Trust is the most important factor in selling; whether that’s selling online, in-store, at events and pop-ups or through other sales channels and partnerships. If the end-user distrusts your offering or service to any degree, there is a slim chance that they will purchase from you.
So how do you establish that you are a trustworthy business? There are many factors that influence this, and falling short in any one can result in another bounced visit, abandoned cart or bad word of mouth about your business. Below we highlight some of the areas that you can improve how you present yourself to the market and deliver a stellar experience to your online store visitors.
We all know that we value recommendations from a friend or relation when considering anything between booking a restaurant to buying a car. But what would you rely on for providing a recommendation when you don’t have a friend or relation to offer an opinion? A salesperson? A blog? A newspaper article? Probably yes to all of those to a lesser degree. But in the absence of a close ally to advise, nothing beats an independent review from someone who resembles you. This is why all the greatest online (and offline) businesses around the world lead with their User Generated reviews. There are two main ways of presenting reviews on your online store; a broad rating of the company products or services or specific reviews on a per product or per service basis.
Companies like TrustPilot, Feefo and TripAdvisor have built significant businesses around independently managing customer reviews and feedback. These are typically presented as an overall review of the business and feature prominently on the home page and other key conversion pages such as the Cart page.
The Shopify app store has introduced a multitude of new providers offering a variety of customer review solutions. We love Loox Photo reviews here at Milk Bottle but there are a range of other ones to consider depending on your needs. Conversio includes customer reviews as part of the core product features and Shopify’s own reviews app is often the starting point for many store owners.
Regardless of which solution you use it’s essential that the reviews are genuine and verifiable. This is all the more important for when you advertise on Google Shopping and want your star ratings to appear under the product thumbnail - Google is a stickler for only allowing verifiable reviews not containing any personally identifiable information. Facebook also allows you to showcase your online store reviews on your Facebook page, and the good reviews apps support that use case.
Let your existing customers sell to your new prospects through their own words and pictures by incorporating product reviews throughout your store.
If you have only recently begun selling online and don’t have any/many reviews or if you have been selling for some time but have never collected reviews, you can always give your store a boost by showcasing your Google Reviews on your store. We recently launched a new store for Battery World and integrated the Google Reviews into the home page to establish trust and reassurance.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” An image or icon can convey projected authority, trust, quality and many, many more attributes. Some of the most successful online stores use badges to showcase their awards, quality and certifications.
If you’ve won an award make sure every store visitor is aware of it. If you have over 1000 positive reviews, shout it from the rooftops. Offering Free Shipping? Use an on-brand icon to tell. If you have a bricks and mortar retail store you may be able to present a TripAdvisor badge. Members of Retail Excellence Ireland can use a unique badge on their websites to show they have an independently vetted website. If you are running a pharmacy-related business you may be required to include a logo to demonstrate your compliance. All of these help to portray you as a professional, well-run business.
Interestingly, not everything has to be the latest news. McCloskeys bakery won an award in 2013 for their brown bread but that doesn’t stop them still putting the award badge on their packaging in 2019!
It’s commonly understood that most visitors to web sites leave within 15 seconds unless they have a reason to stay longer. Your own Google Analytics and Shopify Analytics data will tell its own story in this regard. Unquestionably, images play a huge role in either keeping visitors or sending them away. If you use poor quality images on your landing pages, it immediately conveys a poor quality message about your product or service.
There are three golden rules for images for online sales: quality, consistency and size.
Your images should be of the highest quality that you can get. If you are serious about selling online, you should have all your lifestyle and product images professionally shot. Where possible, the product images should be all of a consistent proportion - square, horizontal or portrait - whichever suits your product range best. And lastly, make sure that they are of suitable file size. We’ve seen numerous sites have images of 2-4MB in file size - this slows down the store and encourages visitors to churn away.
Shopify has a great range of resources on photography and images and also provide free stock imagery on their Burst site. We recommend the Pixc app to help you to improve how your images appear (you can listen to Holly Cardew, founder of Pixc, being interviewed on our Shopify Podcast here). For reducing your file sizes check out ImageOptim
The text on your store serves a number of purposes. It explains what you do, how you do it and what makes you different. It helps visitors understand the products better. It provides information to search engines about your business that helps drive organic traffic to your store. And it does much, much more…
But for the purposes of this article I’d like to focus on two areas: typography and spelling. Your choice of font across your store can help reassure or reject store visitors. Using comic sans may not be the best font for establishing that you are a serious business (unless you are in the clown industry perhaps?). And having poor grammar, spelling or punctuation can contribute to a general unease about the quality of product that you are providing. Always, always get someone to proof-read your copy across your site.
Take the time to write natural language product and collection descriptions that explain in non-jargon the key features. Imagine the questions someone might have for your product. Say you’re selling a canvas print of a cow: What size is it? Does it come with hanging fixtures included? How will it be packaged? What type of cow is it? What room might it suit? By crafting product descriptions that not only describe the product but also comprehensively answer the most common questions, you remove doubt from the customer’s mind and replace it with comfort and confidence.
Not everyone is gifted at writing. If you are someone that struggles with this then we’d strongly recommend hiring a professional copywriter. It’s an investment that generates a return long after you’ve paid for the service.
Don’t oversell. Claims like “the best”, “Number 1”, “best-selling” should all be backed up with quantifiable proof of your claims. For sure, if you’ve won a prestigious, independent award tell everyone. Don’t take shortcuts with language or claims in an attempt to hoodwink your customers; ultimately they will find out and the consequences will hurt your business.
We love the approach that Picado takes with their product descriptions, which is being brutally honest. Here’s one for their Takis Fuego snack:
“When it comes to spicy snacks, Mexicans really know how to make them! These Takis Fuego are corn snack shaped like a rolled taco with tons of lime and chilli, they're absolutely bonkers but delicious! - a bit of a warning here: these are spicy, Alan thinks they're absolutely vile (I don't) and the list of ingredients would put you off them if you read it but I only eat them as a treat every now and then. “
There is a growing move towards more truthful marketing. We expect the Twitter account of @dishonestmktg to grow rapidly over the coming year as consumers seek more trustworthy brands and increasingly call foul on those that misrepresent or make false claims for their products or services.
6. Don’t Spam
This may seem obvious but it needs to be reiterated. Don't spam your customers and prospects. Careless outbound marketing can destroy the trust built up over many visits to your store. Always add value in your outbound communications and keep your notifications in check so that you are not sending a newsletter, an abandoned cart and a special offer all on the same day. Email Marketing automation solutions like Klaviyo and Conversio offer built-in methods to help you avoid this.
Make sure that you have branded your post-purchase communications just as carefully as you have your overall store experience. We see many store owners that have gone to great effort in creating a beautiful, effective store and then send a crummy order confirmation or a follow-up email. Make the entire customer journey experience from landing page to shipping confirmation a consistent brand and tone of voice. It reassures the customer and avoids that terrible feeling of Buyer's Remorse that can be experienced by consumers. One of our favourite Shopify app developers, Björn Forsberg has built a number of the best-rated apps on Shopify that help merchants deliver this consistent branded image for all pre and post purchase communications. Check out OrderlyEmails and OrderlyPrint to help get your store sorted.
If you apply the above you’ll be well on your way to building a long-term commercial relationship with your store visitors and successfully growing your business.
Peter @ Milk Bottle