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Updated Nov 01, 2023

How to Build Trust With E-Commerce Customers

Online consumers worry about purchasing from websites. Here is how you can diminish their fears.

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Julie Thompson, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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Are you having difficulty convincing visitors to your e-commerce site to make a purchase? If you are confident in your product and business processes, maybe what you are missing is trust.

Online consumers have legitimate fears when it comes to purchasing online. However, focusing on protecting your customers, enhancing user experience (UX), improving your online reputation, updating your website design and homing in on your marketing can significantly boost the trust meter.

Let’s look at the best strategies to build online trust for your business and why it’s vital for success.

How to build trust with online e-commerce customers

1. Protect your customers’ data security and privacy.

Consumers want to ensure that their personal data, especially credit card information, is closely guarded. They don’t want their credit card numbers to be stolen.

Did You Know?Did you know
In 2022, Statista found that security breaches from online payment fraud cost businesses more than $40 billion, according to Statista.

Some consumers only shop on sites they know are secure. To protect your e-commerce website and customer data, you can use a trusted e-commerce platform, adopt cybersecurity software and train your employees on best practices for cybersecurity and privacy. 

TipBottom line
Are you looking for a trustworthy platform to host your online store? Check out our picks for the best e-commerce platforms and shopping cart software.

2. Reduce uncertainties and live up to your customers’ product expectations.

Provide detailed, accurate information about products and delivery time to ensure your customers’ expectations align with the products they receive. For example, you may want to provide details about materials, size and care instructions for clothing items. For electronics, you could provide instructions for using the features and functions.

In addition, to optimize UX experience, you must present the product as accurately as possible. If the photo of the product is enlarged to show detail instead of representing the actual size of the product, such as a pendant, you should note this on the product page. 

You may also post product videos on your company website and social media sites for some product categories, such as tech products and electronics. Videos can give your customers a better sense of the product’s features and how to use them.

3. Foster positive electronic word of mouth for your company, brand and products.

Today’s consumers rely on each other’s opinions to purchase online. As discussed in this article, consumers may look at business review sites to evaluate the company or product ratings or ask their social media friends for product recommendations. 

Many consumers would rather trust their friends’ and other consumers’ opinions than advertisements and promotional materials. Thus, you must foster positive electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) for your company by providing high-quality products or services, engaging with your customers and offering effective customer care via customers’ preferred channels. Positive online reviews and ratings can help you build online trust with consumers.

4. Enhance your website design.

Consumers feel that poorly organized sites are not trustworthy, so you want to ensure that your company website is professional, up-to-date and well-organized. It should be easy for your customers to navigate your e-commerce site and find the products they need. 

You need to present your products in an organized way and provide accurate, current information on them. Check your website regularly for dead links and remove them to ensure all the information customers find on your site is current.

You also need to reduce friction on your e-commerce website and provide a seamless checkout process for your online customers. Recent statistics show a shopping cart abandonment rate of over 70 percent, according to the Baymard Institute

You can increase your site speed, offer multiple payment options, improve your website design, simplify the sales process and make your site mobile-friendly. With a well-designed website, you can generate leads, increase sales and build customer trust by giving them a painless online shopping experience.

FYIDid you know
Providing contact information on your website can help prove to a new customer that your business is legitimate. Show the consumer that you can easily be contacted by giving your phone number, address, email address or visual location map. Adding a direct customer service phone number and current hours can also help boost your online reputation.

5. Work on your content marketing.

You can create and distribute relevant and valuable content to increase your brand awareness and credibility, attract new customers and engage with your existing customers. You could post informative content, such as research articles, infographics, webinars, videos and podcasts on your business’s website and social media. Videos are an excellent way to teach your customers how to use your products.

The content of your posts needs to be original, up-to-date, informative, educational and relevant to your audience. With credible content, you can demonstrate your thought leadership in your industry, enhance your company’s credibility and build your audience’s trust in your organization.  

Never plagiarize articles from other organizations’ websites; you must respect other companies’ copyrights and the original authors’ intellectual property. If your audience finds out, it will be a significant breach of trust. Robust and original content can help you build online trust with your key audience.

Trust is one of the most critical factors in customer relations in the online environment. Your e-commerce company must build online trust with your target audience by protecting your customers’ data security and privacy, making your customers’ expectations real, fostering positive eWOM, enhancing the quality of your e-commerce website and utilizing content marketing.

Why building trust is critical for e-commerce businesses

Today’s e-commerce environment is competitive. The e-commerce market is continuously growing not only in the United States but also worldwide. 

Recent e-commerce statistics from Statista show that e-commerce sales in the U.S. totaled almost $278 billion in 2023’s second quarter. In the U.S., nearly 18 percent of all retail sales are online.

Indeed, online shopping is the trend nowadays. Young consumers, such as Generation Y and Generation Z, prefer to shop and interact with retailers online because they grew up in the digital era. Many consumers ask for their peers’ suggestions on social media sites or look at online reviews before purchasing. E-commerce today has become a social commerce environment.

The fast-growing and competitive e-commerce and social commerce market provides opportunities and challenges for small and medium-sized businesses. Meanwhile, you can advertise and sell your products online via multiple channels, such as your brand’s website and social media sites, to customers worldwide. Positive eWOM over social media can also help you strengthen your brand name, acquire new customers and grow your business. 

However, there is vast competition in the market. Today’s consumers can compare products and prices online easily and read reviews to see what customers think. To thrive in such a competitive environment, you have to build online trust for your brand with customers and maintain positive customer relations.

Trust is the cornerstone of customer relations in the e-commerce market. Compared to in-store shopping, consumers encounter more uncertainty when they shop online for several reasons:

  • Some consumers are concerned about credit card security and privacy issues when they give out their personal information online.
  • They can’t physically see or touch the products. Sometimes, the products they receive are not quite what they expected.
  • They need to wait for the products to be delivered to them after placing an order.

Because online shoppers face these uncertainties, they only want to buy products from the online vendors they trust. Building trust for e-commerce is crucial for decreasing fears about online spending. Trust must be at the forefront of everything your business does, including:

  • Technology, including websites, security and payment processing
  • Product quality, such as multiple photo angles and video
  • Return policies
  • Customer reviews
  • Intelligent package tracking

Ming-Yi Wu contributed to this article.

author image
Julie Thompson, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
With nearly two decades of experience under her belt, Julie Thompson is a seasoned B2B professional dedicated to enhancing business performance through strategic sales, marketing and operational initiatives. Her extensive portfolio boasts achievements in crafting brand standards, devising innovative marketing strategies, driving successful email campaigns and orchestrating impactful media outreach. Thompson's proficiency extends to Salesforce administration, database management and lead generation, reflecting her versatile skill set and hands-on approach to business enhancement. Through easily digestible guides, she demystifies complex topics such as SaaS technology, finance trends, HR practices and effective marketing and branding strategies. Moreover, Thompson's commitment to fostering global entrepreneurship is evident through her contributions to Kiva, an organization dedicated to supporting small businesses in underserved communities worldwide.
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