It’s a sad fact of life that the web is a very low-trust environment.
In terms of commerce, it doesn’t have the physical solidity and/or familiarity that other sales channels do.
Often there is no clear delineation between editorial content and advertising. And because the barriers to entry are low, people are often dubious about the validity of information on the web.
To create a profitable website you must overcome people’s scepticism. You must convince them that they can believe what you tell them and it’s safe to do business with you. Trust on the web is measured by a visitor’s willingness to risk time, money and personal data on a website.
Trust is not conferred in an instant. It is built up with a series of positive customer experiences over time. There are several website design and content factors that can start the trust-building process online. Dismiss them at your peril.
People expect a reputable company to have a professionally designed and attractive website. Clear navigation shows respect for visitors and suggests they can expect high levels of customer service.
Give visitors all the information they need to make a purchase decision. Be up-front with your returns policy, shipping charges and times, and what to do if there’s a problem.
All your contact details
Visitors feel more confident about you if they know you have a bricks and mortar office and you can be contacted by phone if necessary. So include all contact details for your business including phone numbers and physical address.
Correct and up-to-date content
Most business websites don’t need to be updated regularly. But you must ensure all your information is correct and current. Don’t have a news section unless you have the resources to update it regularly. The best idea is to fill your website with evergreen content.
It’s also a good idea to have your content proof read before you put it on your site. Typos and bad grammar communicate contempt for readers and tarnish your image.
Sensitive use of email
You should clearly explain what email you will be sending them. Is it an order confirmation, regular e-newsletter or periodic special offers? Visitors should also be able to control how much email they get from you with easily accessible unsubscribe functions.
Website visitors are also reluctant to give away anything more than their most basic email details i.e. name and email address. Once you’ve established a relationship, and if you offer something of value in return (e.g. a free report or white paper), visitors are often more willing to give you more information.
But they’ll still want to know exactly what you intend to do with their contact details. If you intend to have a sales representative call them, be up-front about it. Better still, ask them whether they want to be contacted offline.
Things to do
- Make sure you give all your contact details including street address and phone number.
- Give customers all the information they need to make a purchase.
This post is part 5 of the series Your Website Sucks!