Establishing trust is a perpetual concern for online vendors. Although shoppers are becoming increasingly comfortable parting with their details online, they may still need assurance when visiting an unfamiliar Ecommerce site. Adding trust marks to your site is just one way to build trust with your audience.
What are trust marks?
Trust marks are images or logos that Ecommerce sites display to show that they have met various security and privacy requirements. They are independent third party assurances that should help reassure your customers that it is safe to shop on the site. Some of the most commonly recognised trust marks include the Verisign, McAfee, TRUSTe and PayPal verified site marks. Your site will need to meet various criteria before you can acquire these trust marks and display the logos legitimately.
According to research by Comodo, a mainstream trust mark provider, customers have high recognition and understanding of what the symbols mean and how they provide security. This provider also claims that customers demand trust marks on Ecommerce sites they use (source: https://www.comodo.com/hackerproof/why_trust_marks.html). McAfee, another trust mark provider, claim that websites displaying their trust mark have a 12% higher conversion compared to those that don’t. If this is true, you may improve your site performance (and profitability) by using trust marks.
Customers may already trust businesses that they know from visiting a physical store (for example, they may have shopped in a physical Starbucks and then visited the site to pay for a Starbucks gift card online). They may also trust purchases from an unknown seller through a familiar platform or marketplace such as Amazon or Ebay. But if they are unfamiliar with both your brand and website then it’s a good idea to provide familiar assurances such as trust marks in order to reassure them you are a genuine site that will fulfil their expectations.
Signing up for one of these schemes can also protect your business. The trust mark authority will regularly test your website to see if there are any vulnerabilities in the security. You’ll be notified if they identify any concerns or the chance of a hacker attack. This kind of service can help protect your reputation and help your business avoid problems with fraud or cyberattacks.
How to get a trust mark on your website
If you decide to sign up for a trust mark scheme, it’s always best to go with one with high recognition. This may vary according to your market, so do some research first into which trust marks are recognised in your market. It’s fairly low effort on your part to get vetted for a trust mark scheme – the provider will conduct an initial assessment of your site to vet it for security, then give feedback on how strong it is. This service usually costs a few hundred US dollars. You may incur further expense if the trust mark authority identifies any concerns with your site which will need fixing before you can obtain the trust mark. This may mean you have to make changes to your site which will incur costs from your developer resource.
Usually when you sign up for a trust mark scheme, the provider will conduct an initial billable website test to assess your site’s security and resilience to cyberattacks and hacking, then if it passes the test, you will need to pay a fee like a subscription cost to continue to participate. This subscription-type cost will vary according to your site traffic. Sites with more traffic may have to pay more to participate. Although it can cost up to a few thousand dollars a year to obtain a trust mark, the scheme may pay for itself if it reassures customers enough that they convert in higher numbers on your website.
It’s recommended that if you are going to participate in a trust mark scheme, you should check your conversion rate (or other relevant metric, such as basket abandonment rate) before and after you add the trust mark to your site. This way you should be able to identify if it has made a positive difference to your site. Another way to assess whether the trust mark cost is a worthwhile expense is to try A/B testing, i.e. test two versions of the page, one with the trust mark and one without, to see how their performance compares.
Overcoming basket abandonment
One of the common problems Ecommerce retailers have is the challenge of overcoming basket abandonment. This occurs when shoppers abandon Ecommerce purchases before completion. Many Ecommerce vendors display trust marks at points in the user journey where reassurance is especially needed, such as the point where customers have to part with their credit card details. You may find it helpful to do the same.
Other ways to reassure your customers
Web users make decisions about whether to trust an online site very quickly and base their decisions on a number of factors. This includes whether the site works well and looks professional, whether you are transparent with information such as prices and shipping, and whether the branding is consistent and all elements of your site work as intended. You can also support trust online with the following actions:
- Display your reviews, including any negative ones. Customers are actually likelier to believe reviews if they are not 100% positive.
- Be transparent about shipping costs and don’t make customers have to put things in their basket to find out what shipping will cost.
- Provide information about your company, including where you are based, your team, and other credentials such as your history or where you source your products from.
- Provide a prominent low cost phone number for your customer helpline.
- Customer testimonials can also help promote trust.
- Provide plenty of product information, such as the measurement, weights etc.
- Customers may also be reassured by knowing you have a physical store somewhere.
- Use a third party payment system such as Stripe or PayPal rather than asking for credit card details.
All these measures will help your website communicate that it is trustworthy.