7 Things Switched-On Ecommerce Customers Expect to Find Online
Disappointing your customers or making their lives more difficult is not a great way to start a relationship. Do you know what your biggest ecommerce trust signals are going to be? Are you sure you’re meeting your switched-on customer’s expectations on your website? Here are the seven crucial trust signals savvy customers will be looking for on your website.
Small print & reassurances
Ecommerce small print isn’t just about ticking a box – it’s about great customer service. You want to be there to reassure your customer that you know what you’re doing and that they are being listened to.
- You need a robust written delivery & returns policy that clearly states estimated delivery times, prices (including international), and procedures for returns.
- Offer generous guarantees, especially on high ticket items. This will go a long way to reassure the customer you aren’t going to be running off into the sunset with their money.
- A brand mission statement and a customer service policy are greatly appreciated by customers who need a little extra convincing. Be transparent about your values.
A secure payment portal
Everyone is becoming more vigilant about payment security in this age of cyber attacks and hackers.
- Include plenty of obvious trust signals like payment portal logos on your website (use them in the footer and on the payment page).
- Familiarity is good – use a portal that simulates others and that has a logical user-experience.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of spelling it out – tell the user that the connection is secure.
- Save people’s details for the next time, but make sure logins are secure.
Thin or poorly written content can rumble your store with more demanding customers.
Spelling errors and poor content make you look amateurish and sloppy, whereas keyword stuffing and over-the-top sales copy make you look desperate and are very alienating for the consumer.
- A dead or tired blog is not a good look – make sure you keep it refreshed and updated.
- Any typos or spelling errors are a serious no-no on your product pages. Get a good writer in to proofread them all. Edit manufacturers’ content into a more web-friendly format.
- Keyword stuffing or search engine content will leave users confused and will make you look spammy.
- Remember that content is a great marketing asset for your ecommerce store – don’t neglect it. Here’s how to find the right content strategy for your business.
Many different ways of contacting you
Customers will want to fire off a quick product question, query a delivery charge, or get in touch if a product doesn’t work. Don’t make their task any harder than it needs to be – it’s only going to be detrimental to your brand perception.
- Give people many different ways of contacting you. As well as phone and email, use pre-filled contact forms and live chat.
- Customers will be proactive about hunting you down on social media if you fail them – it’s better to give them ample opportunity to deal with you through the appropriate channels first.
- Make sure that customer communication is recorded and saved – keep refining the process.
Evidence of previous customers
People like to see activity, not a store that’s dead as a dodo.
- Encourage people to leave reviews on your website (and elsewhere). A simple star rating and few questions about the product or service should do. Respond to any negative feedback openly, but keep the specifics to a private conversation.
- For B2B, a few in-depth case studies and testimonials go a long way. In a B2C setting, quotes from happy customers might be more appropriate – you can incorporate them into your online store design and product pages.
- Encourage customers to post on social media networks – you can set up an automated tweet on the purchase page, or ask customets to share pictures of them with their products and share them on a live feed (works well for fashion and lifestyle brands).
Branding that ‘speaks’ to them
Ecommerce stores are judged on looks. People don’t like giving their hard-earned money away to ugly websites.
- Have a branding action plan. Make sure you are really clear on your messaging and visuals.
- A cheap looking store will don’t only engender distrust, but a lack of willingness to spend more money with you. If you are aiming to dominate a luxury niche – make your online store design look luxe.
- Pay attention to the little things – don’t settle for an unfinished website, just like you wouldn’t settle for an unfinished product.
If you haven’t got a lot of time or money, create a pay-monthly online store using pre-made templates. You can tweak and customize designs to fit your branding.
A technically sound website
A website that doesn’t work isn’t going to win you any friends. Technical stuff might be boring to some store owners– but it’s one of the biggest SEO and conversion killers. People won’t have the patience to wait around for your website to get its act together – they will go elsewhere.
- There are probably skeletons looming in your closet – do you know what they are? Google Search Console is great a place to start for crawl errors and 404s – but a proper technical audit can tell you more. (404s are some of the biggest customer frustrations on an ecommerce website – make sure you always 301 redirect no longer existing pages somewhere. Here’s a Moz community Q&A that sheds some light on the issue).
- Check your page speed and get in touch with your hosting provider if you see a lot of downtime. Reduce image size and leverage browser caching to speed up your store’s load time. A long load time on an ecommerce store is throwing money down the drain.
These seven ecommerce features are ones that all good ecommerce merchants should embrace. Which one do you think is the toughest one to implement?
Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.