E-commerce is about more than just selling products. It’s also about building strong relationships with your customers. Without a good relationship, customers won’t trust your business enough to buy from you.
Today’s online shoppers are always opting out and unsubscribing, often because they don’t trust businesses to valuably use their contact information. Over 40% of people use ad blockers when browsing the web and 70-80% of people ignore sponsored search results.
Customer trust has to be earned, but when you do get it, the rewards will be worth it. If you want to win new customers and keep existing ones, then you should work on building trust.
In this blog, we look at why building customer trust for e-commerce matters and give you a practical list of seven steps to increase customer trust in 2022.
What is customer trust and why does it matter?
Customer trust is the faith or belief that a consumer has in a business. Trust shows a confidence in a business’ promise to deliver what’s best for the customer.
Customer trust is important because it allows your business to engage and keep loyal customers. Retaining customers is absolutely vital to the success of your business. The Pareto Principle tells us that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. These are loyal customers who trust your business.
By building trust you can turn more of your customer base into that valuable 20% with a higher lifetime value for your business. These customers will then reward you with repeat sales, positive reviews, and useful feedback to help you grow your business.
It’s also more valuable to retain existing customers than try and win new ones. New customers have a 32% chance of coming back for a 2nd purchase. So build trust in your existing customer base.
How to gain customer trust and loyalty
Building customer trust is about creating emotional connections and long-term relationships with your customers. Here are seven practical ways that your business can gain customer trust:
1. Ask your customers for reviews and publish them
People trust other people more than businesses. We live in a world saturated with marketing, so customers seek authenticity from real people before making a purchase. Your messaging comes with inherent bias, and customers are aware when they are being sold to.
That’s why online businesses need online reviews and testimonials from real people to give authenticity to everything you do. Customer reviews provide qualitative insights from real people about your products, customer service, delivery, and overall customer experience.
Asking your customers for reviews post-purchase and sharing these reviews on your website and social media is a great way to build customer trust. If you know customers who have had a particularly great experience with your business, ask them to leave some feedback via email.
Related: How to Get Customer Reviews for Your Business and Why They Matter
2. Deliver excellent customer service
One of the central hallmarks of customer service is to help customers solve problems. Your customer service team should approach interactions with the goal of solving the problem quickly and building good customer relationships. Doing so can help you build customer trust and create more loyal customers.
Delivering excellent customer service through your e-commerce site is one of the most immediate and direct ways of building customer trust. It shows commitment to your customer base, proving that you don’t just exist to take their money. It’s an extra service your customer gets when they choose to interact with you.
Your customer service should be able to think outside the box to solve customer issues. It shows your customers that your business truly cares about its customers and is willing to go the extra mile to solve their problem.
Your customer service strategy should include:
- Multiple ways for customers to communicate (live chat, email, phone, etc.)
- Fast responses
- Unique solutions for specific issues
- Empathetic approach to customer problems
Related: How to Optimize Your After-sales Service for E-commerce
3. Create a personalization strategy
Personalization is when an online store delivers customized content to its customers, based on their preferences and shopping history. This means sending target messages that look different for every user.
Personalization shows customers that you’re using their info usefully to create a better shopping experience for them. When customers know you can handle their data effectively, they will trust you more and your customer retention rate will increase.
One of the best ways to start personalizing fast is to send targeted emails to customers based on their shopping habits. 70% of customers said they would be loyal to a brand if they got personalized offers. Personalized loyalty emails also have a 20x higher click-through rate than regular e-commerce emails.
Related: 5 Trends Shaping E-commerce in 2022
4. Make a rewards and loyalty program that focuses on aspirational perks
74% of customers say their loyalty is motivated by working towards a reward.
Loyalty builds trust, so the two go hand-in-hand. Building a loyalty and rewards program that has aspirational perks lets customers work towards something when shopping with you.
An engaging customer loyalty program will help you drive sales and increase retention. With a rewards program you are incentivizing the act of buying from you. E-commerce businesses offer perks like free shipping when a certain order threshold is reached, or give points to customers when they spend certain amounts that they can redeem for money off a future purchase.
Combined with the previous point of personalization, rewards programs can be a great way to engage and retain loyal customers. 79% of customers say they are motivated to exhibit brand loyalty if they feel like they’re accumulating points they can benefit from at a later date.
There’s also an exclusivity factor to a rewards program by allowing your customer to be part of a VIP club that earns points to get special benefits for shopping with your store. Loyalty program members spend 40% more annually than non-members so it’s worth investing in an e-commerce customer loyalty program.
Related: How to Increase Your Store’s Average Order Value
5. Align your business’ emotions and values with your customers
The new generation of digital shoppers really care about the values of the businesses they shop with. You need to consider everything from your marketing messaging down to your product packaging, from first customer interaction to last, and consider your customer engagement strategy.
First you should identify your core audience and determine their values and motivations. Once you’ve nailed these down, you can shape your messaging and values and align them with your main buyers.
By emotionally aligning your business with your audience, you engender a sense of community among your customers. They’ll feel at home shopping on your online store and reward you with continued business and trust.
Related: How Gen Z Is Shaping the Future of E-commerce
6. Be honest and transparent
Honesty and transparency is crucial for nurturing customer trust. Being fully transparent allows you to set realistic customer expectations from the start. If something does go wrong, your honesty will help your business maintain credibility.
Every customer should be fully aware what they are buying and when they can expect to get it when placing an order. You can build customer trust by providing customers with as much information about the product and delivery before they make a purchase.
E-commerce sites need to go above and beyond to create transparency, as online customers don’t get to hold the actual product or speak to a real salesperson.
Crafting lengthy and detailed product descriptions with a variety of accompanying product images can build trust with your customer. You’re being fully transparent about the item for sale and not trying to hide anything. When customers see this, they’ll trust your business more.
Related: 9 Steps to Creating Product Descriptions That Sell
7. Secure your site
Customers want to ensure their credit card and personal information will be secured when they’re checking out. E-commerce stores collect lots of personal information at checkout, and it’s essential that all of this data is encrypted.
You should see this padlock icon before your site address in the address bar which indicates that you have an SSL certificate for your site:
If you don’t see that then your site is not secure. Customers will be very hesitant to shop from you online if they see that the site is not secure.
Being secure lets customers know they can trust you with their credit card and personal information.