3 Steps to Creating a Trustworthy eCommerce Website

3 Steps to Creating a Trustworthy eCommerce Website

Have you ever been to a website or online store where you wanted to purchase something, but you were second guessing whether the site was legit or not? This is the absolute worth thing an online business or brand can be associated with — not having the full trust and confidence from their audience. Not only will this destroy your conversions and sales, it’s also just bad for business and the overall brand and reputation of your business.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to improve a would-be customer’s experience on your site and allow them to complete their purchase with ease. Some of the most common ways to accomplish this are, to have a fast loading website, display trust badges through your site, have a short and sweet checkout process and also using customer reviews and testimonials to further gain trust from your audience.

Today we are going to walk through the many steps of what it takes to build a trustworthy e-commerce site, while also gaining business from your site audience. To make this a much easier to follow and visual process, we are going to use the “Road Map for a Trustworthy E-Commerce Website” infographic (shown below) from KissMetrics. Along the way, I’ll also be sharing plenty of additional ideas and reference links as well to help with this process.

Let’s get started!

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Road Map for a Trustworthy E-Commerce Website

Every time a visitor comes to your website or online store, it’s a new opportunity for a sale or transaction to take place. Without the proper introduction or content in place, the relationship won’t be able to move forward. Some of the most obvious things that need to take place during this initial visit are a professional looking site design, SSL certificates in place, trusted payment methods, and also having FAQs and contact information readily available on your site. This is all key, as more than half of the world’s shopping and purchase made are now done online.

If you came across this article in the search results because you are looking for guidance on building an ecommerce site, good news, as there are plenty of options to choose from. Website and ecommerce solutions like Shopify make the process of going live with an online store quite easy. While more customized solutions like WordPress also offer the tools, themes, and integrations to get started as well. No matter what option you choose, just be sure to implement each of the trustworthy tips and methods we are about to discuss below.

Now for all of this to actually happen, you must have a checklist of actions to take, and the follow-through to act on them. This resource guide and infographic below will help walk you through all of these steps, while also keeping your focus on point at all times.

1 – When They First Hear About You

As mentioned earlier, the most important time to gain the trust of your audience is when they fist hit your site. Most people will be hesitant to buy online in the first place, so you want to make the process as easy and trusting for them as possible. Here are a few quick tips for how to best accomplish this.

  • Mention the total number of orders shipped from your site. Include customer service hours on all pages.
  • List the best phone numbers for contact and support. Mention how many customers your site has served.
  • Use a solid and professional domain name. Include “Trusted since XXXX” in your logo or design.
  • If you’re a verified seller of a brand, include this fact.
  • If you take Paypal as a payment, be sure to mention it throughout your site.
  • If you’ve been quoted or featured on a credible publication, show it to your audience.
  • If you’re on Stella Service, mention your ranking and a link to your profile page.

Not all of these methods will apply to every business, brand or e-commerce, however, adding the ones that do can greatly improve trust, engagement and overall conversions for your online store.

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1 – When They Enter and Browse Your Website

Most site visitors aren’t going to make a purchase they first time they visit your site. However, they will remember the experience and price of purchase for when they are ready to complete the transaction. Here are a few useful tips to help gain the trust of your audience, by making their time on your site the most enjoyable as possible.

  • IMAGERY – Use only the highest of quality images on your e-commerce site.
  • REVIEWS – Highlight reviews from other people that have shopped on your site.
  • TESTIMONIALS – If you are going to use customer testimonials, be sure to provide a real photo with it. Also get creative by adding Twitter and social media updates from shopping on their experience while at your site.
  • CONTACT – Make your contact info clear and easy to find. No one wants to purchase from a site that hides their contact or support information.
  • POLICIES – If your site has a specific return policy, make sure it’s visible to all audiences.
  • THOUGHT LEADER – Offer additional value and customer experience by adding a blog to your site.
  • ABOUT / STAFF – Seeing the real people behind an online store or brand is important. Also be sure to include real photos and the story behind each individual.
  • CREDIBILITY –  If you’re a member of the BBB post your grade on your website for all to see. This is a huge trust factor contributor.
  • LIVE CHAT – Build a relationship and gain trust with your audience by adding a live chat feature to your site.

The actual site experience your site visitors will have, is one of the most important factors in gaining trust and also resulting in further sales. Not all of these design options might fit within your e-commerce budget, but be sure to fit in as many as you can.

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1 – When They Put the Items in the Cart

It’s not enough to get your audience to add items to the shopping cart, they also need to complete and pay for their purchase as well. Shopping cart abandonment is something many of the largest e-tailers in the world continually struggle with. Be sure to implement these tips to help improve the checkout process.

  • Get an SSL certificate to make sure you have the trusted HTTPS at the begging of your site URL
  • List the contact and support phone numbers at the top of the page
  • Mention the number of items currently in the visitors shopping cart
  • Show where your shipping facility is, as some people like to know where products are from
  • Show a delivery date and not just the shipping date
  • Security badges like McAfee Secure or Verisign and big trust indicators

Of all the components on your e-commerce site, the checkout page and process is definitely the most important. Be sure to implement each of these methods into your site and watch conversion soar across the board.

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If you already have an existing online store or ecommerce business, we sure to check out these holiday sales tips and also where e-commerce and online shopping is headed in the coming years. Each of these resources will provide you with the necessary tools and resources for the coming months and years ahead.

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Site Thriving During a Traffic Spike

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Site Thriving During a Traffic Spike

Most days in the world of business and ecommerce are fairly run of the mill; you can expect a typical amount of traffic and standard sales figures. In other words, it’s business as usual. But what about those special days when engagement is off the charts? This can happen as a result of content or promotions going viral, the release of new coupons getting distributed on mega forums or coupon sites or simply a mailing going out to your customer list to increase sales.

However, once you start thinking about holiday promotions and throwing big shopping days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday into the mix, then things can really get crazy! During flash sales and holiday specials (not to mention after successful promotions), your ecommerce store suddenly becomes the go-to destination for online shoppers. With this in mind… do you have the server capabilities and scalability to make sure your site is up and running at all times?

No matter what you know about your site and servers at the moment, this is a good problem to have… you just need to make sure your site can accommodate it before such events actually take place. Unfortunately, only 27 percent of small and medium-sized businesses are currently equipped to handle a 200 percent increase in traffic. Prepping your ecommerce site for a traffic spike now will pay off in spades down the line. Here’s how to get ready for these engagements.

Review Previous Sales

It’s difficult to chart the future of your online store if you don’t know where you’ve been. Analyzing past data (and patterns over time) helps you know what to expect.

Let’s say you’re launching an annual storewide clearance event to help move the remnants of last season’s inventory. Before it goes live, you should review year-over-year sales for said event, not to mention the effectiveness of your previous promotional campaigns. You can also determine whether the sale attracted mostly new or returning customers and how they entered your site. With this information in hand, you’ll know what to expect and how to maximize traffic and sales leading up to the big day in order to host your highest-earning event to date.

Focus on Scalable Servers

The most basic principle of handling a traffic spike is, well, a website that fundamentally works. If your server crashes ten minutes into what was supposed to be your biggest sale of the year, your revenue will take a major hit and your customers’ loyalty will erode. Conducting an enterprise ecommerce platform comparison well before your next big event can help you choose a flexible, cloud-based solution to handle the ups and downs of ecommerce.

In order to accommodate a traffic peak (and each subsequent one after that), consider the benefits of a cloud platform. Why? As one Forbes contributor writes, “Cloud platforms are sometimes called ‘elastic.’ In a nutshell, this means they’re designed for fast scaling. New servers can be deployed quickly, and available resources can be increased to accommodate almost any demand.”

Stock Up on Inventory

Even if shoppers can enter your site during a period of heavy traffic, can they fill their carts with their favorite products? As an eager customer, nothing is more of a letdown than seeing “Out of Stock” printed underneath the very item you wanted to buy. These visitors want to give your store money! In return, you must offer them a plentiful inventory full of products ready to be shipped—not backordered, not “coming soon.”

Just as it’s important to plan your back-end deployment, it’s important to engage in inventory planning before any high-traffic sales event. Beef up the numbers on bestsellers and make sure there’s a quick way to restock if numbers run low. You can even set up automatic reordering below a certain threshold to make sure your store never runs dry.

Run a Trial on Multiple Devices

The last step before you go live is testing your ecommerce site for yourself—on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones. It’s not about just making sure your site is responsive and viewable on all devices, its also about making sure your shopping cart and ordering process works correctly as well. Keep in mind, ordering through a desktop and mobile device are two completely different processes. You need to make sure this is set up to be completed as fast and easy as possible. After all, your shoppers will be accessing your online shop from all of these endpoints. Check for laggy graphics, poor user experience (UX) and accessibility issues. By looking at your site through your customers’ eyes, you’ll be able to optimize their shopping experience.

It’s never too early to start prepping your ecommerce site for a traffic spike. This is something many site owners and online busineses won’t find out until it’s too late… often referred to as one of the many pitfalls of running an ecommerce site. A successful online sales event means establishing your expectations, providing a great UX to shoppers, avoiding costly server downtime, carefully managing your inventory and learning from past mistakes.

How to Protect Your Business from eCommerce Credit Card Fraud

How to Protect Your Business from eCommerce Credit Card Fraud

Ecommerce is growing at an alarming rate. While there is nothing new to the concept of names like Amazon.com and Jet.com wiping out retail locations around the world and killing ‘mom and pop’ businesses, it should be noted that it’s not all bad for businesses owners. Instead of succumbing to the big name giants that dominated the world of ecommerce today, it’s actually become quite the level playing field and opportunity for anyone looking to create an online business of their own — especially with ecommerce and through the power of dropshipping.

However, there are many things an entrepreneur or marketer might need to consider when starting up their first online store. It’s not just about choosing the right products and knowing how to target to your audience, it’s also about using the right platform and always being sure your customer data is safe. Just as important, is making sure you know how to handle online payments and make sure credit card fraud isn’t a disaster lurking around the corner.

Just like most of us are already aware of how affiliate networks can get wiped out if one big advertiser doesn’t make a payment or goes belly up on payments owed, the same can be said of a credit disaster for an online store. It’s sad to say, but one good run of chargebacks against your ecommerce store could put you out of business. This is why preventing e-commerce credit card fraud is of paramount importance.

Adhering to the policies below will help you protect your business.

1. Maintain PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is designed to ensure the safest possible environment for credit card data. The standard includes precautions such as changing factory default passwords on all network equipment and establishing a firewall between your Internet connection and any system that stores credit card numbers.

2. Implement Transaction Velocity Limits

Yes, this means you’ll be limiting your customers to a set dollar amount in purchases each day. (What merchant in their right mind would want to do that—right?) On the other hand, you’ll also minimize the potential take, should a fraudulent transaction make it past your safeguards. (What merchant in their right mind wouldn’t want to do that—right?)

3. Require Two-Factor Authentication

In most cases, when a thief gets a customer’s credit card information, they do not have the Card Verification Value (CVV) data. This three- or four-digit number, printed on the back of credit cards, is a secondary authentication method to prove a customer has the card in their possession. The PCI DSS prohibits storing this information alongside the credit card number and cardholder’s name. In fact, best practices recommend not storing it at all, but rather asking the customer to provide it with each transaction.

4. Monitor Transactions and Reconcile Them Every Day

The fastest way to spot fraud is to know what a typical day’s transactions look like. Reconciling your accounts on a daily basis trains you to spot anomalies. The sooner you notice something is amiss and take steps to do something about it, the better chance you have of apprehending the culprit. You’re looking for red flags such as mismatched billing and shipping information. Pay attention to the physical location of customers to ensure it matches the information provided too. Some online store hosting can help you in this regard by tracking orders automatically.

5. Use Tracking Numbers on All Shipments

You will occasionally run into less than scrupulous customers who will try to claim a chargeback on the grounds their products were never delivered. Tracking all packages and requiring signature confirmation on orders above a certain dollar amount will thwart these perpetrators.

6. Keep Software and Platforms up to Date

Make it a point to install software updates as soon as they become available. In most cases, they’re issued in response to an incident, or the discovery of a potential threat. Similarly, always keep your anti-malware and anti-spyware up to date. Given the nature of what you’re up against, only business-grade products will do for these tasks. The consumer stuff isn’t robust enough to adequately protect financial data.

7. Force Customers to Use Strong Passwords

Set requirements including numbers, letters (both lower- and upper-case), and special symbols for repeat customers who want to establish accounts. Do not permit the inclusion of any of their generally available information as part of the password.

8. Instill Employee Security Consciousnesses

Employee passwords should be just as strict (if not more so) as customers’ login information. Train them to spot potential fraud and empower them to stop a transaction if something feels amiss. Do everything possible to help them understand how fraud can cost them their livelihoods and how important their vigilance is for the health of the business.

9. Maintain a Gallery of Rogue Attacks

Keep a file of all attempted (and successful) breaches. Use these incidents as teachable moments, so your people can avoid falling victim to the same scam twice.

Preventing e-commerce credit card fraud is essential to protecting your business. There will always be people out there willing to work harder to steal than they would at a regular job. These tips will help you force them to move on to easier pickings.

It’s Not Just About Protecting Your Customers… It’s Also Your Business

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to put precautions in place to make sure your customers and eCommerce transactions are safe, but at the end of the day, you also need to remember this is your business and its reputation is on the line. The last thing you want is to lose the trust of your customers, and let word start to spread online about possible attacks or customer loss of data. These can be some of the most detrimental issues when trying to grow an eCommerce site on the internet today.

One of the best ways to get around many of these issues is to simply go with a trusted eCommerce platform that already has a payment platform, third-party security and customer management already in place.