When it comes to gaining new customers and converting sales, there are several features and signals that a website can include make potential buyers more comfortable with purchasing from a website or brand they may not be familiar with or have never purchased from before. From upfront company and return policies to a social media presence, there are several types of messaging that can say a lot about an online business.
When it comes to closing sales in the online channel, consumer trust and confidence are paramount. Without being able to physically hold and inspect a product or try it on, and with consumers having to pay for the product upfront, establishing trust that the product is of quality and as advertised as well as instilling confidence in the consumer that they can return or exchange the product are important factors that should ultimately lead to more converted sales.
One such way of doing this is through third-party validations, and this can come is a few different forms. It is common for many online retailers and websites today to have security or trust seals displayed on multiple pages, especially those where consumers add products to buy or are going to begin the checkout process. These seals convey that a site is secure and it is safe for the consumer to enter their personal and payment information. Additionally, using encrypted SSL (secure socket layer) transmission of sensitive data, as well as explaining what this means and how it protects consumers, can increase their confidence in trusting a website with this kind of information as well. But third-party validation can also come from other consumers, and this can be through consumer reviews of products or the business directly on the website or through the company’s social media pages. A business with social media accounts who encourages site visitors to follow them on Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms and provides links to their social media pages not only shows consumers that they are actively engaging with their customers, but also provides a channel for consumers to research the company further and see what others have said about them.
Another important factor is a site’s messaging about refunds and exchanges are handled as well as how difficult or easy it is to reach customer service. A prominent and strict no refund policy would be red flag for many potential customers that could steer them to a competitor right away. But making company privacy policies as well as return and exchange policies fair and upfront will have positive effects. Knowing that a company won’t misuse or sell a customer’s personal information and that if a product is damaged or not right the customer can easily request a return or exchange will provide consumers with more confidence that it is safe to shop at that site.
This is also relevant with how convenient it is for consumers to reach the merchant with either questions about a product or service, or if there is an issue with their purchase. eCommerce websites should include an email address, physical address and phone number where they can be reached including the hours that personnel is available over the phone. Sometimes potential customers have a quick question or concern that is keeping them from making the purchase but are otherwise ready to buy. But at least equally important is the fact that consumers will feel more confident in their purchases knowing they can easily reach a customer service representative if something goes wrong with their order or need to make an exchange.
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