“Security should be a priority for ecommerce sites, but it looks like the lesson of 2014 was not learned,” said Hackmageddon’s Paolo Passeri in a January 2016 blog post.
His analysis of 2014 and 2015 cyber attacks data reveals findings that aren’t particularly new to online merchants: Ecommerce remains a top industry target for hackers, reaching 17% in 2015 from 11.1% in 2014.
The motivation of cybercriminals that, according to the same Hackmageddon report, make up a whopping 67% of the total hacker demographic isn’t hard to decipher. In a May 2016 report by Ecommerce Europe, European ecommerce turnover grew double digits in 2015 to reach EUR 455.3 billion, a growth rate of 13.3%. In 2016, Ecommerce Europe expects turnover to reach the EUR 510 billion mark, EUR 598 billion in 2017, and EUR 660 billion in 2018.
Frost & Sullivan, on the other hand, estimates the global B2B ecommerce market to reach USD 6.7 trillion by 2020.
How to build an ecommerce site your customers will trust
Ecommerce is big business, no doubt. And for an ecommerce site to succeed, you have to be profitable, where profitability means that your site should be strong enough to convert. But what constitutes strength, exactly?
A lot of factors, apparently, and customer trust is right at the top.
Listed below are steps you can implement to win customer trust for your ecommerce site:
#1. Secure your website with SSL. Get a security seal or trust mark.
At least two McAfee SECURE trust mark tests done by CONVERSIONiQ saw a 3% to 12% increase in conversion rate and a 6% to 23% lift in average order value. A test on the Norton Secured Seal mark resulted in an RPV (revenue per visitor) increase of 6% for all traffic and 53% for paid traffic.
A 2014 study by GlobalSign revealed that:
- 84% of online shoppers would abandon a purchase if data is sent over an unsecure network
- 50% of the European online shoppers surveyed worry about credit card information theft
- At least 28.9% understand that the green address bar is a security indicator
There, too, was the 2014 Google announcement signifying its decision to use HTTPS as a ranking signal, giving a ranking boost to websites that have SSL enabled.
#2. Display your company’s contact details.
According to an Econsultancy study, 46% of 2,000 UK consumers said they’d shop on a site with clear contact details. This suggests that a sure way to gain your shoppers’ trust and alleviate their fear of being scammed is to show an actual, physical address and a legitimate phone number they can contact.
#3. Set reasonable shipping costs, clear delivery timelines, and straightforward payment systems and return policies.
Data compiled by AcquireConvert showed that 60% of customers are more likely to complete a purchase if the online retailer gives a guaranteed delivery date. The same Econsultancy study cited above found that 70.8% of consumers abandon a cart due to hidden costs, 74.5% because of high shipping fees, and 58.4% due to payment security concerns.
Bottom line, be upfront with costs. Be transparent about anything that will incur additional fees. Equally important, don’t attempt to turn off customers by imposing unreasonable, complicated, or confusing payment terms.
#4. Add free shipping.
Customers almost always love freebies. One oft-cited way to ensure online shoppers complete their purchases is to add free shipping.
One stellar example of how free shipping led to higher conversions is from a 2014 case study by Red Door. In the study, NuFACE increased ecommerce sales by 90% when it added a free shipping threshold.
#5. Offer immediate customer support.
One of the best ways to gain customer trust and loyalty is by delivering consistent, reliable customer service.
Sujan Patel increased conversion rates for a company he used to work for by an astounding 250% just by listening to customers and determining their pain points. The latter he was able to do after reviewing 1,000+ chat logs and responding to 2,000+ support tickets.
#6. Invest in your social media presence. Allow online reviews to increase trust.
Ecommerce statistics compiled by HostingFacts.com include:
- Social media-driven ecommerce sales grew by 202% in 2014 with forecasts of a “further increase”
- 38% of consumers said social media interaction is one of their reasons for visiting a retailer’s website
According to an article by Kissmetrics, 55% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by online reviews, emphasizing that social proof isn’t another silly buzzword, and that making sure your business can be found and accessed online increases customer trust.
#7. Make sure your site is user-friendly and site speed is excellent.
A 2016 infographic by NetImperative.com revealed the following interesting statistics about website speed and design:
- Customer satisfaction plummets 7% for every second it takes for a website to load
- 65% of consumers won’t wait longer than three seconds for a website to load
- 76% of consumers agree ease of use is the most important characteristic of a website
- 93% of consumers base their purchasing decision on whether or not they like the website’s visual appearance
- 52% of consumers abandon and never return to a website if they do not like the design
All these considered, aspire to keep your website easily navigable and free from the unnecessary bandwidth demand of page elements that only undermine the user’s experience. While aesthetics is certainly a factor to consider in website design, it’s not all there is to it.
In business, you always have competition, and to win against the competition, your best bet is to gain customers’ trust and delight them to the point of loyalty. And because consumer demands and sentiments change and evolve, remember to always keep watching, analyzing, adjusting, and constantly delighting.
*Hazel Mae Pan also contributed to this article.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community