerce website, the more likely she is to click that “Buy Now” button. Customer confidence is consistently cited as one of the most important factors affecting ecommerce sales. People have finally realized the Internet is a safe, efficient, and practical way to shop. At the same time they’ve learned to be wary of Internet scams and fly-by-night websites. Follow these ten cardinal rules and your website visitors will know your website belongs to a dependable, professional business.
1. Have a professionally designed website.
If your website looks like your neighbor designed it, it’s time to call a professional. Ecommerce sites should be aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and customized to match the look and feel of your business. Outdated, generic websites portray an unprofessional attitude. They say, “We don’t think much of our website. Why should you?”
If you can’t afford a custom design, consider having a custom header graphic made to use in an inexpensive template. Another option is to pay a website designer for a consultation. He or she can give your site a review, check its structure and navigation, and identify problem areas.
2. Provide quality website content.
Quality content is engaging and enlightening. Not only is it free of spelling and grammatical errors, it offers information of genuine value. Provide quality content and your customers will know you’re not just an online store, but a trustworthy resource for knowledge and guidance.
Boosting customer confidence isn’t the only benefit of excellent ecommerce website copy. Google and other search engines give priority to websites that are frequently updated with well-written articles. Be warned that your content should be unique; those same search engines penalize websites with duplicated text.
3. Put your contact info on every page.
An ecommerce website with no contact information sets off alarm bells. Every page of your site should clearly display how customers can get in touch with you. People want to feel like there’s a real-life person on the other side of the screen, so include a phone number along with an email address or contact form.
4. Clearly display your terms & conditions.
Every ecommerce website needs a page devoted to your company’s terms and conditions, often called a policies page. This both legally protects you and assures customers they’re dealing with a legitimate, up-front business.
It’s best to have an attorney draft a policy page specifically for your company but tone back the legalese so it’s still easy to understand. If you opt to write your own policies page, make sure to spend some time on the Federal Trade Commission’s website learning about the requirements of doing business online. Also read over the terms and conditions pages of other ecommerce websites so you know you’ve included everything.
6. Include customer generated content.
Consumers will always trust other consumers before they will trust a business. You can easily provide a testimonials page, or a guestbook where customers can leave feedback and comments. Some ecommerce solution providers offer product up-selling features like product review or product rating widgets. These allow customers to see what others think about a product. If you don’t have access to such fancy features, contact a few loyal customers for testimonial quotes you can use on your website.
7. Post pictures of real people, like the owners and employees.
Everyone likes a smiling face. People are instantly and subconsciously engaged by candid shots of other people. By posting pictures of your business’s owners, employees, and workspace, website visitors feel like they’ve been allowed to see behind-the-scenes. It puts a human touch on an otherwise impersonal experience. Stamping your own face on your website also tells the world that you have nothing to hide, and that you’re proud of what you do.
8. Provide a safe website.
9. Communicate with your customers.
Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints among Internet shoppers. Communicate with customers in a timely manner to allay any fears. Make them feel even safer by making those emails sound as personal as possible, with a real name and phone number in the signature line. This lets them know there’s an actual person handling their order. If there is a problem, such as an out-of-stock item or a shipping delay, let your customer know immediately. Most people understand if there’s an issue but only if you’re up front about the situation.
10. Deliver on your promises.
The most critical factor affecting your website’s credibility is whether or not you deliver quality goods as promised. Make sure your products arrive as agreed, and word will spread that your ecommerce site can be trusted. More than ever before consumers are researching products and businesses online. When your digital reputation shines the sales will follow.
10 Cardinal Rules of eCommerce Customer Confidence