By understanding consumer psychology and how to build trust between a brand and consumer online, we have the ability to boost our eCommerce sales.
Trust is built on relationships. Traditionally it is formed over time, subconsciously through positive interactions. It’s built through reading micro-expressions and body language of those we are interacting with. In a traditional brick and mortar store, exchanges between consumers and sales staff allow for this natural trust building process to take place. We feel reassured when they answer our specific questions, look us in the eye and shake our hand. Since the introduction of eCommerce, consumers and businesses alike have had to adapt to this new way of shopping in order to build trust and relationships with one another.
Consumers are wary of unknown or new brands, which can make it difficult for new businesses to compete in the market. This is why it is imperative for these brands to create a sense of legitimacy which encourages potential consumers to trust their business. Legitimacy can be constructed in a few different ways, the first starts with sharing a human experience. Many online retailers have an “About Us” section on their website. By sharing personal reasons for starting a business, consumers will gain a sense of the type of person they are purchasing from, even though there is no direct contact. Often you will find that a consumer and business owner will share common beliefs and values. A great example of a business building trust through shared human experiences can be seen in “Bubs Baby Shops”, which shares their frustration as first time parents trying to locate a one stop shop for baby products that also had great service, an experience in which many new parents can relate with.
Sharing these values and motivations for starting a business will help you connect with your target market, however it needs to be reinforced by consistent branding. Branding is an important signifier in whether a business is established and genuine, or comes across as amateurish and even suspicious. Online shoppers are hyper aware of fraudulent websites as the internet is besieged with websites attempting to scam them in purchase transactions. Fake luxury brand websites alone are responsible for luring over 120 million online shoppers globally each year, and contribute to $132 billion dollars being spent on counterfeit products, per the UK Trading Standards Institute. By ensuring branding is consistent across all channels both online and offline, businesses can segregate themselves from other websites that are perceived by consumers as illegitimate. Good branding is not just about consistency of visual aesthetics’ but also the tone of voice. Everything a brand produces, whether it be a comment on a post or an ad on Google should be aligned with their style guide and the core values of the business. Inconsistency across branding disrupts the path to purchase as consumers start to become unsure of what to expect from the business, which will ultimately raise questions and cause distrust in an already suspicious marketplace.
Case studies involving eye-tracking have identified that consumers search for business contact details when shopping online. Visible contact details create a sense of reassurance in the consumer, by seeing a phone number in the top right corner of the website, the consumer will qualify the business as trustworthy as they have provided their information willingly. This consumer psychology is also evident when users scroll to the bottom of the webpage and read information such as a physical address, email links and other specific information relating to contacting the owner or customer support team. For these reasons, it is best to have your contact information on every page.
By tweaking a consumer's eCommerce experience so that it aligns with the innate human need to establish trust, your business will be more successful in enticing new customers and establishing repeat customers. If you’re looking to grow your business and harness some of these strategies but don’t know where to start, we offer digital marketing training. These sessions are tailored to your specific business, allowing you to grow your presence online and increase your ROI.