Tags : e-commerce

Trust is vital for eCommerce success

Tags : e-commerce

There are four pillars of trust when it comes to distilling a sense of safety in ecommerce.

These four pillars are crucial for understanding how people use websites and how to best increase your chance of selling to them. Once you understand how to distill trust, you have a much stronger chance of doing battle on the internet. It also lays the basis for avoiding the discount game.

The four pillars for distilling trust are: appearances, assurances, authority and consensus of peers.

So what does this all mean?


Appearance is unquestionably one of the most important facets. I am not saying that a pretty website will always convert better, but a terribly designed website will always reflect badly on your brand. It is 2010 (nearly 2011) and in this day and age you are expected to have your website up to scratch. There is no excuse anymore. If you don’t look the part, how do people make an initial judgment?


Your website needs to scream assurance to your potential customer. If you expect them to hand over a credit card, give you a call or want to learn more, you must give the assurance they are safe in doing so. This means telling your customer they are safe. Let them know if an SSL is protecting their transaction. Let them know you won’t sell their email after they sign up for your newsletter. Show your customer the frequently asked questions, don’t make them look. For example, what is your shipping policies / return policies? Also, if the customer wants to contact you – show an address at all costs, empty contact pages always look bad. People like to know you have a physical address (even a virtual address is better than nothing). Customers need an extra push to assure them they are protected, go to all lengths to do this.


Why should people trust you? People often gain authority by associating their brand with a major company or partner. For instance, look at how many web developers put the Microsoft logo and other brands in their footer. It is a small way of creating authority through association. Perhaps you could also even associate your brand with a local council, industry body or similar – all easy ways of creating authority through association. Customers want to know you are the real deal, tell them why!

Consensus of peers

What is the first thing I do before buying from a website? If I am unfamiliar with the website, I will likely Google their name and look for bad feedback. Similar to checking negative feedback on eBay. I even do this when first meeting someone, I want to know all the past content on them. So what does this mean for your business? Reach out to the online community. You want lots of reviews, lots of positive content and for people to be talking about you.  You want your peers to see you as a leader in what you do. This brings your trust levels up significantly. If in doing so you spot a negative comment, by upfront and address it. You will be surprise the good karma that will arise.

So what can we take from these four pillars?

If the above four facets are incorporated into your website, you have a much stronger chance of conversion. People pay for trust, this means you can price your products as you wish – even at higher rates than your competitors, as people want to know they are safe and don’t mind paying for the privilege. Even the most tech savvy web browsers will prefer to pay a few extra dollars if it assures them that the package will arrive, their credit card won’t be stored, etc, etc.

We talk about trust a lot in many different contexts, though for ecommerce it really is the make or break of a website. Keep trust as your number one prerogative when engaging a web developer and constantly question your website from the perspective of a buyer.