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One of my first ever SEO clients had a small e-commerce site. His was a new business, not yet a year old, and he found that although he had an attractive website, a steady amount of traffic, great prices and was very particular about his customer service - he would phone customers about their orders if he experienced even a minor delay in shipping a product - his conversion rates remained quite poor. The main problem he had was down to trust - people were unaware of his brand and were scared to spend £100-£200 pounds with no real reassurances about the quality of his business.
This is not an isolated problem for e-commerce sites who are not household names. There are a few ways, however, to help build trust with new customers so that they feel safe providing you with credit card details and spending their money with you.
- Put a phone number on the site - People assume if the only way to contact you is by email that they will never get a response. By showing your willingness to speak to customers, they will feel safer placing an order because they'll know they can get in touch with a person should something go wrong.
- Tell them your site is secure - Use those logos about secure shopping and credit card protection. People worry about theft and fraud on the internet and you need to reassure them that you're doing everything to keep their details safe.
- Give them guarantees - Have a clearly laid out policy of how the order process works. Explain how goods are despatched, tell people how long it will take for their order to arrive and tell people what they should do should an order fail to arrive
- Have a clear returns policy on the site - If people know that you're willing to let them change their minds, or sort out problems with orders they'll feel safer placing an order.
- Provide a physical address for your business - Let people know that you operate out of real, legitimate offices, not through an email address or a P.O. Box. They want to know that a company is established enough to have offices with employees and phones.
- Add customer reviews and testimonials - Let people know that you have customers and they're happy with your service.
- Tell them about your business - Use your About Us page to talk about the history of your business, your attitude towards your customers and to even give short bios of your staff. If they feel they know a bit about you and you're not hiding behind internet anonymity, people will trust you more.
If you can get that first sale, even a small one, off a new visitor to your website and provide a great service, you'll get a repeat customer and possibly some word-of-mouth business too. So give them every reason they can to trust you enough to place that first order by being as open and clear about how you do business as you possibly can.