An Online Seller’s Guide to Gaining Consumer Confidence

An e-commerce key on a keyboard

Online selling has gained grounds due to the success of e-commerce companies like Amazon and eBay. Nowadays there are various digital platforms available for people to sell online, which make it hard for consumers to determine if they are trustworthy. However, there are things you can do to earn consumer trust if you plan to sell products online.

It is More Than Just Your Business

Gaining consumer trust is critical since prospect consumers only see your product through pictures and reviews. If consumers order a product, you need to ensure it is in perfect condition when it reaches them.

If you have a website, you need to have trust seals and security logos to let consumers know that it is safe to pay on your website. If you are posting pictures, avoid too much enhancement that could mislead your consumers.

Earning consumer trust could dramatically increase sales as they refer you to their friends and relatives. It is important to note that building trust is not easy, but a simple mistake can tarnish the good reputation you build for years.

Earning Consumer Trust is a Commitment

Aside from ensuring that your customer gets only the highest quality products, you can do other things to gain consumer trust online. You may want to document your day to day operations and show it online. Since you operate online, consumers may find you credible if they know that you work hard to meet their demands. Let your business reflect your typical consumer by sharing contents that they may want and still related to your products.

Earning and continuously building consumer trust is important for online sellers if they want to stay in business. Gaining confidence involves perseverance and dedication you want your company to achieve.

Winning at Searches, Losing at People

Many e-commerce companies value the importance of ranking high on Google’s search engine results page (SERP), as high rankings drive brand visibility and accessibility.

This belief is valid to an extent, but it comes with the misconception that a successful digital marketing strategy solely entails high rankings. The truth is, taking the number spot on Google’s search results is far from being the end-all-and-be-all of digital marketing.

Does a High Ranking Actually Mean Something to Your Customers?

Of course, in terms of visibility, a ranking high in the SERPs makes your website easy to find. But even if you’re winning at searches, you could be losing your target audience.

Around 70 to 80% of people ignore paid search results and even the first few organic results. This data suggests that a high ranking in the SERPs may not be as valuable to your prospective customers as it is to you. Why is this?

More people are starting to distrust the first few entries in the SERPs because of the kind of content they normally encounter.

For example, a user who enters the keyword “living room design ideas” in Google – who is looking for living room design ideas – would click on the top result, which ends up being on a page that’s trying to sell them furniture, curtains, hardware, and other related products. Whenever this happens, users will not stay on the website and instantly exit the page. Users then will look for another site that contains actual helpful and informative content.

People do not like being sold stuff to, even in the digital sphere. Customers do not want to feel that they are merely a transaction to your business. Precisely, this is what a website that immediately displays products and discounts, pop-ups, or a sign-up page does to people.

Pop-ups and Ads

Excessive pop-ups and display ads that interrupt the reading experience can annoy your site visitors. These include video pop-ups that open automatically and pop-ups that redirect visitors to a different site.

pop up display
An Example of a Pop-Up Display

 

disruptive ads
Ads that Disrupt Users While Scrolling

Boxes that Ask for Email

Subscription or newsletter boxes that ask for your site visitor’s email prevent them from reading the content they came to see in the first place.

asks for subscription
A Site That Asks for Newsletter Subscription

 

Email First The Well Send it
Requires a Website Visitor an Email

 

Display boxes that require the visitor to submit personal information so that they can view or access the content can discourage visitors from proceeding with the transaction.

Requires Information- Step 1
A Site That Gives a Free Ebook

 

Requires Information- Step 2
Ebook in Exchange for Personal Information

 

Unfortunately, this phenomenon applies to many websites that rank high on the SERPs, which is why many people no longer trust and click on high-ranking results.

Helping Your Customers Become Better Versions of Themselves

Without the trust of your audience, marketing becomes harder, especially when people are constantly being made to believe that your company does not care about them and their needs. Once people have built this kind of perception about your brand or website, it will be difficult to earn their trust.

The key to gaining the confidence of your customers is by giving them what they are looking for. People do not just buy any product. They are looking for something that will make them feel good about themselves, something that will make them become better versions of themselves.

On the SERPs, there is a huge gap between ranking high and giving people what they’re looking for. High-ranking websites are expected to provide valuable, informative content to attract customers and get them to explore the site.

After reading your content, people should feel like they learned something or that your product or service will solve their problem and change their life in some way. They don’t want to be presented with content that just talks about the products being sold to them.

Before people give you their money, you should be able to give them valuable information without asking for anything in exchange. One of the biggest pet peeves users have with websites is when they’re being asked to sign up for an email newsletter or a downloadable brochure just so they can access your content. This is another way of losing your audience’s interest and preventing what could’ve been a productive consumer-seller engagement.

Build the confidence of your audience by giving them content that they care about. One way to do this is to run a blog section dedicated to informative articles, tips and life hacks, case studies and industry news. You may also integrate useful information into your web pages.

Sites like Paper Boat Creative have useful information and a brief introduction to their company integrated into their product pages. Here are examples of helpful and informative webpages that are likely to retain site visitors:

No Pop-up Displays

The page contains no annoying pop-ups that disrupt the browsing experience.

paper boat creative
A Website That Has No Pop-up Displays

 

Free Relevant Information

Tutorials and case studies are good examples of content that adds value to consumers and boosts confidence in your brand.

free video tutorials
A Website That Offers Free Video Tutorials

 

Tutorials
A Site That Offers Free Tutorials

 

free case studies
Website That Has Free Case Studies

Website Visitors Have Freedom

The contact form is clean and gives the visitor 100% freedom whether to engage or not.

 

contact form
An Ideal Contact Form on a Website

 

Consider Your Customer’s Journey

Apart from feeling like a mere sales transaction, there’s another thing that site visitors don’t like: a mismatch between the keyword you are ranking for and the site content. In other words, your page might not be using the right keywords.

In recent years, user search patterns have become more diverse and complex. People look for product or service reviews, comparisons, the benefits of a product or service, or tangential topics. For this reason, an effective digital marketing strategy must have a comprehensive keyword research and should consider the different stages of a customer’s journey: awareness, consideration, acquisition, service and loyalty.

Let’s take the “living room ideas” keyword as an example. The keyword suggests that the user is simply looking for ideas to revamp their living room. This is most likely not someone who’s ready to make a purchase, so the user expects to find content that will give them living room design suggestions – not a bunch of product pages telling them to buy furniture.

Now let’s say another user searches for “photo editing services for e-commerce.” We can assume that this person is looking for a company that provides this kind of service. They expect to be led to a commercial website that offers this service along with appropriate information about the service or the company. This user no longer needs an article telling them how they can benefit from a photo editing service since they already know their problem and are already looking for a solution.

The key is to analyze your keywords and content thoroughly. Check for any keyword-content mismatches and fix them, if there are any. If necessary, go back to your keyword research and make sure your content optimizes the right keywords.

To win people in the digital landscape, you as a business owner should invest just as much time in figuring out why people buy products as in figuring out how Google works. Where you spend your time defines who you are as a company or as a brand. If you focus more on ranking high on the SERPs, you might not be reaching out to your audience in a way that inspires trust and confidence. But if you invest in good content that users actually find useful, you’re perceived as a trustworthy brand that cares about their customers’ needs. And that, more than SERPs domination, is a priceless competitive edge.