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Digital Marketing

Five Ways Ecommerce Websites Can Build Trust

Harris Neifeld

Online fraud is rampant. The Chinese government just released a very critical report about widespread fraud on the largest Chinese retailer, Alibaba. Here in the US, retailers like the Home Depot have had financial data breaches. No wonder 3 in 10 consumers don’t trust retailers with their data, and 59% are extremely or very worried about having their credit card data stolen.

Mistrust prevents many ecommerce sales. The biggest concern is that financial data isn’t safe. How can your firm establish trust and demonstrate to potential customers that they are safe on your website?


#1 – Make it a priority for your website to function perfectly in every sense.

Most companies at least pay lip service to this idea, but for it to actually happen there needs to be sincere commitment from management and a supportive culture. When a website doesn’t function flawlessly, potential customers may have more apprehension about the security of back end payment systems.


#2 – To make your website function perfectly, include feedback mechanisms for customers.

Even the most robust analytics program with proactive analysis will not pick up on every flaw in website functionality. For example, how would you know that 30% of the time in I.E. that button on the second step in the checkout process didn’t work? When you analyzed throughput reports by browser you thought this was just usually variation in throughput because I.E. isn’t the best. Your lost customers will notice though. This error is costing you 30% of sales from I.E. traffic directly and more in reputation and trust. Feedback boxes, simple surveys and ratings can all help identify problems to build a better website.


#3 – Get third party verification for users.

For example, join Google Trusted Stores. Google Trusted Stores not only provides a third party verification of a smooth experience for your customers, it gives you Google’s backing as there are secure checkout and PII requirements to be a Google Trusted store. Badges from Verisign can help, as can payment processing systems through well-known third parties like PayPal.


#4 – Secure both your internal and customer facing data.

Many data breaches come due to employee sloppiness rather than the evil genius of hackers. Simple passwords, stored passwords, shared passwords, little used and unsecure cloud applications can all bring you down. Consider every source of data including low tech. HTTPS is usually a simple change, but will reassure users. HTTPS is also a ranking factor for Google organic results.


#5 – All Things In Moderation.

Shopping for jewelry? Imagine the jeweler had armed guards, metal detectors, bullet proof glass, buzzed entry and exit, and fingerprinted every potential customer walking through the door. It might be overkill and make you feel unsafe or awkward, right? It’s not the best mood for getting someone to purchase. At the same time, if the jeweler had no security whatsoever you might be concerned. In online environments, let people know they’re safe but don’t go too far.


It’s not easy, but certainly possible to gain customer trust and transition brick and mortar sales to online sales. Ecommerce is growing much faster than brick and mortar sales.