Buyer Trust 101

Shopify Staff (Retired)
Shopify Staff (Retired)
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Trust is some of the most important currency you deal with when running an online store. There are millions of stores online these days and a lot of people have had at least one bad experience when shopping online, this makes most buyers weary when making online purchases.

This is why it is essential that your store is seen to be trustworthy from the get-go. In this guide, we will go through different aspects of the online store and why it is necessary to have them presented in a certain way so as to make your store look trustworthy and encourage your customers to checkout.

First impressions: Look and feel of the store

First impressions are crucial in all walks of life and it is no different for your online store. When a customer lands at your store they should be met with a website that looks and feels professional. The following criteria are important when making a first impression:

  • Content contains professional photos and error-free copy. Blurry photos, typos, and grammar mistakes will make your store look amateur. Be sure to have all text on your store copy-read by someone other than yourself and make sure all photography is of professional quality. We have a guide on taking professional quality product photos here.

  • The layout should be clean and uncluttered. An over cluttered online store is akin to an unkempt brick and mortar store. If the store looks messy it will look as though little care was put into designing it. I would recommend checking out our design blog here for guides on how to effectively design your storefront.

  • Navigation needs to be easy to use across all devices. The navigation should also be labeled clearly to avoid any confusion. Our help guides on navigation can be found here.

  • For international stores, it is beneficial to have your store in your buyer’s language and currency. You can find apps for translation and currency conversion in our app store.

  • While not essential, stores should load fast without any errors when trying to reach pages. You can take a look at this community post on increasing your site’s speed.

Discovery: looking for information

Being able to find out information about the products you want to buy is important to all of us. Your store should be forthcoming with this information and be easy to research. The following criteria are essential when it comes to the information on your store:

  • Each product should have multiple product images. As your store is online customers are missing out on the experience of seeing your product in the flesh. Have multiple images of your products from different angles, and in different settings to give your customers a better idea of what it looks like in person.

  • The product description should be broken down into concise, easy to read sections. Check out these 9 Examples of Product Descriptions that Sell here.

  • Each product page should have a “Back in Stock” email form for when an item is sold out. This will encourage your customer to fill out their details and return to your store at a later date to finish their purchase. We have a number of apps for this functionality here in our app store.

  • When applicable, product pages should include a size chart with conversions. Note that if you are selling clothing internationally, sizing systems are different depending on the country. We have a guide to adding size charts to product pages here and you can use apps such as Size Matters.

  • Product pages should all have reviews. Seeking out online reviews has become such a standard part of the buying process for people these days that every online retailer needs to be thinking about them. You can view our review apps here.

  • Shops with over fifty products should have filters on their collection pages and search results pages.

  • Shipping information and return policies should be present on the footer of your store and additionally on your product pages. Read up more on adding policies to your store here.

Research: getting to know the store’s brand and its story

Now, more than ever, a business's brand and story are important to consumers. People like knowing where their products are coming from and what kind of business they are supporting. This is why it is necessary to put a voice behind your brand, project a specific brand image, and tell your customer your story. Your store should also be seen to be easy to communicate with. Make sure your store has the following:

  • A well written About Us page. What an About Us page should be is a goal-oriented sales page, one that focuses on highlighting the biggest selling points of your story and brand, making a strong impression on curious customers. You can read up on how to write a persuasive About Us page here.

  • A Contact Page. Your store should be easy to get in touch with. Your contact page should have a professional email based on your custom domain, a phone number and if applicable, the physical location of the business. I would recommend taking a look at this guide on creating a contact page.

  • If possible, it would be great if customers could also contact your store via chat. Of course, not all businesses will have the staff or bandwidth to do this. You can find some of our chat services here in our app store.

Validation: Social validation for the brand and the brand’s products.

The need for a good reputation is nothing new in the world of business or retail. Online retail is no different. As mentioned earlier; seeking out online reviews has become such a standard part of the buying process for people these days that every online retailer needs to be thinking about them. Beyond reviews, a brand’s online presence is also something that consumers look into before making a purchase. The following is detrimental to gaining customer’s trust in your brand:

  • Over 70% of the product reviews on your product pages need to be positive. Anything less than that will turn a potential customer off.

  • Store and product reviews outside of the online store should mostly be positive. These could be reviews on Google, Facebook, TrustPilot, Amazon, etc.

  • You will need to have a social media following on Instagram, Facebook, or other local platforms. A store without a social following does not look like a legitimate business. Links to these social media pages should be clearly shown on the store. We have a guide on growing your social media following right here.

  • While not essential, it is always great to have images/videos included in your product reviews. It puts minds at ease when a customer can see another customer’s review and pictures of the product so that they can be assured as to what it looks like in person.

Consideration: Calculating the total cost and risk of the purchase

Being transparent with your customer about the total cost of an order from the beginning will reduce the number of abandoned checkouts. Nothing puts a bad taste in a customer’s mouth quite like getting to the checkout and finding out about some previously undisclosed costs. Here are some features you can implement to put your customer’s minds at ease and move those add to carts to conversions.

  • Shipping costs should surface in the cart before checkout. I cannot tell you the number of times I have abandoned carts because of a surprise shipping fee at the last step of checkout. If possible, shipping costs should be surfaced on the product page.

  • Return policy content is clear and easy to understand. This will put your customer’s mind at ease when checking out. Include this in the checkout page, the footer of your site, and your product page. Learn more about adding policies to your store here.

  • For international stores: Taxes and duties should have surfaced before checkout either in the cart or on the product page.

  • Your customer should be able to edit the contents of their cart from the cart page. This can be enabled on all Shopify supported themes from the theme customizer.

  • Familiar payment methods should be available. Your customer should be able to checkout using their credit/debit card, PayPal, or whatever other payment option is popular in your location/with your customer base. Check out what payment options are available to you here.

If you make sure that your store has all of the above, customers will be very likely to trust your store and place an order with you. Make sure to go through this guide and measure your store against it before spending any money on marketing. As outlined above, first impressions are incredibly important to shoppers and so it is important to be ready to make a good first impression before spending any money on bringing customers to your store.

To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Community Blog.

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