Today most people buy online. Some only buy online. But that doesn't mean you don't have to earn and retain shoppers' trust before they'll commit to buy from you.
You need someone to say good things about you to their friends, family and acquaintances. This is where solid customer service pays off big time
It's like dating: You need to build trust to take your relationship to the next level. Not sure how to "wine and dine" them until you've proven yourself honorable and, well, trustworthy? We'll walk you through it.
Impress them before the date
First, you need someone to say good things about you to their friends, family and acquaintances to have a shot at a first date. This is where solid customer service pays off big.
But what about those potential customers who aren't hearing the word-of-mouth recommendations? How will you attract and convince them you're trustworthy? Advertise.
Reach them through online ads, emails, or social media post, and hit these key points:
If you sell on an online store, ensure it has a well-thought-out domain name, something that's easy to find and remember. Dot-com domains are still the best, though dot-nets are OK, too.
Take money the way people spend it. Most marketplaces let you do this. If you have your own online store, though, ensure you accept the various payment methods shoppers use these days, so they're in their comfort zone when they stop by. Take credit card orders using trusted and verified payment processors and look for payment providers who safely and easily allow guest checkout.
Provide reliable contact methods (phone, email, social media). If you're easy to contact, customers know you're easy to work with—a huge draw, because, well, sometimes issues arise.
Be out and about. If there are trade shows, or events where you can introduce yourself and your business to new people, be there! This way the word-of-mouth comes directly from you. And post a recap with photos on social media, so others can see you're an actual person who actively engages with customers.
Nail the first 'trust me' dance
As you're wooing shoppers, you're doing a "trust me" dance. The steps aren't complicated, but you want to get them right to get a second dance. So be sure to commit wholeheartedly by looking once more at these areas:
Good manners always matter. Use clear and polite language, on you site, in your listings and in your communications
Appearance: Literally, this is where the first impression is made on that nail-biter of a first blind date. Make sure your site and listings are clean and thoughtfully organized.
Don't come on too strong with a barrage of colors, designs, and mind-numbing statements. Craft a simple but heartfelt welcome statement, use plenty of white or clean space, include all the pertinent information of a listing, and offer an easy-to-understand layout.
Manners: Good manners always matter. Use clear and polite language, on you site, in your listings and in your communications. Say, "hello" and "welcome." Remember, you're working to woo your visitors.
Attention and assistance: Show your shopper you care by giving her the help she needs, how she prefers it. This means having on-site FAQs if you're selling on a stand alone site, offering live chat or a customer service phone number. If you're selling on a marketplace, be thoughtful and quick when you respond to shoppers' questions.
Gratefulness: How you manage your business should exude a mood of gratefulness. Your entire method should show you've gone to extra lengths to ensure shoppers have a good, reliable experience, the first time and (hopefully) every other time to come.
Doing this "dance" properly will do wonders for your perceived trustworthiness. The attention to details will show you have shoppers in mind, from the casual looker to the repeat buyer.
Make them swoon
Tell shoppers what service will deliver their items and on what date they should expect to receive them. Tracking numbers are always trust-boosters
Of course, the date isn't over until that sometimes-awkward moment at the doorstep. So, to cap off the magical encounter and open the door for future "dates," be sure your checkout process includes these important and trust-building elements:
SSL: The Secure Sockets Layer encryption certificate is easy to install and assures shoppers their personal and payment information is accessible only by you.
Items to be purchased: Basic but important, confirm exactly what your buyer is purchasing so she can make any changes, if necessary.
Shipping carrier and delivery date: Tell shoppers what service will deliver their items and on what date they should expect to receive them. Tracking numbers are always trust-boosters.
Confirmation: When the order processes successfully, provide a confirmation screen and an accompanying email message. Include a summary of the order and provide an order number for customers’ reference.
Trust takes work. You have to earn it, but through diligence and attention to details, you can show you're trustworthy and gain first-time shoppers' confidence. Take these steps and chances are you'll be enjoying wonderful new relationships, built on trust, one customer at a time.