Creating a Website that Customers Will Trust
Pew Research recently found that nearly eight out of ten Americans are shopping online. A lot of them enter the e-commerce world with some concerns.The job of a site owner hoping to secure and maintain consumer traffic is to communicate trustworthiness on every page.
Creating a website that affirms that customer information is going to be protected and safe is of the utmost importance. It’s one of the most important factors that will allow you to keep individuals coming back to your site and recommending it highly to friends and family.
Creating a safe web atmosphere is a combination of several elements that reinforce your website’s quality and priorities.
The Right Visuals
Because online consumers have fewer visual components to make judgements with than those in a physical space, what they do see matters a lot. Creating a site that visually affirms what they need to believe about your site to be true, is crucial. You don’t have the benefit of an employee or customer service rep speaking one-on-one with your customers, so it’s important that the design and development of your web site does the job all on its own.
Doing this means that you have a synchronized, easy-to-use site.
Graphic Design: Do the color and illustrations harmonize? Is it cohesive and pleasing to the eye? Are all of the tools for navigation easy to access and straightforward to utilize? If something seems out of place, then give some thought to how it can either be better placed/designed, or whether or not it just needs to be removed completely.
Photos: Beyond the graphics, are you utilizing photos to clearly communicate your organization’s vibe? If text or graphics won’t provide the aesthetic or the clarity needed, make sure the pictures you showcase do. Even if you’re not a professional photographer, if you have an iphone brush up on your photography skills, because even just a smartphone can give your site an aesthetic leg-up.
Navigation: Even if every element of your site is perfect, if it isn’t user-friendly it will fail. It’s crucial that the navigation controls for users are intuitive and right where they should be. If any page on your site calls for some sort of action, make sure that action can be initiated right there and then. If you’re on a product or service page ensure that if it’s not what the visitor is looking for, they can easily access related content, etc.
The Right Safety Features
While e-commerce is the current market trend, that does not mean that consumers are not wary of disclosing their information to websites. A whopping 77 percent of consumers don’t feel safe shopping online.
As we’ve noted before, “An important question concerning cybersecurity is what to do when you are hacked. The more important question, however, is how to prevent it from happening in the first place.”
So, as a site owner, it’s important that you provide the features that will ensure the safety of your customers. Doing this includes two methods of security.
The first is the one that you as a site owner provide. A SSL (Secure Server Lock) is a system that makes potential customers feel secure disclosing information on your site. SSL certificates provide the means for encrypted communication so that the information that passes from customers to you, stays secure. SSLs also create visual cues, such as a green bar or lock icon, so site visitors know exactly what they’re dealing with.
Second, the best way to reassure your customers that you are trustworthy is to provide them with the resources they need to be safe online. If the very website where they are nervous about giving their info is encouraging smart password and credit card use, they’ll be more likely to assign trustworthiness to it.
An extension of that second point is that your employees should be promoting data security as well; they should be modeling the behavior that you hope your customers will employ. If they do, your organization will be safer and will more effectively ward off any situation that could result in a bad reputation.
As Nicolas Cesare of Fiscal Tiger notes, “The vast majority of cybercrime that the average American suffers from relies on the poor behavior of the victim. The common cyber-criminal doesn’t go hunting for prey. Instead, he lies in wait until a hapless internet user surfs by. Only then is the trap sprung, a trap that capitalizes on the victim’s bad habits to steal his or her identity and financial information.”
The Right Communication
To build trust between your site and potential clientele, communication is a priceless tool. A site’s willingness to disclose things and to respond promptly and positively to inquiries made by individuals will send a clear message that there’s nothing to hide.
Not only do you want to make it easy for them to find your policies themselves, but you should also be welcoming contact and making it clear that you’re a real person, operating a real business. You should be readily accessible to foster conversations with your customers, and should be active on social media platforms in such a way that the natural conclusion is the authenticity of both you and your site’s authenticity.
As Thomas Smale of Entrepreneur notes, “When your prospects and customers trust you, they are more likely to buy from you. When you have their trust, you can also command a higher price and boost the lifetime value of each customer.”
It’s the Right Way to Do Things
Ultimately, there is no shortcut to a successful site. Instead, making a site that represents your brand well and that will flourish in the modern consumer market is about building upon certain, non-negotiable foundational pieces.
You have to create a space where the consumer is convinced of the trustworthiness of the individuals who make up your site, as well as the authority of your organization as a professional entity.
It’s an area that is certainly not unique to the world of the internet, as all storefronts rely on the quality of the relationship they have with their customers; but, it is exceedingly important for a website, especially a website that lacks a physical storefront, to do everything in it’s power to secure a solid foundation of trust between themselves and their potential clientele.