There are many challenges associated with running an ecommerce business.
The most important and most daunting of these trials and tribulations is the art of getting noticed.
Ecommerce is a massive slice of the global economy. Even many brick-and-mortar stores now have some kind of ecommerce leg of their overall business umbrella.
So you’re dealing with a lot of competition.
Getting noticed is hard enough. But once potential customers find your store, they have to be impressed with more than just your products.
Your website presentation has a lot to do with your conversion rate. If people find a cluttered mess with no security and no assurance of quality, you’re going to lose a lot of potential business.
There are several ways you can overcome credibility issues with your online store.
This article will cover the top five:
- Ensuring that the store is laid out properly
- Making your contact information readily available
- Including customer reviews and testimonials
- Showcasing your site’s security measures to ease safety concerns
- Demonstrating your authority and accolades that make you an expert in your industry
This guide will give you advice about how you can move past these issues to maximize sales from your online shop.
Ecommerce Credibility Issue #1: Cluttered Online Store
Nothing makes a potential customer abandon ship faster than a cluttered online store that is not user-friendly.
There are three primary strategies when it comes to decluttering your online store:
The ease of navigation is a major factor that cannot be ignored or overstated. It stands to reason that the entry point for your customers won’t be the product or service that they’re seeking.
They will have to look through the site and shop around — like a physical shopper wandering the aisles of a brick and mortar store.
To that end, your products have to be divided into distinct sections. If users have a hard time working their way through your site, they’re going to click away and find one of your competitors.
#2. Ensure your Website is Visually Appealing
First impressions count for a lot in the shopping world. Once upon a time, it was your storefront that had to capture the attention, hearts and minds of your customers.
Now, it’s your website.
The design of your website has become the new customer first impression. It’s as important as storefronts once were.
Users tend to take two factors into account when determining how impressive a website design is: visual complexity, and how the design looks as opposed to others in the same category.
When a user navigates to your site, they make an initial judgment within 17 to 50 milliseconds of the page loading. To put that in perspective, the average human eye blink takes between 100 and 400 milliseconds.
That means the initial judgment of your site is purely cosmetic. There’s not enough time to form an opinion on your features or sections in that brief instant.
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#3. Maximize your Website’s Speed
Your website has to be visually appealing, but it also has to be fast.
People don’t want to wait for pages to load up. If your store takes forever to load product pages, you will find your potential customers abandoning your site in droves.
- Make it pretty
- Make it organized
- Make it fast
Ecommerce Credibility Issue #2: A Lack of Contact Information or Support
One of the number one issues that can kill a business is customer support. Your customers need to know that when they need help, there’s someone there.
That means your customers need to be able to contact you whenever they want from wherever they want.
Take a look at the image below. Those numbers speak for themselves:
When customers see no viable support options, they will typically abandon you right away. If they fail to notice the lack of contact information and continue until they have an issue, chances are they’ll be even angrier when they find no support information.
While it’s true that customers will leave a site with no support, they will take a torch to the reputation of a website that they’re doing business with that has no support.
Reports of lackluster or nonexistent customer service will keep even more potential customers away from your site.
Contact Information Best Practices
There are a few best practices you should consider implementing when it comes time to put your customer support on display:
- Contact information listed on every page of the site
- A static support link in the site’s header that appears on every page
- An online chat support feature that sits in the bottom corner of your site
- Online chat is available to customers 24/7 (if you serve a global audience).
Ecommerce Credibility Issue #3: No Testimonials
There’s a solid truth throughout the business world:
Consumers don’t trust companies.
It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s the truth.
The general public distrusts corporate messaging. They’re always looking out for the next scam artist or con man trying to take their money.
That’s why customer reviews have become such an essential part of the shopping process. Before a customer makes a purchase, they will often look at product reviews or reviews about the company as a whole.
They will do this on both your site and on other popular third party sites like Facebook and Yelp.
If you don’t have testimonials, you’re fighting an uphill battle in earning the trust of your potential customers.
Why Do Customers Love Testimonials?
Customers are more willing to trust the experiences and opinions of their peers over corporate messaging. That’s because corporate messaging is often one-sided.
What company is going to point out a list of helpful cons about itself and its products?
Not a single one.
That’s why trust is built on the review list.
Testimonials showcase peer opinions, and that goes a long way toward providing an accurate portrait of a company.
Many of your prospective customers have similar views to those who will be reviewing your products. Many of them come equipped with the same pain points that drove those initial customers to make a purchase in the first place.
Prospects want to know that people like them have come to your company, purchased your products, had a positive experience, and solved their issues.
You can boast until the cows come home, but it will never carry the weight of a customer review.
Customer Review Best Practices
Written reviews are great, and you should have a review section for every product on your site. You should also feature video testimonials.
Why do you want video reviews?
They’re easier for prospects to digest. A visual representation of the customer and how their issues were resolved can go a long way toward establishing trust.
These videos don’t have to be about specific products. That would be a long and involved process. Video testimonials should speak to the general effectiveness of your company as a whole.
Your testimonials page should be well designed and easily navigated. Avoid the “talking heads” cliche where the video is just a single camera angle on a customer telling a story.
Here are a few customer testimonial tips:
- Interview multiple customers
- Film some B-roll footage
- Edit between angles for increased engagement
- Add music in the background
- Don’t script the reviewing customers. Let them tell their stories and speak from the heart. Customers can tell when someone is not genuine.
- It can’t ever feel like corporate messaging.
Ecommerce Credibility Issue #4: A Lack of Apparent Security
Every online store needs security. You likely have security in place to protect your store and to protect the personal information of your customers.
But if the customer doesn’t know that, they won’t trust your ability to keep them safe.
Much like in the previous section on reviews, it’s important to remember that customers are wary of scams. Whenever they have to enter their credit card information, it can be scary.
To that end, it’s vital that you highlight everything you’re doing to protect the identities and personal information of your customers. Make sure that your security specs are shown on full blast. They should appear on the main site and every product page.
It’s also a good idea to assure customers how you’re going to protect them throughout the checkout process. It’s especially important to keep this information close to the spot where they have to enter their card information.
If you’re using specific encryption or advanced security, show it as a means of reassurance.
You might also want to consider PayPal as a payment option. When customers pay through PayPal, they won’t have to enter their credit card information directly through your site. Instead, they log in through their PayPal account, where that information is already stored, and all financial transactions are conducted through this trusted third party service.
Ecommerce Credibility Issue #5: A Lack of Authority or Accolades
You need to inspire trust in your customers. That’s something that we’ve touched on quite a bit in this article. One of the best ways to instill that sense of trust is to strut your stuff on your website. You need to show visitors that you’re an authority.
If people don’t trust your expertise, you’re going to have a hard time convincing them to buy your products online.
This is also true of service-oriented ecommerce platforms.
People need to know that the services and products provided to them are going to resolve the pain points that they’re bringing to the table.
That’s why you need to do your part and let them know precisely who you are, what you do, and why you’re the best in the world at what you do.
This goes a long way toward that all-important establishing of trust.
Make sure that you’re showing off your accolades. If you’re a family-owned and operated business with 50+ years in the industry, that’s something you’re going to point out. Experience inspires confidence, and confidence sells.
Have you or your business received any industry-related awards? That’s something you’re going to want to tout. Being able to say that you’re an award-winning business can inspire a lot of confidence in the minds of your customers.
Additionally, if you’ve received any specialized certifications in your industry that adds to your overall reputation and effectiveness, you should make sure that you are listing them on your site.
How Effective are Accolades?
People need to know that you’re the real deal if they’re going to support your business.
Accolades accomplish that.
If you’re skeptical about that fact, take a look at the following information.
Express Watches decided to start listing accolades on their site.
Here are the results:
- Adding accolades led to a 107% increase in sales for Express Watches
- The company’s online conversion rate rose from 1.81% to 3.76%
These numbers don’t lie. To sell your products, make sure you’re selling yourself.
You can have all the fantastic products in the world listed on your online store, but without credibility, you’ve got nothing.
It’s essential to look out for these common pitfalls that can take a company’s credibility and force it to plummet into obscurity.
Don’t let your business credibility fall by the wayside.
Improve your design, list your support options, provide reviews and testimonials, point out your security features, and highlight your authority/accolades.
By following these five steps, you can increase your standing and trust with your intended audience and rocket your business to the top of the ecommerce world.