Six Trust Signals to Win Over Online Shoppers This Holiday Season

Image of Matt Casadona
Matt Casadona
Published: Nov 19, 2021
Last Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Online shopping grew dramatically during COVID lockdowns and that increase has held steady as we head into the 2022 holiday shopping season, with consumers planning to make almost half their purchases online—despite acknowledging that inflation worries are causing holiday financial stress and may drive them further into debt.

Nonetheless, the brand reputation trackers at RepTrak say that the reputation of retailers is down because of ongoing supply chain issues, along with higher expectations that have put the onus on brands to establish (or reestablish) trust with buyers this holiday season.

What are some ways online merchants can earn trust? Here are six website trust signals retailers can use in their ecommerce stores to help win over visitors and complete more sales:

1. Intuitive Navigation

If your website is hard to navigate or slowly loads, then you’ll lose out on valuable customers. Designing your website with customer experience in mind allows you to make the shopping experience quick and simple.

Navigation is important for all websites, but for ecommerce websites offering a wide range of products, mistakes can make the difference between success and failure. In user studies covering thousands of homepage and category navigation elements, the research house Baymard Institute found that sub-par user experiences were the order of the day.

To offer a better user experience, avoid:

  • Slow loading speeds

  • Poor responsiveness

  • Design roadblocks

  • Poor category taxonomy 

2. First-Party Reviews

Reviews on other websites (like Yelp or G2) are called third-party reviews. Customer reviews on your own website are known as first-party reviews. First-party reviews are one of the most effective website trust signals because they give potential buyers insights from other customers. Most online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, so the more reviews you have on your website, the better.

Your ecommerce store should include reviews on these pages:

  • Product pages. By including reviews on product pages, you can show potential customers what your past customers thought about a single product. A simple way to showcase these reviews is with a star rating near the top of the page that links to a full review section below the product description. 
  • Homepage. By including reviews on homepages, you can showcase reviews about your brand or business in general. These reviews can include past experiences shopping on your website or dealing with your customer service team.
  • Review pages. Review pages are full pages of reviews without anything else on them so your customers won’t get distracted when trying to learn about other people’s experiences with your business. 

3. Detailed Product Descriptions

Your product photos should be high-resolution, but your product descriptions might be even more important for your website’s conversion rate. Better product information is one of the major reasons consumers give for shopping online compared to physical stores, where consumers are often limited to information on product packaging or what a store employee can tell them.

Customers can’t look at a photo online and determine if it’s something they want to buy without reading any information about the product. Product descriptions allow you to tell your customers information about a product to help them decide to purchase.

Descriptions can include:

  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Color
  • Features
  • Functionality
  • Materials
  • Ingredients

In UX studies, when online shoppers were not provided with enough product detail, they assumed a product didn’t have the features they needed—so they left the site. If the copy did have enough detail but wasn’t organized to be easy to read, the shoppers felt overwhelmed—so they left. If the copy had sufficient detail and was well-organized, but was too salesy, they felt distrustful—so they left.

For inspiration on how to prepare a product description, check out this product page for a shoulder relief pillow.

4. Information About You

Your customers need to be able to contact you when they have questions or concerns, just like they would with a sales associate in a brick-and-mortar store. Not putting vital contact information on your website can frustrate customers; some may question your business's legitimacy. Your website should have a contact page along with contact information like a phone number and email on the header so it can be found no matter what page a customer is on.

Beyond contact information, you can further establish rapport and trust with visitors by sharing your "superhero story"—your company's unique origin story—on the About Us page of your site.

5. Online Presence Indicators

Your website should have indicators that you have a presence online beyond your store. These indicators can be icons or links pointing to third-party reviews, media coverage and other inbound trust signals. Be sure to include icons linking to your social media pages as well.

When a website visitor views your social media, they’ll see your follower count, posts and engagement, which will show that other people are interested in your business and have shopped at your store. Put your social media links in the footer of your website like Shareable for Hires does so your customers can easily find them. 

6. Trust Badges

Trust seals or badges from organizations like the Better Business Bureau, TRUSTe, TrustedSite, Norton and others tell visitors that your website is secure, that customer data is protected, and that your business is legitimate. For ecommerce businesses, research shows that trust badges can cut cart abandonment in half. You can also create trust badges that tell your visitors you have free shipping and returns or a money-back guarantee policy. And trust badges aren't just for online merchants these days; any brand can benefit from the instant social proof that trust badges can provide. 

Your Website Should Feel Like Home to Your Visitors.

Learn More About Idea Grove's User Experience Solution

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