Performance Ignited

The 7 Critical Elements Your Ecommerce Site Needs to Be Considered Trustworthy

With the emergence of ecommerce platforms like LemonStand, Shopify and Squarespace, thousands of people are flocking to create their own niche storefronts. The problem is, the rise in both online fraud and new online stores has created a paradox where new storefronts are trusted and not trusted at the same time.

To ensure your website stands up to the trust test, here are seven critical online elements your site should have.

1. Page speed. Believe it or not page speeds the time it takes for a web page to load on a user's computer plays a role in the trust of your online storefront. Slower page load times can result in higher bounce rates (how many people leave after visiting one page on your site) and diminish trust with users. Internet-marketing agency Portent found every second you shave off your site’s average page load time (without shedding page views) means an 8 percent improvement in page value.

Related: 8 Ways to Build a More Welcoming Homepage

2. Web design. Web design can make or break user experience. Poor user experience leads to a loss in trust and can adversely affect conversion rates (turning a customer into a sale). Parboteeah Dr. Veena Parboteeah, an assistant professor of information systems at Eastern New Mexico University stated, “Prior research has found that both dimensions of visual design -- that is, graphic, all appearance (attractiveness proper use of fonts, proper use of colors) and structure (navigation, search facilities, valid links, ease of accessing the site) -- are important antecedents of perceived usefulness, enjoyment, satisfaction and behavioral attitudes.”

In other words the right colors, fonts, and navigation structure all play important role in perceived online trust.

3. Privacy policy. Consumers care about the way you collect and use their personal information. Your privacy policy should disclose all of the ways you intend to gather and use your customer’s information. It is extremely important to be as transparent as possible with your privacy policy. Here are some items to consider:

  • Does your site use cookies (a piece of data stored on a user's computer that notifies certain activity)
  • Will you sell any personal information to third-parties, affiliates and other companies?
  • How is information collected?
  • Does your site track geolocation?
  • Can users opt in and out?

4. Social-media impact. Social media can have a strong influence on trust. Prior empirical research from Khalid Aldiri (a professor at Bradford University) and others confirms that the use of facial photos or video clips may engender initial trust toward an unfamiliar ecommerce site. In addition, numerous scholars have found that the availability of more social-media applications (e.g. "likes,"  "tweets," and "shares") in an ecommerce site enhances consumer’s trust, loyalty, perceived usefulness and purchase intuitions.

Related: 4 Ways to Build Trust Quickly

5. Consumer confidence. Consumer confidence is how confident your audience feels with your website. You can often measure or track consumer confidence through reviews, testimonials and feedback on your site. One of the reasons Amazon has become so trusted is because of its built-in review system that allows consumers to see what others think of products.

Give your customers a voice by asking them to leave reviews, comments and feedback on your website, social media channels and through email. 

6. Company information. Company information is one of the most critical elements of online trust. Think about your own experiences when shopping online. How likely are you to purchase from a website that does not provide contact information, about us information, and returns/refunds/shipping information? Evidence shows security policies and vendor-specific guarantees (e.g return policies) can be as effective as paid institutional mechanisms such as third party trust endorsements.

I strongly recommend making the following information readily available on your website:

  • About us page
  • Contact information (phone, email, address, etc.)
  • Identity of executives and management team
  • Licenses (if applicable)
  • Awards
  • Company history (year started, mission, etc.)

7. Third-party security.Third-party security includes trust seals and antivirus software running on your site. Having trust seals from companies like Truste and McAfee can increase conversion rates. These seals show potential customers that your site has been reviewed and vetted by a trustworthy business. But be aware that these services can cost thousands of dollars.

If you don’t have a big budget there are alternative resources. For example, Trustafact (launching soon) runs a proprietary analysis that enables consumers to receive a 360 view of any site’s online trust. The reports are free and take 30 seconds to conduct. 

Related: How Companies Can Leverage Influence to Create Trust