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Do customers trust your ecommerce website?

by Chris Sutton | April 29, 2013

In my last blog, I mentioned how many websites don’t include their contact number or address on their website, and simply have a form for users to fill out if they need to contact the site owner.

Frequently, the impact of that on site visitors is that they don’t trust the site, and why would you buy from someone who doesn’t want to be contacted.

In ecommerce, trust is everything, if shoppers don’t trust a site, they won’t buy!

Trust is about far more than just a contact us page though. The whole customer experience on any site contributes to the level of trust that visitors have. Dip below the threshold and bingo, no sales.

Important factors that create or destroy trust!


Some site owners think that as long as they have a secure payment system, that they don’t have to do anything else to reassure their customers, but the following elements of a website all contribute to the degree of trust that a customer will have, and ultimately determine whether the customer will purchase.

  • A terms and conditions statement
  • A privacy policy statement
  • Your Warranty and refund policies
  • Provide a physical address and phone number

Communicating clearly with your customers what your terms and policies are is vital, and use plain language as much as possible, pages of convoluted legal jargon will likely drive customers away.

Web Design – Is your site professional?

It is often tempting for start up businesses, or those that have very tight budgets, to skimp on the web design phase of their ecommerce store. However, research shows that stores with clean professional web design engender higher levels of trust irrespective of other factors.

Reviews – are they worth it?

While reviews are not a magic wand that will suddenly produce massive sales, they are important in helping to build trust. Many businesses are afraid of negative reviews and comments, but perversely, a bad review handled well will generate far more trust than a multitude of obviously fake reviews. So do add reviews to your products, and for some ideas on helping to get your product reviews populated, this blog has some ideas.

Product Descriptions & Images

Anyone who has read some of our blogs will know that we bang on endlessly about the importance of good quality image and good product descriptions, so I’ll keep this point short (but feel free to visit some of our other blogs).

Poor quality images imply that either the products are inferior or the service from the online business is poor. High quality images not only provide more information to prospective customers but they also generate higher levels of trust.

Similarly with product descriptions, they need to describe the product (or service) clearly, and more importantly ensure that the benefits are clearly expressed. Your product descriptions are there to make the sale, but good descriptions are also important in generating trust.

Write good quality content for all your site

I see a great many websites that have a hero image on the home page and no supporting text, nothing at all about the business or products. Often, that style is used throughout the site. The origins of course come from the major brands, so well known that just the name is sufficient to generate trust. If I’m on the Nike site, I don’t need convincing that they can be trusted, but Nike have spend hundreds of millions over the years developing their brand and the trust that is associated with it. For startup businesses on the other hand, the website has to establish the customer relationship and build trust from scratch. A hero shot of an unknown product won’t do that, so make sure that content throughout the site is well written, gets your key messages across and builds the trust you need for customers to buy from your site in confidence.

SiteSuite Website Design - Online Marketing Blog Author Chris Sutton

Co-founder and Managing Director of SiteSuite Australasia, Australian pioneers in web design and ecommerce since 1997. For more from Chris you can follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and for further professional musings and thoughts on his other passions in life,

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