How to make your ecommerce store look more reliable

(Image credit: StockSnap / Pixabay)

Let’s be honest. If you’re running an e-commerce store, you’re probably competing against Amazon, Walmart or the likes of Best Buy. That makes your job pretty tough.

Or if you’re selling your own wares or offering something exclusive, you’ve got a different but equally hard problem: Looking reputable enough for someone to give you their money.

Either way, you need customer trust in your ecommerce operation. To differentiate from the likes of Amazon, you need a brand that people want to use—one they like and trust. If you’re selling your own goods, you need this love and trust even more.

So how do you inspire trust in your e-commerce store? Good question. While there isn’t one surefire method for creating a sense of trust and reliability, there are some known tactics and tools that reliably work. Let’s look at five of them.

A modern and mobile-friendly website

Building websites has gotten pretty easy with the likes of Wix, SquareSpace and marketing services such as Click Funnels, so good site design tends to get overlooked today. But it cannot get overlooked if you’re an e-commerce store.

That’s because customers don’t trust you. They might want what you sell, but they don’t know if you’ll deliver on the promise until they get their goods and everything is good. So impressions matter.

If your e-commerce store is light on graphics, doesn’t do well on mobile, has wording issues or generally gives off the impression that it was built in 2016, potential buyers are getting the signal that your e-commerce operation isn’t maintained and professional. And that dents the trust they have that you’re active and professional in servicing orders. Or worse. It might even mean that your e-commerce site is not legit.

Social proof

Amazon arguably took over e-commerce because it got really good at social proof. Whenever someone would look at one of its products, there would be comments and reviews. This inspired confidence in the then bookseller, showing both that people were using Amazon and that the experience was a good one (even if the book was not).

“There’s no denying the power of social proof,” says Mary Fernandez at conversion platform, Optinmonster. “Studies show nearly 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase. Even more telling is the fact that product reviews are 12-times more trusted than product descriptions and sales copy from manufacturers.”

You can add room for buyer comments on your store. But if you don’t yet have the volume to support a robust customer feedback loop on your site, instead consider tools like Proof; it can show how many people are looking at your site at any given time, inspiring social proof even if customers are not actively giving product reviews.

Easy customer support

When making a purchase online, there always is the chance that something will happen during shipment, the wrong product will arrive or be defective, or issues like a billing dispute might crop up. To feel safe in this environment, buyers need to know that they can get their problems handled when things go wrong.

Making customer support easy and obvious therefore goes a long way toward building trust and a sense of reliability for an e-commerce storefront.

By default, you should have phone, email and your company’s physical address prominently displayed so potential buyers know they can reach you when they need to talk. You also should consider adding live chat to your e-commerce site as a way to signal immediate support and let buyers ask questions before the sale.

“It is statistically proven that satisfied customer = happy customer = loyal customers,” says David Cacik at live chat platform, LiveAgent. “Providing accurate and fast customer service will drive your customer satisfaction rates way up.” 

Your story

Establishing credibility online for your e-commerce store is about more than just a slick website and positive reviews. It also requires being known.

That’s where blog posts and your company’s story come in. When potential buyers shop at a store that just lists products, they don’t know the business or who is getting their money. If you have a clear company narrative and a consistent blogging presence, however, there’s a lot more info about your company and what you represent. This creates trust in the buying experience.

“You don’t need a wide range of stories,” notes Peter Kowalke at content marketing firm, EdChief. “All you actually need is one: A narrative around your business that you tell repeatedly and in different ways.”

This focus on a singular narrative makes it much easier to create content, according to Kowalke. It also hammers home your brand’s identity. 

A good return policy

Similarly, you can inspire trust by having a clear and unambiguous return policy. If there is a problem with an order, being able to talk with customer service is a good start. But really what eases the burden of trust for an e-commerce site is letting buyers know that they can return purchases that don’t work out.

You don’t need to go so far as offering a no-questions-asked 30-day money back guarantee, although that’s nice. What you should have, however, is a clear and prominent return policy that demarcates the process for accepting returns and what the customer can expect if they need to return something.

If you run an e-commerce store, you need customer trust. Offering good products at reasonable prices is a start. But it isn’t enough. Ultimately you need trust.