The trend of buying products online rather than in brick and mortar stores continues. In September 2017, Visa announced a 6.5% increase in online spending against a 2.6% decline for physical purchases. Much of the growth online, however, comes from Amazon, Walmart, and other major e-marketers. Small e-commerce sites need to work harder to stay relevant. The first step is to win the trust of consumers.
Trust is gained on many levels. This is not a clear process. Images, videos and textual content of products play an important role.
For example, a recent study by Salsify, a product information platform, showed that two lists of products appearing side by side on an Amazon search results page could see radically different reactions based solely on on the presentation of the content. A list of products featuring more images than another will record higher conversions more than half the time, just like lists featuring chips. The products that have the most opinion will also be better converted.
What other factors influence trust? Here are my top eight.
8 Trusted Construction Tactics
Previous positive experience. Most online stores rely heavily on repeat activities. It is therefore important to provide excellent service to all existing and potential customers – from the initial visit to the delivery of the product.
Positive comments for the store and the product. Buyers are looking for confirmation that others trust the company and love its products.
Longevity. When it comes to trust, the longer your store is, the better it is. If you are new to the market, you will have to put extra effort on other factors.
Important acknowledgments. It is good to know that the site uses encryption and focuses on secure payment methods. But the rewards and badges of bestsellers can pack when it comes to encouraging people to buy.
Recommendations from customers, families and friends. This includes "social only" friends. Be sure to incorporate the latest links and sharing tools and recommendation for different social networks. These can be placed in the header or footer of the site (for the store itself) and on the product and category pages (for sharing products and product lines) .
Information on the relevant product. Relevant content includes images, videos, product reviews, textual descriptions (and how they are presented), and user-generated content. Although it is impossible to satisfy all customers, it is crucial to target the largest group. For example, when Salsify surveyed 1,000 online shoppers, 60% said they needed at least three product images to consider clicking the Buy Now button. Thirteen percent said that five or more images were needed.
Several payment options. Accepting multiple forms of payment is not just about providing options. Savvy shoppers know that some payment methods are not as easy to offer as others. For example, almost any company can accept Visa and Mastercard. American Express and Discover, however, have stricter standards. Some mobile payment options, such as Apple Pay, are subject to additional verification processes, and a site that violates delivery and other guidelines is more likely to have its account revoked.
Flexible return policies. The ability to return items will always be important to online shoppers. A 14 day return window does not cut it. Thirty days is the norm, but 60-90 days is the ideal point to trigger a purchase. Many researches have shown that extended windows actually lower the rate of return. This is because the longer someone has an object, the more he or she experiences a real property. This, and eliminating the need to rush to return something, often results in the article being "tidied up".
comScore, the research firm, found that 63% of online shoppers review the return policy of a store before making a purchase, nearly half of them stating they would buy more and recommend an e-tailer. Other studies show that people are willing to pay more for a product if there is a hassle free return policy.
With stronger competition and higher standards for customers, trust in the building should be a priority for any store. Take the time to review store policies and product descriptions. Find ways to encourage visitors to share product pages with people who trust their opinion.