However sometimes it is not so clear. Often you might hear that an online seller is selling product on eBay but, the same products for the same price, don't sell on their online store. So what is the difference they ask. Well 9 times out of 10 it is TRUST.
eBay, for example, has built a reputation as being a safe marketplace that protects buyers. The buyer and seller are connected via eBay and PayPal. If a dispute arises there are very defined methods to resolve the dispute. So a buyer may not know or trust the seller but they do know and trust eBay.
The dictionary definition of trust is:
"Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something."
If you have not had dealings before then it is difficult determining that you will trust a business or online store. So you need to look for the signs of trust. The following are some of the key items that you should make sure are covered correctly in the content of your online store:
Contact information - always provide contact information like an address, phone number (not a mobile), business email address and business credentials (ABN, ACN, or Business Registration). Tip: Avoid using generic email addresses like hotmail addresses.
About us - tell your visitors a little about you and your business. Information like when it started, who is involved, what the business does. All this will help people know you and help them develop trust.
Contact us - provide a simple email form that allows people to easily send you a message or get in contact, though these need to be followed up promptly to provide confidence that it's being monitored.
Live chat - if you have the capability and time, enable a live chat service on your site so that people can directly communicate.
Terms & Conditions - provide people the right legal information about doing business with you. Note: you are legally required to have certain information on your site such as refund policies etc.
Returns and Refunds - make it clear to your visitors how you will accept returns of products and how you will handle refunds. Make it as simple as possible.
Payment processing - tell your customers up front how you will handle payment and who is processing your payments online. Make sure that any payment service provider account is in the business name. Put the payment provider logo on your website - gateways will often supply links to additional security and compliance information to provide your customers additional confidence.
SSL Certificate - install and use a Private SSL Certificate in your business/domain name and prominently display the certificate provider trust logo.
Spelling and grammar - make sure that you properly proof read your content and get others to check your content. Simple spelling mistakes can cause a visitor to move on to another website.
Ratings and review - if you have the capability make sure that you enable ratings and reviews for your products. Real customer ratings can pass on good information and trust to future customers.
Customer references - Have you done a nice job for a customer that they are happy to talk about? If the answer is yes then get permission to post it up on your website. Good customer references are a great way of instilling confidence in future customers.
If you provide all the basics and ensure that they are clearly visible and easy to find then you will improve your overall trust score.
That will result in an improvement in your business reputation which has a longer term beneficial impact on your business results. Improving trust and reputation is a long term issue and should always be work in progress. Never stop looking for better trust. Eventually you may want to exit the business by selling or merging. Better reputation and trust means better good-will and therefore a higher valuation or multiplier.
One of the most important aspects of selling online is, of course, getting paid. When consumers come to your online store the first step is looking for that perfect product. But hopefully they will want to buy it for themselves which is the result you, the merchant, want. Now comes the important part paying for the purchase. Mistakes here can cost you a sale and bad experience might cause a return and refund as well as a lost future return customer and more sales. So it is important that you use trusted payment providers to handle the online transaction. eCorner no longer allows merchants to collect credit card data manually as it is unsafe and a breach of the payment card industry data security standards. So we have chosen to work with a number of secure payment providers that comply with the highest level of security and trust standards. You can find more information about accepting payments online in our frequently asked questions. You should tell your customers how important payment security is by displaying the correct information.
Google also has had an impact on trust and has moved to require all websites to always have an SSL certificate and also always use encryption (HTTPS) on every page of the website. The move has been applauded by many but in some situations has resulted in lots of pain and frustrations. Older websites often just cannot accomplish what Google requires and sometime do not need to. Many small business owner just don't know what to do.
eCorner has enabled always on SSL encryption with the latest releases of our online shop platform.
There is a impact either way, Once the move is made to HTTPS always then there is an immediate impact on SEO results that can take weeks or months to recover. Google has indicated that websites that support the correct security levels will see better results in organic search. However there is only a small initial improvement that will not be seen until Google fully crawls and indexes the new HTTPS pages.
Google is not really the bad guy and what they recommending is now becoming a necessity for online stores that handle credit card processing security requirements of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Putting security first is always important and will result in improved trust and less risk.