Do Your Customers Trust You?


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Making a purchase online, especially a substantial one, can be a nerve-wracking process for a consumer. The primary problem, aside from price, is trust. Shoppers negotiate their relationship with the vendor in much the same way they negotiate relationships with any stranger: by seeking information.

What an online vendor lacks (and what becomes a disadvantage) is one-on-one interaction with the customer. As such, the customer must put forth additional effort to find out about a product for sale. Making this task easier can make all the difference in closing a sale.

According to GetElastic, an online retailer should strive to answer these customer questions ahead of time to reduce purchase anxiety:

·    Quality of the product
·    Quality and reliability of your customer service
·    Will the item arrive on time?
·    Will the product be as described or as appears on screen? Is it the right color or size?
·    Will it fit? Is this item true to size?
·    What if the product needs to be returned?
·    Is this site secure (privacy, credit card information)?
·    Is this really the best price?

According to one survey, 76 percent of respondents cited insufficient product information as a reason not to purchase, 79 percent rarely or never purchase with incomplete information, and 72 percent will abandon a site for a competitor or further research, usually finding the product elsewhere.
Building Customer Trust
GetElastic.com says the top ten aspects of the online purchase process rated as “very important” to consumers reflected just two prime consumer motivations: gathering information and customer support. The top five, in this order were Product Overview, Merchant’s Guarantee, Stock Availability, Quality of Image, Customer Service Links.

Consumers want complete specs, and they want to know the online vendor will be there for them if something goes wrong.

This isn’t unusual human behavior, of course. Communication scholars love to toss about Uncertainty Reduction Theory, which has been around for over 30 years. According to this theory, humans follow a predictable pattern of information gathering when they encounter a stranger.

Uncertainty about the stranger causes anxiety and distrust, and so seeking out information is a natural way of decreasing uncertainty and anxiety, and of building trust.

E-tailers, then, need to build trust by making sure information is available and easily accessed. Without face-to-face interaction and without the ability to compensate for that lack with complete information, the customer isn’t going to risk doing business.


Do Your Customers Trust You?
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  • http://www.vinfotech.com/ Web Development Company

    see u can’t destroy the traditional market and can’t change the behavior of a human. it is true there is lot of risk involved and a greater trust building measures from online shops in definitely desired

  • Kristen

    One of the advantages of online purchasing that I have come to rely on are customer reviews. The advice of random strangers who have detailed their experience with a particular product seems more trustworthy to me that third party advocates whose motives may be influenced by bias or paid reviews. Most valuable to me are reviews or sites where the person commenting identifies how long they have used a product, their expectations of a product and their own personal level of expertise where relevant. This is something that is not available in an in-store purchase environment.

    Also, where trust is concerned, I find myself willing to take more chances with online companies as my trust is errodes in compaines with traditional store locations. The process of returning something to an online vendor has been far easier for me than attempting to resolve any issues through the customer service desk in-person. Viva online purchasing!

  • http://www.yourseomentor.com Garrett Pierson

    Another great way to build trust is by using Trust Seals like McAfee Secure, Trust Guard, BBBOnline.

    Thanks for the great article!

  • http://www.womeninprimerica.com Yvonne Finn

    Thanks for the above article.
    It is very timely, as many business owners start the New Year hoping to attract and keep clients.
    I agree with all that was said and would like to add that building trust takes time and will have to be a sincere by-product of all dealings with the customer.

    Those businesses that have their customers best interest at heart and are willing to take the time to demonstrate this will ALWAYS have success in the long run.

    Happy New and Succesful New Year!

  • http://www.lubedealer.com/hiebert R. Hiebert

    Trust, in my opinion, is somewhat too general. It could mean examples ie. will your prices increase once I’m committed or will the products arrive in a reasonable time after payment? Now days, it might mean, will you still exist in a couple months?
    Personally, reflect details to inquirers that show the product or company has been around for thirty plus years and has seen its share of dry deserts, mountain and valleys in the economy. When I take somebody’s money, I will do my damd’est to see to it that he gets what he paid for. If it’s a lack of information or communication, then I’ll give and/or take – whatever is needed.
    If it requires hands on or face to face time, then that what I’ll do but usually the integrity of the product and people before me have solved that.

  • http://www.homesteadusers.com Jordy

    One thing that I love about uploading videos to Youtube, I am able to establish who I am to my viewers. Building trust by using Youtube is tops in my methods for letting people know who they are dealing with.

    I recently launched a product, that I developed, on the Internet. While I was developing the product, I started uploading videos to Youtube and building trust by offering “free how to” advice by way of this great media tool.

    When I launched the product many of the people who purchased it were either on my Youtube subscribers list or had opted into an email list through a link that I had posted in the “more info” section.

  • http://www.bosvark.padda.co.za Rudi Man in ‘t Veld

    Thanks for the great article, on my sites I actually force my visitors to contact the merchant to have one- to- one conversation to finalize the sale and not to buy online and it seems to work in other words I let him use the internet for research only. I realize ZA is different from the USA but we trust people less

  • http://www.firmalatter.dk Ejvind

    Thanks for enlarging my knowledge. It seems that there are a great deal of ways to make people feel safe in buying product. I will start using them right away.

    In Europe we use the E-commerce approval seal – have you any experience with that?

  • http://www.marketing-junkie.com Stacy Karacostas

    Hi Jason,
    Terrific article! The days of just putting up any old Website and having it generate tons of sales are long gone.

    It’s critically important that you give site visitors all the information they need to confidently take the next step…whether that’s buying from you, signing up for a newsletter, or picking up the phone and making an appointment.

    Sadly, all too often Web developers and designers try to restrict the amount of content you can put on any one page of your site–either by the way the design it or by telling you no one reads on the Web so don’t put more than 250 words up there. I say poppycock!

    As the author of The Small Business Website Bible (http://www.smallbusinesswebsitebible.com) I’ve spent tons of time helping clients and customers make their Websites more effective, and regularly see a 300% or more increase in their leads and sales as a result.

    Here are a few simple ways to improve response on any Website:
    1) Make your site so easy to navigate a 4-yr old could find what they’re looking for (that means keeping it clear and consistent).
    2) Be sure to include enough content to answer all their questions, deals with all their objections and give them all the info needed to confidently take action–no more and no less.
    3) Build trust and credibility by including an address and phone number, photos of real people at your company, testimonials, and audio and video.

    I go into WAY more detail in my book. But hopefully these suggestions will help your readers make their Websites more effective.

    Here’s to an amazing ’09!


    Stacy Karacostas
    Practical Marketing Expert

  • http://peacerumble.com Chris

    Very informative and helpful. Thanks

  • http://www.catdoor.net L.W.

    We really appreciate these articles. Always interesting!

  • http://zen-seo.eu Zen-SEO

    It is difficult to get customer trust. We should have some security certification to show, that someone else trust us. We should have proof of our honest as soon as possible.

    • http://organicbabe.com.au Pam McLennan

      One of the things that we as an online retailer does is provide confidence for our buyer by supplying full name and address and telephone numbers. I dont know about you but whilst it is a risk sometimes, I wonder when I look up the contact details first before making a sale, whether this company/person is really legitimate or not and honestly dont like the idea of a post office box number.
      All our customers we have asked does this makes a difference with us supplying as many details as possbile and everyone said yes.

  • http://www.epressreleases.org/submit-press-release.htm Submit Press Releae

    Yes, It is very hard to create TRUST for online products or service selling site.

    But if you use Online SEO Press Release to educate visitors then you
    easily generate TRUST for your BRAND.

    Try ePressReleaes.org for SEO PR Distribution.


  • http://www.web4business.com.au Ivana

    In order to convert visitors into paying customers, you need to prove your credibility

  • http://www.orglearn.org Ric Townsend

    To be trusted as a seller, internet (or not) customers need to understand your intent and believe they can find a worry free purchase environment where their faith in the seller is confirmed and supported by a consistent track record of successful transactions, probably best supported by testimonials.

    Transparency I agree is critical and the communication medium being used (writing, video or whatever) needs to successfully demonstrate full technical details and specs, performance guarantees, a service (repair or return policy) and a 30 to 45 day money-back guarantee.

    A personally company owned and operated service/help support system is much better than a third party operation which many web host companies (for example) use. There is nothing worse than sending off a support request only to be referred to XYZ support services.

    A listed real address and phone number I believe is also essential.

    Ric http://www.orglearn.org

  • http://www.endai.com Internet Marketing Company

    Great comments. Internet marketing companies and online retailers should study their web analytics to better understand choke points and abandonment rates. With these identified, you can narrow you focus on “real” problems rather than gut feeling or perceived problems. Additionally, if you treat web analytics as predictive data rather than reporting and “news”, you can pro-actively make changes, monitor, tweak and optimize until you increase efficacy.

  • http://seoexpert.in Narendra Sen

    Thanks for the above article.
    It is very timely, as many business owners start the New Year hoping to attract and keep clients. and its helpful for our business. we are into online marketing Thanks for the great article!

  • http://seoexpert.in seo company

    Internet marketing companies and online retailers should study their web analytics to better understand choke points and abandonment rates. With these identified, you can narrow you focus on “real” problems rather than gut feeling or perceived problems

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