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Trust is the foundation of every successful organization — in terms of having a successful business online this, too, is no exception. With the many options served to shoppers today, customer loyalty is harder to attain.

If you’re just starting, how does trust develop for shoppers when they purchase a new product online or buy from an online store they’re unaccustomed to? What elements of an online store’s experience are trust builders or trust deal breakers?

What makes for a trustworthy website?

Last year, the Shopify team conducted a series of in-depth interviews with a varied group of North American shoppers, asking them to share their recent online shopping experiences.

The Shopify team sat down with each buyer for an hour and asked them to write a review of a recent purchase that involved either a product they’d never purchased before or a store they’d never purchased from before. We also invited them to make a real-world $40 purchase from a Shopify store they’d never visited before.

The study’s goal was to figure out what makes a new buyer feel at ease when buying a new item or from an unknown business. Shopify was looking for answers to the following questions:

  • How does a shopper’s trust develop when evaluating a new item in a new store?
  • Which pages or components in your store are most crucial for gaining shopper trust?

They identified a few patterns after monitoring their actions during these purchases, allowing them to target design features that are trust breakers and trust builders in online retailers.

Trust builders are components or design details that reassure customers, assuaging their fears and helping them feel more confident about making a purchase. Shoppers are put off by trust breakers, who make them wonder about the business’s legitimacy and authenticity, as well as whether or not making a purchase is a safe decision.

The findings of the study are as follows::

 

1. Ace the first impression with your homepage

What the customer is asking: Is this a secure website? Is it possible for me to find what I’m looking for and explore this site quickly?

Business goal: On the initial visit, create a welcome homepage and define the overall appearance and feel of your store.

We discovered that on their first visit, shoppers are more critical of a store’s design and layout, regardless of whether they’re looking for an item they’ve never purchased or a product they’ve used before. Because your homepage typically functions as a digital welcome mat, it’s critical for establishing customer trust. It should focus on making a good first impression and directing customers to the next best thing.

Our findings demonstrate that customers look for key must-have features on a homepage, as well as nice-to-have extras that might help tilt the scales in your favour — but only after the must-haves are in place. We’ll split these two groups throughout this article so you know what to prioritise.

Must-have

  • Consistent and polished content, including high-quality photos and error-free copy throughout the site
  • A clutter-free and uncluttered design
  • Easy-to-understand and use category navigation across all devices

Nice-to-have

  • Clear and easy-to-understand category names in your navigation (e.g., Shop, Women, Men, About, Contact, etc.)
  • Copy and information should be translated into the shopper’s native language, and prices should be listed in the local currency when selling worldwide.
  • Pages that load quickly and without problems across your entire store (shoppers usually only notice performance issues when pages are slow or broken)

 

2. Provide customers with essential information

What the customer is asking: Is this product capable of resolving my issue? Is it of good quality and the correct size or dimensions? Is the price reasonable, and am I able to afford it?

Business goal: With informative product pages, reliable search results, and collection pages, you can make product information easy to find.

We discovered that after a new consumer leaves the site, they usually go straight to a product page. Whether they’re visiting a new retailer or one they’re acquainted with, shoppers evaluate a product’s worth on the product page.

Customers may more easily decide if each product gives the value they want by using the correct layout and design elements on your product page. Customers pay close attention to images, descriptions, sizing charts, stock and inventory details, and shipping and tax information.

While there is no one-size-fits-all method to creating the ideal product page, our findings suggest that there are key factors to consider for gaining trust in every business.

Must-have

  • For each product page, there is a choice of product images.
  • For readability, product descriptions are divided into sections.
  • When it’s suitable, include a size chart on your product page, preferably with size conversions.
  • On the product page, there are some recent product reviews.

Nice-to-have

  • On the product page, you’ll find information about returns and delivery.
  • On the product page, there is a video of the product.
  • Only available on desktop: a “quick view” option on collections allows buyers to see the product without having to open the product page.

 

3. Share your story and why the business started

What the customer is asking: Is this a respectable company? Is it honest with its customers?

Business goal: Assist the shopper in feeling confident that this is a legitimate company. Share your brand’s storey and why the company was founded if you have a purpose or principles.

Shoppers want to understand more about the brand — and the people — behind the products, so we created an About Us page. A page about us should provide answers to the two questions that customers have.

First, curiosity about a brand’s About Us page is piqued when someone is unsure whether or not the store is legitimate. Shoppers frequently want to ensure that a firm will be around for the long haul and will not abruptly close its doors. This is why a Contact page is useful: it provides shoppers with reassurance by including a contact phone number, email address, and retail location (if one exists).

Second, many customers are curious about the company’s objective and purpose, as well as whether they share any values with the company (e.g., sustainability). They’ll go to the About Us page to find out more about the company they’re buying from and, for more socially concerned clients, how it’s run.

Must-have

  • An About Us page
  • A Contact page
  • A phone number included on the Contact page
  • A detailed story of the brand included on the About Us page 

Nice-to-have

  • On the contact page, include a professional email address related with the store domain (e.g., info@yourstore.com, not yourstore@outlook.com).
  • An online chat alternative for contacting customer service
  • The address of the merchant’s physical location(s) is mentioned on the contact page when applicable.

 

4. Show current customer satisfaction

What the customer is asking: Is the product as described by previous customers? Is the company treating its customers fairly?

Business goal: Give customers the social proof they need to believe in your business and its products.

According to research, shoppers place a high value on the reassurance they receive from unbiased customer and store reviews, and they pay close attention to what past customers have to say.

Shoppers want to check reviews on product websites, other sites and marketplaces, and social media before making a purchase on a new website. Shoppers are looking for anomalies, specific cautions from prior customers, or feedback that contradicts what a company states on its website. On social media, for example, customers may use mental math to determine whether the ratio of Instagram followers to likes appears to be genuine.

It’s critical for business owners to realise that community sentiment can make or break a customer’s decision to buy a product.

Must-have

  • Product reviews with a score of 70% or higher are considered positive.
  • Product reviews that are largely good have been shared on social media (e.g., reviews shared on Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
  • Product evaluations that are detailed and include client feedback
  • A following on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media sites
  • Positive store reviews on third-party sites such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trustpilot, Amazon, eBay, and others

Nice-to-have

  • Product reviews that incorporate photographs on product pages
  • Product reviews for apparel, accessories, and health and beauty products that include a description of the reviewer (so shoppers can relate to review more)
  • Product reviews that contain a product video
  • Links to the store’s social media pages are prominently displayed throughout the store.

 

5. Ensure the transaction is transparent and easy

What the customer is asking: What will the delivery cost be, and how much will taxes or duties be? Are the payment choices widely-known and safe, as well as functional?

Business goal: When estimating the total cost at shipment and payment, remove client doubts and risk.

“Price is what you pay, and value is what you get,” as the adage goes. While high-quality photos and appealing copy assist to communicate product value, customers also want to see the complete amount they’ll pay as soon as possible, including all discounts and levies.

Although price is fairly obvious, there is a great deal of subjectivity when it comes to how much a product costs and how useful a buyer believes it is. As a result, providing context around price and eliminating unwanted surprises is an important part of establishing confidence.

Must-have

  • A straightforward and easy-to-understand return policy
  • When delivering overseas, a shipping policy that specifies who is responsible for duties and taxes is required

Nice-to-have

  • On the online store’s front, shipping charges are minimal.
  • The ability to use discount codes in the cart, as well as the ability for the customer to alter the contents of the cart
  • Methods of payment that are familiar (such as PayPal and Shop Pay)
  • Order status tracking is an optional feature.
  • On the order confirmation page, there were rewards and discounts for future sales.
  • In the event that order adjustment is required, easy access to the contact page is provided.
  • A language and currency switcher is required for international stores.

 

Customers reward businesses they trust

Because founders don’t question their own trustworthiness, customer trust is typically a blind spot for firms, especially freshly founded businesses. Why would you ever consider yourself “untrustworthy” when you’re keeping promises to customers and telling real facts and tales in your marketing? However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that trust is a matter of perception, and it’s something that every company must acquire.

Your company can gain trust over time by having a large number of satisfied customers and great word of mouth. Your reputation will have preceded you by then, and the finer aspects of your site may not have to do as much work. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use tried-and-true best practises to make your site feel familiar, trustworthy, and easy to use. This will put customers at ease, making purchasing from your store easier, and even unlock step level growth for your brand.

Source: Shopify blog

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