Practical Ecommerce

4 Trust Indicators That Help Convert Online Shoppers

Visitors to your online store make an emotional decision about your business: Do they trust you or not?

Online shoppers, especially first time visitors, evaluate ecommerce sites in many ways, to decide whether you are trustworthy. They want to know if their personal data is safe. They want their privacy protected. They want to be confident that they will get what they ordered, when they expect it. They want to know that your customer service is there if they need it.

Fortunately, you can win new customers by displaying proven trust indicators at key places on your website. These badges, seals, and well-placed reminders can visibly reinforce that you can be trusted. As a result, you should see higher conversions and reduce shopping cart abandonment.

In this article, I’ll review four trust indicators that online shoppers typically look for.

1. Security Seals

Protecting data, avoiding phishing scams, and safety from malicious code are all top of mind for online shoppers. You can prove that your store is secure and clean of suspicious code in a couple of ways. First, your SSL vendor likely offers a seal as a part of its service. For example, Symantec, Comodo, and GeoTrust give you a code snippet to easily copy and paste into your website.

Second, a trust seal can be earned by passing security scans that detect any malware or suspicious redirects on your site. McAfee and Symantec are examples of popular trust seals that your visitors are likely to recognize.

The website for Metropolitan Museum of Art displays trust seals from McAfee and GeoTrust, among others.

The website for Metropolitan Museum of Art displays trust seals from McAfee and GeoTrust, among others.

2. Privacy Assurance

Securing customer data is just the start. Your shoppers want assurances that you are protecting their privacy and that you are not collecting or using their personal information for unacceptable purposes. To help protect consumers, governments around the world are now vigorously enforcing privacy laws and regulations on their behalf. A good way to build trust is to show that you are compliant with these rules. Vendors like TRUSTe can assess your data practices and provide ongoing monitoring. By achieving and maintaining compliance, you can display the trust seal of these vendors.

3. High Quality Service

Buyers also want to be confident that you deliver great service. They look to consumer advocate associations and the brands you sell to monitor service standards, such as:

  • Honestly representing products and services you are selling;
  • Access to and response from customer service teams;
  • Return and refund policies;
  • Speed of order processing and fulfillment;
  • Clear disclosure of any terms and conditions.

A good indicator that your service is exceptional is to show badges that you earn by delivering what you promise. That could be as simple as showing that you are an authorized dealer for a particular brand. Or that you’ve been accredited by the Better Business Bureau or benchmarked against the highest quality retailers by StellaService, which measures and rates online customer service performance.

Zappos, the shoe retailer, displays the Stella Service seal, in addition to other trust indicators.

Zappos, the shoe retailer, displays the Stella Service seal, in addition to other trust indicators.

4. Guarantee Policies

Shoppers like to know they have options to get their money back if they are not satisfied with a purchase.

To help shoppers overcome doubt and trust you, it is common practice for businesses to offer money back guarantees, return and refund policies, or price-matching competitors. You should proudly show that you stand behind the products you sell. Do not simply provide a text link to your policy page in your footer. Display an attractive image next to your “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button to reinforce your claim.

How to Implement Trust Indicators

Here are best practices to implement those trust indicators so that they can have the biggest impact for you and your customers.

  • Place it where they land. Don’t wait until the shopping cart flow to start displaying trust indicators. To keep visitors on your site, establish your credibility the moment they arrive. That first impression is usually on a product page or your home page. That’s where you should post your security, privacy and service badges. For example, Screens.com, a provider a wall art and room dividers, displays the “Norton Secured” SSL and security seal on its product pages.
Screens.com displays the Norton Secured SSL and security seal on its product pages.

Screens.com displays the “Norton Secured” SSL and security seal on its product pages.

Place it where they can see it. Your visitors have to see your trust indicators to have an impact. Avoid posting your seals and badges in the footer. Doing so reduces their value as they seem to be an afterthought tacked on at the bottom. Find some highly visible real estate on your page, ideally on a white background.

  • Place it where they take action. The proximity to your call-to-action buttons is the best way to influence your shoppers’ actions. Reinforce that it’s okay to click. Show your guarantees near the “Add to cart” button. Show post-payment options near your checkout button. Display security seals next to the where shoppers enter their financial information or finalize their purchase.
  • Make it meaningful. Choose the trust indicators that have feel are the most meaningful to your audience. There is no rule for the optimal number of seals that you should display, but you don’t want to dilute their value by covering every bit of space like a NASCAR race car. Go with recognized third parties and A/B test if you’re not sure.
  • Earn it, don’t copy an image. Do not simply copy a desired trust badge and post it on your site. That’s copyright infringement and the vendors enforce it. Plus, you are not really saving any money as online shoppers are sophisticated enough to identify a fake, which instantly destroys any trust in your store.

Demonstrating that you’ve taken the steps to protect your shoppers’ security and delivering exceptional service are first steps to gaining trust. Display your trust indicators proudly. You’ve earned them. And visitors to your store are more likely to reward you by becoming buyers.

Bob Angus

Bob Angus

Bio   •   RSS Feed


email-news-env

Sign up for our email newsletter

  1. Elizabeth Ball November 6, 2014 Reply

    Another ‘trust indicator” which so many retailers fail to do, is the lack of street address, phone and contact information, just some mysterious contact us form which, when filled in. seems goes into the ether. And I really wonder about retailers who won’t put their name (at least) to their About Us page.

    • Bob Angus November 7, 2014 Reply

      So true. Displaying a street addresses and phone number is a simple way to make visitors understand that they are dealing with a legitimate business. They may never need to use it, but they are grateful to see it.

      Online stores should place that information in the footer of their website and in the About Us and Contact Us pages, as you mentioned. Plus I recommend adding it in the footer of all email communications, which also helps with CAN-SPAM.

  2. Ecommerce Income November 10, 2014 Reply

    Excellent overview of a few measures that build trust.

    I would like to add three important things:
    – independent reviews (!)
    – make your online store “social proof”
    – offer as many payment methods as possible

    Independent reviews sites such as http://www.ekomi-us.com/us/ can boost trust

    With social proof I mean that there should be enough twitter followers and facebook likers – this makes visitors trust you more

    people have a preferred payment method, let them use it! Forcing them to use your preferred payment method doesn’t increase trust.

    Also see our article here: http://www.ecommerceincome.com/e-commerce-optimization/trust/

    Conversion is really about trust!

    @ Elizabeth Ball – yes it is simple to provide address and contact information. We have online stores in 5 countries with the customer service and everything based in one country, but we still provide landline numbers for every store!

    • Bob Angus November 11, 2014 Reply

      Great additional elements to build trust. Online businesses have many opportunities to develop that trusted feeling and need to do so consistently, all the time.

      Social proof triggers strong subconscious behaviors. We humans draw a lot of confidence by participating with others.

      And ecommerce businesses should definitely display their accepted payment types up front, before customers enter the checkout flow. Doing so removes one key barrier in the decision to click “add to cart”.

  3. Nancy Wolff Leary November 11, 2014 Reply

    Do you think that authenticated reviews are important to building credibility? See my blog post with some other ideas. http://onlineamplify.com/2013/04/08/5-reasons-you-wouldnt-buy-from-my-online-store/

    • Bob Angus November 11, 2014 Reply

      Reviews are strong drivers of building trust for the products you are selling. Customers do read them and rely upon them heavily when making the choice of which product to buy.

      If you are selling your own products, then that review is a strong endorsement of you and your business too. More importantly, it’s a trust indicator that drive action.

  4. Carlos Rivera November 11, 2014 Reply

    I love the trust seal on the product page next to the ‘Add to Cart’ button. I think I am going to “borrow” that idea. :)

    • Bob Angus November 11, 2014 Reply

      Excellent! Those visual cues have to be seen to work most effectively.

  5. Ben July 13, 2016 Reply

    Nice Post! What helped me a lot to build trust was Online Reviews. I used the Trustbadge reviews widget on my online shop https://www.litespot.co.uk/ to collect and show customer reviews. It’s fairly easy to use. They have many integrations in different shop systems. And it comes with 7 languages and is mobile-optimized. There’s a freemium version available at at http://www.trustbadge.com so you can try yourself if it helps :)