Mar 13 2013

7 Cheap Ways to Build Confidence in Your eCommerce Store

Blue Acorn usually handles considerably large clients, but let’s say that you manage a mom and pop eCommerce store with niche products. Most likely, visitors to your site are there because they need something special they can’t get on Amazon. You do solid business, but you’re hardly pulling in millions of customers, not to mention their hard-earned money.

The easy answer is to increase the conversion rate for the customers you do have, but maybe you don’t have the capital lying around to spend on an eCommerce solution. There are still ways you can mitigate the risk your customers feel and bolster the conversion rate without spending a fortune. Here are seven inexpensive ways to get you started.

1. Include a Phone Number

So your storefront may only exist in the digital realm, but customer service needs to look like it exists in reality. That means putting up a phone number on your site, even if you have to say that you only accept calls during special hours on the weekdays. In addition to a phone number, you may want to include a physical address to build confidence.

Note that, the higher your cost, the higher the risk for your customers, and the more a little detail like a phone number can affect confidence. For instance, one of my colleagues recently related a past work experience at a mom and pop eCommerce shop. The shop, which sold very high dollar items, was experiencing a very low conversion rate. It was apparent to my friend that this was due to the shabby-looking site and the absence of a phone number. There was no way to call and verify the legitimacy of the business. The consequence was a lack of customer confidence, which led to a low conversion rate.

Shortly after putting a phone number on the homepage, the phone rang constantly and the conversion rate nearly doubled. Without a costly redesign to the site, the site had an increased conversion rate.

2. Accept Credit Cards and Debit Cards

Once upon a time, the internet was a scary place. Danger still lurks, but your consumers have learned to watch out for the marks of a bad scam. One of them is a site that doesn’t accept credit cards and debit cards, which give your customers a layer of protection i.e. offering them a way of getting their money back if they can prove they are the victim of a scam. Other methods leave them high and dry.

It may be obvious to some, but if you don’t accept credit cards, and only accept Western Union or, much worse, only certified checks, then customers will not trust your site, or worse, think you’re site is a scam. Call it unfair. Call it a blanket assessment. Call it whatever you want, but consumers have come to associate certain payment methods with scams. So go ahead and leave them as an option, but don’t rely on them as your only method.

3. Have Testimonials/Reviews.

It goes without saying, external reviews help to build confidence. Place links to reviews on Yelp, Google, your Better Business Bureau page, Urbanspoon, and/or whatever applicable and relevant review sites you can find. Meanwhile, if you have a physical location, most of these review sites prove that you’re on the map.

4. Make Your Social Media Presence Obvious

Having a healthy social footprint is the sign of a legitimate business operation. Keep your social media channels, like Facebook, visible on your site, and keep them active. Do what you can to get customers to engage, give feedback, and post positive sentiments about your brand.

5. Have FAQ and Policy Pages

Questions about warranties, returns, shipping, etc – people have asked about all of these before and you’ve answered before. Save them and you some time by devoting an easy-to-find CMS page with all of this information.

One thing to remember – remove as much of the ambiguity as possible and you remove the risk. Do this by being clear and concise and including any product specific information. Then, promote the information on the order success page and the checkout. While you’re at it, you can add other valuable brand building content to your order success page.

6. Have a Professional Looking Website.

Have you ever walked into a dimly lit retail store with an odd smell, coming from either the ragtag employee with the bloodshot eyes or a mysterious carpet stain in the men’s section? Maybe you haven’t, but if you had walked into such a store, it’s doubtful you would’ve browsed the products for long.

It goes without saying, a professional looking eCommerce site will do wonders for customer confidence. A well-designed site impresses, inspires confidence, and relays critical information easily and with near transparency. The goal is to provide everything the customer needs to make their purchase and none of the clutter that gets in the way, like advertisements for other businesses, an overload of sales banners, or blank pages.

7. Have an About Us Page.

Whether you call the page, “Our History”, “Our Story” or simply “About Us”, having a page dedicated to your story shows that you’ve been around for a while and you know how to take care of your customers. It also builds your brand identity and differentiates you from the competition.

According to our research, visitors to an About Us page were five times more likely to make a purchase than those that didn’t. They also spent an average of 22.5% more on their purchases. If you’re interested in how to make a better about us page, check out our article here.

So there you have it. Seven low hanging fruit, all ripe for the picking. If you have any ways that I didn’t mention, then leave a comment in the comment box below.

Matt Rickerby

Matt began his career in ecommerce at Blue Acorn over seven years ago. His areas of expertise include persona development, account-based marketing, and content marketing. He has co-written speaking sessions for Bronto Summit, DIG South, GIANT, and Revolve, and received multiple awards for videography, blogging, and copywriting.


Apr 17 2013

I think one important point you missed is “value proposition”. You must answer to the question that why a customer should make purchase on your site and not on other similar website.

Shawn Houchin
Apr 25 2013

This a solid article and good advice for eCommerce start-ups. I think that depending on product a Live Chat operator helps convert visitors into customers.

Shilpi Gupta
Nov 24 2015

One can also put comparison option to facilitate the customers


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