Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in June 2017 and has been completely revamped and updated in April 2023 for better understanding and comprehensiveness.
As an online e-commerce business owner, you always need to increase sales. You also need to know how to build customer trust and loyalty to increase your credibility with your target audience. But have you ever stopped for a moment to think about how these two concepts are related?
When you increase trust with customers, you automatically improve customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is not just about making a sale; it’s about making repeated sales with clients who believe in your brand. This involves developing a sense of trust with your critical audience, who will trust you enough to do business with you.
So, how to increase customer loyalty?
You have to work on your online reputation. Your online reputation is the level of trustworthiness and credibility you have in general with prospects and customers.
6 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty for Boosting Sales
If you are wondering where to start to build trust, people say you need to start with a handshake and smile. Sure, that’s easy in the real “brick-and-mortar” world but not as accessible in the online environment, where you cannot invite real-world customers in for coffee, sit down with them, discuss your services or products, and get to know them. You are absent in person from your online website – so you have to be creative.
Here are 6 techniques to improve your online reputation.
As we’ve mentioned before, having great customer service is one of the main components of creating trust and customer loyalty. It’s the most direct channel for communication between the two, making it the best opportunity for a company to stake a claim and prove its worth.
The qualities of exceptional customer service include empathy, dedication to the needs of the client, and accountability. It demonstrates that your business values its clients enough to guide them through any problems they might be experiencing with your good or service. It gives people the assurance that should difficulties arise, they can count on being cared for, and that is the very foundation of trust.
There are many tools these days to offer top-notch support to your customers so there really isn’t an excuse for not doing so.
Provide a simple return policy
If you make returning an item as hassle-free as possible, it will communicate to the customer that you are trying to take care of them, not just making a sale. After all, a key reason why someone isn’t likely to press the Buy button after all is a second thought like ‘What happens if I need to return this?’. Amazon has all but removed this friction and has transformed the rest of the market along the way – so you really have little option there.
Provide product information with transparency
Keeping stock of your inventory is important so I recommend you use an inventory system that allows you to track your inventory if possible. You may lose customer trust if you offer an item that is out of stock when the customer thought it was available. Also, be transparent about the number of items you really have in stock, and if not, then inform us when they will be available again. Honesty is crucial in building trust with customers. Be honest about your products and services, the pricing, the delivery time, and any other relevant information.
Present your PayPal validation sticker or other credentials on your website
Keep in mind the handshake. Online, you can’t physically guarantee a customer by shaking their hand and looking them in the eye. You must instead use alternative methods to provide “social evidence” and trust validation. All e-commerce companies should offer their payment security seals, such as the PayPal sticker or other confirmation of your safety credentials while selling online. This gives customers peace of mind when shopping on your website and can immediately boost your online business’s credibility.
High-Quality Goods and Services
Providing high-quality goods and services might aid in gaining the trust of clients. Customers are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend people to your business when they feel confident in your goods and services.
Use customer testimonials
The best way to win over many customers and increase your sales is to offer proof that you are trustworthy. Another way to effectively do this is to provide true customer testimonials by other satisfied customers. Customers are more likely to trust their fellow customers than the companies they are purchasing from. Actual customers’ experiences are frequently considered to be more unbiased and significant than a company’s straightforward marketing. You can do this with guest blog posts written by customers, a comment section, videos, podcasts, etc. How you decide to present this information is up to you. The important thing is that you provide it to your visitors, so they know many people prefer you over your competition and that they trust you.
Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Build a strong social media presence by regularly posting updates and engaging with your followers. Use social media to showcase your brand’s personality and share your company culture. Monitor and manage your online reviews on platforms such as Google My Business, or any other social platforms. Respond promptly to negative reviews, and try to resolve any issues that customers may have. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, as this can help offset any negative feedback.
Sales are About Relationships
Stephen Covey writes in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that business is not about products; it’s about people. He focuses on the importance of relationships in everything one does in their business, and he firmly believes that this is what makes an entrepreneur successful. Covey certainly has a valid point when you think about the importance people place on finding a business they can trust. People tend to do business with someone they like over someone with a great product who is not courteous or who doesn’t provide them with all of the information they need.
There’s something about honesty that people crave today. In a world that is difficult to see whether you can trust people or not, you will stand out and draw more revenue from your customers if you are straightforward and honest.
In conclusion, developing consumer trust is essential for boosting sales and expanding your organization. You may build trust with your clients by interacting with them frequently, personalizing your interactions, being trustworthy, providing high-quality goods and services, and using social proof. This not only increases the likelihood of repeat business but also encourages referrals and positive word-of-mouth, which can help expand your customer base. Building trust with customers takes time, effort, and a commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences, but the rewards are worth it in the long run.
Mélanie Vaast is a writer and project marketing manager at E-Commerce Nation. She has developed a keen interest in e-commerce and web marketing through her various experiences in international business development. She also enjoys traveling and exploring cultures all over the world.