Creating Trust Online

Feb 2 10:27 2008 Bjorn Brands Print This Article

Making the very first purchase from a site you've just stumbled across can often be a very emotional experience. The excellent copy, hard-hitting benefits, and free demo you loved have compelled you to own this wondrous product. But at the same time something holds you back. What?

Making the very first purchase from a site you've just stumbled across can often be a very emotional experience. The excellent copy,Guest Posting hard-hitting benefits, and free demo you loved have compelled you to own this wondrous product.

But at the same time something holds you back. It could be a missing privacy policy, an order page that's not secure, or perhaps the company seems faceless - are these guys reputable or are they located off-shore?

It could even be something that just strikes you as unprofessional - bad grammar, an annoying flash presentation, weird fonts, slabs of text on dark background, or broken links.

As result, you hold off on your buying decision. How often is your site having this effect on customers? Likely, quite a bit, but like most online retailers you'll never know when this happens.

TRUSTe, the independent online trust authority, and TNS announced the results of their 2005 Holiday Shopping/Online Trust Survey. The results may surprise you. Many internet users simply don't trust smaller, independent online retailers.

According to the study:

· While 78 percent of American internet users plan to conduct some shopping online this year, 69 percent of those shoppers will limit their online purchasing because of fears associated with misuse of personal information.

· Privacy issues will deter more than 40 percent of consumers from shopping at smaller online retailers. · Among those willing to use ecommerce, nearly 42 percent prefer using the large, well-known online brands they believe will keep them safer from privacy-related threats.

· The top five factors that shoppers say might limit or prevent them from buying online this holiday season are, in order; o identity theft (cited by 49 percent) o spam resulting from online purchases (39 percent) o credit card theft (39 percent) o spyware (38 percent) o preference for the touch and feel of shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores (35 percent)

But it's not just lack of brand name awareness that may cause someone to hesitate buying from you.

A study conducted by Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab revealed that little things, such as misspellings, could be detrimental to a site's credibility.

So what creates trust?

The Stanford study analyzed key factors - expertise, trustworthiness, sponsorship, and miscellaneous criteria and found some of the highest rated elements to be:

· fast response to customer service queries

· comprehensive and clear information

· author's credentials are listed

· complete contact information is listed

· privacy policy clearly stated

· search capabilities on the site

· site has been prominently advertised

· ads on site are relevant

· professional design

· site has proven useful in the past

This tactic will focus on how you can make fast changes to your site that may dramatically boost the trust level between you and your site visitors.

The 4 Key Areas of Trust

We've identified 4 key areas where you can build trust on your site. We'll show you how to implement trust-building techniques in these 4 areas.

The areas to focus on are:

1. Transparency: Can the visitor quickly identify who you are, see your contact information and understand your background?

2. The Human Touch: Does your site incorporate elements that give it a human touch? This includes bios, pictures of staff, as well as technological tricks like virtual assistants and blogs.

3. Customer Care: Does your site show that you care about your customers?

4. Privacy and Security: Do you have prominent, well defined security and privacy policies? After reading this tactic you should be able to immediately incorporate many of these trust elements within your site in a day or two.

Although some of the elements of trust sound complicated to create (such as a privacy policy) we'll show you shortcuts and offer templates that will make this easy to do.

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Bjorn Brands
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