Shoppers going to brick-and-mortar stores have clear signals that the environment they’re in is safe and secure: manicured storefronts, security guards or cameras, helpful employees, well-ordered check out stations and other intuitive cues all create a sense of comfort and safety, helping put shoppers at ease.
But when shopping online, these physical cues don’t come into play. Without such signs, how can we create a sense of safety for customers, especially when it comes time for them to hand out their sensitive personal and payment information?
Hackers, data breaches, ad injections, confusing purchase flow and other checkout glitches all make eCommerce sites less trustworthy for consumers. But there are certain steps retailers can take to maintain a secure online experience for shoppers — and to send a clear message that their site is a safe place to shop.
Promote customer service transparency
When it comes to shopping online, customers are bound to come with lots of questions: Is it safe to buy from this site? When will my order arrive? Are the products genuine? Is there a product warranty? How will my personal data be guarded?
It’s vital to answer all these questions clearly and then make these answers easy to discover. This means having clear and concise security & privacy policies, shipping details, return, warranty and refund policies, as well as FAQs and contact details for additional customer service – all in an intuitive location on your site.
Highlight a good return policy
Good return policies typically equate with high-quality customer service and make shoppers feel safer about their purchase. An easy and upfront policy demonstrates that a brand stands behind its product and cares about the costumer’s overall experience.
Create a human connection
While chatbots and stock answers can usually field the more standard inquiries and resolve most issues, customers still clamor for authentic, personalised experiences. Initiating conversations over chat, providing company contact details, explaining the website, and communicating the brand mission and vision can all help customers feel more connected. These additions lend a human feel to your website, which in turn will inspire brand preference, promoting familiarity, loyalty, and trust.
Ensure a smooth online journey
Many eCommerce sites are plagued by a nonstop onslaught of pop-up ads and banners, often advertising goods from other sites. While this problem is often the result of malware running on the consumer’s device, the customers themselves don’t know that and mistakenly assume it is the site enabling these nuisances.
What is even worse is that 66% of consumers said that when they see sites with this problem they fear that their personal privacy is being compromised. Luckily for brands, there are solutions that can block such ads in real-time, preventing malware from successfully hijacking a customer or ruining their shopping experience.
Make checkout secure and seamless
Shopping cart abandonment happens for a few reasons, all of which typically point back to an underlying feeling of insecurity and lack of trust. Often website redirects trigger another warning from the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate authority. Customers feel safer when they see an SSL or trust seal showing the site is privacy protected. Partnering with a private, third-party vendor to help tackle this issue can translate into smoother checkouts, which will, in turn, have a direct impact on the bottom line.
Be transparent about outside vendors
GDPR (and other soon to be implemented regulations) introduced the need for active cookie consent, meaning brands must be transparent with consumers about who is collecting information on them. Consumer awareness of data breaches and personal data collection is increasing, so brands that are straightforward about the many services running on the site (and the data those services collect) will increase consumers’ confidence in the brand’s credibility.
Guarantee credit card compliance
Don’t have Payment Card Industry compliance? Get it. PCI compliance assures customers that the company has taken every possible step to keep their credit card information safe. If a customer realises that a site is lacking adequate privacy standards, it’s a safe bet they will bounce. No matter what size your eCommerce site, compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard is key when accepting credit and debit cards.
Get listed on a high-quality directory
Having your online store listed on a high-quality, human-reviewed directory is another great way to boost consumer confidence in your business. People count on directories because they trust that listed websites have gone through strenuous review processes.
Just like in a physical location, it’s the little things that keep customers coming back for more. If just one trust signal is missing, or if the lack of any of these key features causes even a slightly unpleasant experience for a customer, it’s a safe bet they won’t be coming back –which in today’s highly competitive eCommerce landscape can be the difference between failure and success.
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