How to build consumer trust in E-Commerce

In this blog we are going to look at two avenues of how consumer trust in E-Commerce can be built. Firstly, through simple tweaks to an E-Commerce site and secondly, through improved sophistication of South African banking systems.

To start then let’s look at some tweaks to an E-Commerce site which can help gain the trust of online shoppers.

Tweak1- Make your site a “safe place” for shoppers

Where there’s trust, there’s trade

Use trust seals and privacy policies. A trust seal is simply a badge that can be granted or added to your website to let your customers know that your website is legitimate and secure. E.g.: SSL certificates, payment processor logos, money-back guarantee badges, third-party endorsements such as a Better Business Bureau badge. Privacy policies should also be published assuring customers that their details won’t be used for other purposes. The use of established E-Commerce software developers or platforms also goes a long way in making the online shopper feel more comfortable knowing that their sensitive data is being expertly secured.

Tweak2- Provide detailed product/shipping/after-sales information

Consumers want transparency with regards to what they are getting (e.g.: product measurements, weight, features, warranty etc), delivery options (e.g.: shipping costs, timeframes), after sales service (e.g.: how to return a product or get assistance operating it). Should any of these not be clear, it can cause a shopper to abandon their shopping cart.

Tweak3- Display social proof 

If a visitor on your website sees that other people have purchased from your company, they’re more likely to buy from you too – this supports a phenomenon called "Social Proof". Social Proof can be displayed on your E-Commerce site by sharing product reviews, stats on number of customers who bought the product, photos of satisfied customers etc.

Tweak4- Build a relationship with your audience

Put a place to your name

Have a compelling “About Us” page which gives a shopper a peek into who you are and what’s important to you- enabling them to feel like they know you. Also have a physical presence i.e.: ensure “Contact Us” includes contact numbers, email addresses and preferably an actual address. Include a blog where you can help familiarise consumers with your brand or products or allow them to communicate directly with you via “Comments” section.

Besides the above tweaks, the other avenue key to building trust in the online shopping arena is to look at our banking systems.

Improve the sophistication of South African banking systems

Trust, in part, is about knowledge and about how much the market is doing to explain the risks associated with retail, and what customers should do if their transactional cards are used fraudulently. South Africa has a fairly mature banking environment in comparison to the rest of Africa. This helps as there has been a big educational push to make online shoppers aware that if there is a problem with fraud on their bank account, when it comes to online stores, the liability sits with the retail partner or the bank.

Some South African banks are even introducing a “Virtual card” - a completely digital card to use for online purchases without having to use credit or debit cards details. Money is easily and instantaneously loaded onto the virtual card when needed, from the shopper's bank account, making this card safer than physical cards because no one can steal or duplicate the card, and the shopper is in complete control of the amounts loaded on the card.

To summarise: Gaining trust from online shoppers is a must if you want to grow your e-commerce business and turn your most hesitant window shoppers into loyal customers.