For all of its advantages and opportunities, the internet also presents certain challenges for small businesses. One of the biggest difficulties for online entrepreneurs is gaining consumer trust; without face to face contact and a physical storefront, how do you convince people that your business is legit? Whilst competition is fierce in the online market, a few tweaks to your website can reinforce your credibility and help you to stand out. Try these three strategies for building consumer trust and improve your chances of online success.
Give your website a human face
Online businesses have the advantage of offering ultimate ease and convenience; however, bricks-and-mortar stores have the edge when it comes to providing a face to face customer experience. As an online business, the most effective way to close this gap is to infuse your website with personal touches. Include contact details other than an email address, making it clear to your customers that they can speak to a real person at any time, and feature a personal “About us” page with one or two photos.
Social media is another great tool for showing authenticity; regular Tweets and status updates not only assure customers that you are easily contactable, but also emphasize that there is indeed a human behind the website.
Show off your website security
Online shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to internet security, and there are certain technical elements they will look out for before making a payment. SSL protection is perhaps the most crucial, as it signals to the user that their data is safe. SSL encrypts sensitive information – such as credit card details – as it travels to your server, certifying that no unauthorized third parties can get their hands on it.
To ensure your website is adequately protected, use an SSL checker tool to assess the status of your site. Test the validity of your current certificate, identify security gaps or find out which type of SSL certificate your server supports. At the same time, it is essential to offer a variety of payment options; something as simple as the well-known PayPal symbol can be enough to put your customers at ease and assure them of your credibility.
Feature stats and testimonials
One of your most powerful resources when it comes to gaining consumer trust is, in fact, previous customers. Whether you run an ecommerce store or an online consultancy, testimonials and reviews make it loud and clear that yours is a legitimate business. Knowing that other people have purchased products or services from you and were satisfied with the experience is often enough to convince would-be customers; from their perspective, someone has tested your business beforehand and thus eliminated some of the risk.
In addition to testimonials, you could also feature interesting stats, such as how many orders you have shipped to date. Again, this tells visitors that yours is an efficient and trustworthy enterprise that does as it promises.