As more and more merchants move online, it becomes an increasing challenge to stand out from the pack. While price may influence a shopper’s choice, it’s usually not the deciding factor: most buyers would prefer to pay a bit more for an item they feel safe buying, than to spend less and worry they’re throwing their money away.
That’s why, as an online retailer, creating a safe and stress-free environment for your shoppers should be a top priority. With internet scams and identity fraud to worry about, most online buyers turn to merchants they recognize and trust. If customers don’t feel secure spending their money with you, they’ll move on to another auction or website where they do feel comfortable.
According to Steve Woda, of http://BuySafe.com, “About fifty percent of people who surf online don’t buy online, and the number one reason is because they don’t trust something about the transaction—the merchant, the process, the payment method. Whatever it is, it’s always about trust.” There are numerous steps you can take to convey credibility to buyers and build their confidence in you:
• Professional Image. Your website or auction listing’s appearance creates a strong impression before customers read a single word. Make sure the message you’re sending is the one you want to be sending. Sloppy errors and misspelled words signal customers they aren’t dealing with a serious businessperson.
• Build Your Ratings. Your merchant ratings and feedback ratings go a long way towards assuring shoppers that, should they purchase from you, their products will arrive and be in good condition.
• Good Customer Service. Promptly returned phone calls and email inquiries, and thorough, courteous communications demonstrate to buyers that you’re a genuine, reliable merchant who will provide them good service.
• Third-party Solutions. This is one of the strongest signals you can send that your business is legitimate and trustworthy.
o Seals from companies like the Better Business Bureau, SquareTrade, and BuySafe tell customers your business has passed inspection and been approved by trusted third parties. BuySafe will even guarantee your transactions, so your buyers can shop risk-free.
o Verisign and GeoTrust SSL certificates let your buyers know their personal information is encrypted. Other third-party solutions are available, like HackerSafe which scans your site for vulnerabilities, and TRUSTe which examines your privacy policies. Making PayPal available as a payment option also tells buyers you’ve been through a very thorough verification process.
There’s more than enough data to prove that employing any of these solutions can significantly increase your conversion rate. When buyers trust you, they’re much quicker to spend money with you. Says Woda, “I do recommend merchants… deal with buyer uncertainties by leveraging as many of these things as they possibly can. It’s all about distinguishing [yourself] as professional, legitimate, and credible.”