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 did you ever stop for a moment to think how these two concepts are related?
When you increase trust with customers, you automatically improve your 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 do you create this trust with your customers?
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.
5 Ways to Build the Trust You Need with Customers to Increase Sales
If you are wondering where to start to build trust, people say you need to start with the 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 the real world customer in for coffee, sit down with them, and 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.
Below are 5 ways you can work on your online reputation
1. Have excellent customer service
As we’ve mentioned before, having great customer service is one of the main components in creating trust and customer loyalty. Make sure you have multiple ways that customers can contact you and be present on social media to monitor and handle negative comments quickly. 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.
2. Offer a hassle-free 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.
3. 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 your number of items you really have in stock and if not, then inform when it will be available again.
4. Present your PayPal validation sticker or other credentials on your website
Remember the handshake. You don’t have the ability to look your customer in the eye and shake their hand to assure them online. Instead, you must offer “social proof” and trust verification in other ways. One way that all e-commerce businesses should do when selling online is to provide their payment security seals such as the PayPal sticker or other validation of your safety credentials. This ensures the customer that they are safe shopping on your site and can create instant credibility for your online business.
5. 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. 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.
Sales is 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 the midst of 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.
Good Guys Finish First
Practice good ethics on a daily basis and it will pay off for you in spades. Ethics is not an old-fashioned concept, and it works as well today as it did 100 years ago. It’s just harder to see it online. So, you have to work harder to show it to your customers. Use social proof and other means to get this across.