Trust is the foundation of every successful organization — in terms of having a successful business online this, too, is no exception. With the many options served to shoppers today, customer loyalty is harder to attain.
If you’re just starting How does trust develop for shoppers when they purchase a new product online or buy from an online store they’re unaccustomed to? What elements of an online store’s experience are trust builders or trust deal breakers?
What makes for a trustworthy website?
Last year, the teams at Shopify conducted a series of in-depth interviews with a diverse set of North American shoppers, asking them to walk us through their recent online purchase experiences.
The Shopify team sat with each shopper for one hour and asked them to review a recent purchase, involving either a product they’ve never bought before or a store they’ve never bought from before. We also asked them to make a real purchase of up to $40 on a Shopify store they’ve never bought from before.
The aim of the study was to understand what makes a new shopper comfortable purchasing a new item or buying from an unfamiliar store. Specifically, Shopify wanted to find out:
- How does trust form for shoppers assessing a purchase of a new item on a new store?
- Which pages or elements in your store are most important for building trust with shoppers?
After analyzing their actions during these purchases, they noted a few patterns which allowed them to pinpoint design elements that are trust breakers and trust builders in online stores.
Trust builders are elements or design details that reassure shoppers — they quell doubts and help shoppers feel relaxed about making a purchase. Trust breakers fill shoppers with apprehension, making them question the validity and authenticity of the business and creating doubt as to whether making a purchase is a safe choice.
Here are what the study found:
1. Ace the first impression with your homepage
What the customer is asking: Does this website feel safe? Can I find what I’m looking for and navigate this site easily?
Business goal: Create a welcoming homepage and establish the overall look and feel of your store on the first visit.
We found shoppers are more critical of a store’s design and layout on their first visit, regardless of whether they’re looking for an item they’ve never purchased or a product they’re already familiar with. Since your homepage often serves as a digital welcome mat, it’s a vital location for building customer trust and should focus on acing the first impression, as well as providing guidance for where shoppers can head next.
Our findings show there are essential must-have elements that shoppers seek out when evaluating a homepage, along with nice-to-have details that can further tip the scales in your favor — though only after the must-haves are in place. Throughout this piece we’ll separate these two groups so you know what to prioritize.
- Content that is consistent and polished, with high-quality photography and error-free copy present across the site
- A layout that is clean and uncluttered (important for North American shoppers)
- Category navigation that is easy to understand and use across all devices
- Category names in your navigation that are clear and easy to understand (e.g., Shop, Women, Men, About, Contact, etc.)
- When selling internationally, copy and content translated into the shopper’s language and prices listed in the local currency
- Fast-loading pages across your store, with no errors (shoppers usually only notice performance issues when pages are slow or broken)
2. Provide customers with essential information
What the customer is asking: Does this product solve my problem?Is it well made and the right size or dimensions? Is the price fair, and can I afford it?
Business goal: Make product information easy to discover with detailed product pages, accurate search results, and collection pages.
Once a new shopper navigates away from the homepage, we found they typically head straight to a product page. The product page is where shoppers evaluate a product’s value, whether they’re visiting a new store or a store they’re familiar with.
The right layout and design elements on your product page make it easier for customers to determine if each product offers the value they’re looking for. Images, descriptions, sizing charts, stock and inventory details, and information about shipping and taxes draw outsized attention from customers.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to designing the perfect product page, our findings once again show there are cardinal details to consider for building trust, regardless of your industry.
- A variety of product photos for each product page
- Product descriptions organized into distinct sections for readability
- A size chart, preferably with size conversions, on your product page, when appropriate
- Recent product reviews on the product page
- Return policy and shipping information included on the product page
- A product video included on the product page
- Desktop only: a “quick view” option on collections that allows customers to view the product without opening the product page
3. Share your story and why the business started
What the customer is asking: Is this an upstanding business? Does it treat its customers fairly?
Business goal: Help the shopper feel reassured this is a legitimate business. If you have a mission or values, share your brand story and why the business was started.
We found that shoppers want to navigate to an About Us page to learn more about the brand — and the people — behind the products. An About Us page should offer up answers to quell the two curiosities that shoppers have.
First, interest in a brand’s About Us page piques when someone is suspicious about whether the store is real or authentic. Shoppers often are trying to make sure a business will be around for the long term and won’t suddenly close up shop. This is why a Contact page can be useful: by listing a contact phone number, email, and retail location (if there is one), it offers shoppers reassurance.
Second, many customers are interested in the business’s mission and purpose and if they share any values with the business (e.g., sustainability). They will turn to the About Us page to learn more about who they’re buying from and, for more socially conscious customers, how the business is run.
- An About Us page
- A Contact page
- A phone number included on the Contact page
- A detailed story of the brand included on the About Us page
- A professional email associated with the store domain included on the contact page (e.g., email@example.com and not firstname.lastname@example.org)
- An option to contact support via an online chat
- When appropriate, the address of the merchant’s physical location(s) included on the contact page
4. Show current customer satisfaction
What the customer is asking: Do other customers think the product is as described? Does the business treat its customers fairly?
Business goal: Provide customers with the social proof they’re looking for about your brand and its products.
Our research found shoppers greatly value the reassurance they get through impartial customer and store reviews — unsurprisingly, they pay close attention to what previous customers have to say.
When considering a purchase on a new website, shoppers want to read reviews on product pages, external sites and marketplaces, and social media before completing the transaction. Specifically, shoppers look for any inconsistencies or explicit warnings from previous customers, or feedback that contradicts what a business says on its website. On social media, shoppers may, for example, use mental math to figure out if the ratio of Instagram followers to likes feels authentic.
It’s essential business owners understand that community sentiment can be what makes or breaks the decision to purchase a product.
- Positive product reviews that have a rating of 70% or more
- Product reviews posted on social media that are mostly positive (e.g., reviews shared on Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
- Product reviews that are descriptive and with customer ratings
- A social media following on Instagram, Facebook, or other platforms
- Positive store reviews on external websites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Trust Pilot, Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Product reviews on product pages that include photos
- Product reviews for clothing/accessories/health and beauty that include the reviewer’s description of themselves (so shoppers can relate to review more)
- Product reviews that include a video of the product
- Links to the store’s social media profiles that are easily visible in the store
5. Ensure the transaction is transparent and easy
What the customer is asking: What is the cost of delivery and how much are taxes or duty going to be? Are the payment options familiar and secure, and do they function well?
Business goal: Remove customer doubts and risk when calculating the total cost at shipping and payment.
As the saying goes, “Price is what you pay, and value is what you get.” While high-quality photography and compelling copy help communicate product value, shoppers also want to easily access the total price they’ll pay — with all discounts and fees included — as early in the purchase as possible.
Price is fairly straightforward, but there is lots of subjectivity to what a product costs and how valuable a customer feels it is. That means adding context around price, and reducing unnecessary surprises, is a valuable way to build trust.
- A return policy that is clear and easy to understand
- When shipping internationally, a shipping policy that clearly states who pays duties and taxes
- Surface shipping costs on the online store
- Ability to apply discount codes in the cart
- Ability for the shopper to edit the cart’s content
- Familiar payment methods (such as PayPal and Shop Pay)
- Optional order status tracking
- Rewards and discounts for future sales, surfaced on the order confirmation page
- Easy access to the contact page in case order editing is needed
- For international stores, a language and currency switcher
Customers reward businesses they trust
Customer trust is frequently a blind spot for businesses — especially newly formed businesses — because founders don’t question their own trustworthiness. And when you’re fulfilling promises made to customers and telling true facts and stories in your marketing, why would you ever consider yourself “untrustworthy”? But it’s important to remember that trust is a matter of perception and something every business has to earn.
Over time, your business can build trust by way of many satisfied customers and positive word of mouth. By then, your reputation will precede you and the finer details of your site may not have to do such heavy lifting. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate proven best practices to make your site feel familiar, reliable, and clear. Doing so will put shoppers at ease, make it easier to buy from your store, and potentially unlock step level growth for your business.
Source: Shopify blog
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed what a normal life looks like. Because of the vast shift that we all have to adapt to, all traditional businesses are especially affected, specifically through the practice of social distancing that discourages customers from visiting physical stores. However, the good news is that, despite social distancing, people are still actively shopping from home. In fact, according to an analysis by ACI Worldwide, transaction volumes in most retail sectors have seen a 74 percent rise in March compared to the same period last year, while online gaming has seen a staggering increase of 97 percent.
If anything, this means one thing: business owners with brick and mortar shops will soon have to move their businesses online, FAST!
The good news is, the pandemic has also changed consumers’ habits when it comes to online shopping. Before, people would normally only shop online for clothes, gadgets, and other non-perishables and would prefer to buy their groceries in physical stores. But due to the need for quarantining, consumers have started purchasing groceries online, opting for either self pick-up or engaging a delivery service.
To help retailers make their shift online, Shopify offers solutions, like creating a simple Shopify store to offer curbside pickup or local delivery options to customers. This can eventually lead to a more holistic shift to selling all or most of their products online.
If you’re new to the e-commerce landscape, below are some essential steps you can take to kickstart your online business. Soo, you will learn how to treat your homepage like your storefront and transition some of your physical store experience onto your product pages.
So, how do I create an online store?
1. Start a Shopify 90-day free trial
The first step is to visit shopify.com to start your online store with an extended 90-day free trial.
Here you’ll choose your store name, which will become the URL or domain name that your customers will use to shop from your store. You can start with the Basic plan to start with, but you can always upgrade as you see fit.
Note: You’ll need to add your credit card or PayPal address. Since you’re on a 90-day free trial, you won’t be billed for the duration of the trial period, and we’ll send you a reminder before your trial ends.
2. Choose a theme
Find the right theme, or website template, for your online store in the Shopify Theme Store. You can start with a free theme built by Shopify, or you can purchase a theme developed by one of their Partners.
You’ll want synchrony between your brick-and-mortar store and online presence, so try browsing themes by collection or industry and choosing one that best fits your brand. Of course, no theme is restricted to any industry, it’s just helpful to get you started quickly. You can always customize your theme later.
Prep your essential pages
The faster you make your online store available, the sooner customers will be able to continue purchasing your products. Focus on the basics: make sure your store features recognizable aspects of your business (like your logo or brand colors) and makes it easy for people to browse and buy.
No need to worry about the frills. Your priority is to get your products online and sell your in-store inventory. Here are the pages we recommend creating before you launch:
Treat your homepage like your retail storefront. Shoppers use the homepage to discover new offers and promotions and navigate to product pages. Consider having a banner or notification bar that shares crucial information with customers, like what purchase or shipping options you’ve made available, or how they can support you with a gift card purchase.
Recent supply chain challenges have been affecting shipping services in unpredictable ways, your customers may have a few shipping-related questions for you. Browse around to see how other local businesses are dealing with their Shipping FAQ at this time. It’s important to share any extra steps you’re taking to keep customers safe as you ship orders to their door, such as added precautions when you prepare or package your products.
Return and exchange policy
A written return policy allows you to establish clear, consistent guidelines for how customers can replace or refund their purchase. Dealing with return and exchange requests on a case-by-case basis isn’t sustainable, and can add unnecessary complexity (and cost) to your operation.
A good Contact Us page sets the right expectations with customers and makes it clear where and when they can reach you. Consider including a map of your store location for local shoppers, as well as a contact form so people don’t have to leave your website to get in touch with you.
Your product pages are where you sell the value of your products, so it’s important to make them detailed and compelling. Below we’ve listed resources to help you build high-converting product pages, write compelling product descriptions, shoot good-looking product photography with the tools you have available.
Add your products
Adding your products can take some time if you have a large catalog, but there are ways to quickly get started. We’ve recently rolled out updates to make this process faster and easier, and we’re now offering free data migration services for customers launching their online store for the first time.
Here are a few ways you can add products:
- Bulk upload from your Shopify admin. If you’re a Shopify customer, you can do a simple bulk upload of your inventory into Shopify
- Use Shopify Mobile or Shopify POS. If you haven’t been up-to-date with your inventory, use the Shopify Mobile app and take pictures of your products with your mobile device’s camera, and add them to your online store, all in one simple workflow.
- Use our free POS data migration service. For those of you who aren’t using Shopify POS for your brick-and-mortar store, this service will help you migrate your POS data into Shopify’s platform. Migrations are available for most POS systems, including Lightspeed, Square, Quickbooks, Vend, Shopkeep, and more.
Set up gift cards
Selling digital gift cards is one of the fastest ways for a brick-and-mortar business to start selling online and secure immediate cash flow. Here’s how it works:
- You create a digital gift card
- Customers can then buy and pay for gift cards through your new online store
- Purchased gift cards are then delivered to your customers by email
- All active gift cards can be tracked and managed in Shopify as customers redeem them in the future
- As you launch new products that can be purchased online or make your products available for local delivery or pickup, customers can redeem gift cards at checkout. By default, the gift cards you create never expire.
Set up shipping
Shoppers are stuck at home and many need order to reach their doorstep, which means providing an affordable and convenient shipping experience is now crucial. Here are some recommendations to keep your business moving during these uncertain times — while staying safe.
1. Keep shipping costs down
Shipping costs can quickly eat away at independent retailers’ margins, so be strategic about the way you approach shipping and fulfillment. Here are a few suggestions:
- Opt for manual shipping: Print labels, send shipping notifications, and track every part of your orders and manually fulfill orders where possible.
- Skip the fancy packaging. You can get free packaging from all major couriers in the United States (USPS, DHL Express, and UPS) and Canada (Canada Post).
- Set up Local Shipping. When customers are close to your business, you can offer a “local delivery” option. Local shipping rates will be automatically applied at checkout to customers in your selected zone.
2. Try Shopify Shipping
Shopify Shipping works with courier companies like DHL in Singapore and Malaysia and offers multiple mail classes with each carrier, so you can access features like overnight delivery, package pick-ups, tracking information, international shipping, and more depending on the carrier and mail class you choose.
Shopify also works with carriers directly to negotiate competitive rates for each shipping service, and those rates are automatically included on every plan at no extra cost to you.
3. Set up self pick-up for local customers
Curbside pickup allows your local customers to buy something online and pick it up outside your store — without ever having to leave their car. This “drive-through” option not only minimizes person-to-person interactions, but it’s also faster and reduces shipping costs. Here are the steps:
- Your customer will order and pay you online through your new online store
- You’ll get the order emailed to you, so you can prepare it safely
- You’ll then tell the customer when it’s ready for pickup
- Your customer will drive to your store and pop their trunk
- You’ll safely place their order in their trunk
- That’s it, you’re done!
Setting up payments
There are a few things to consider when you’re choosing which payment methods to offer online. If you want to let your customers pay using a credit card, then you can use Shopify Payments or a third-party provider. There are also several ways for customers to pay online without using a credit card, like PayPal or online bank transfer. Finally, accelerated checkouts like Shop Pay save shipping and payment information for returning customers to help them check out faster.
Read these considerations and instructions to make sure you choose the right payment methods for your business.
Let shoppers know you’re open for business
After you’ve set up your online store, your first priority is to inform current customers that you’re still open for business. Here’s how to announce that you’ve launched an online store, along with a few places you can likely reach your customers:
- Email your customers. Have you collected customers’ emails in-person, through an existing website, or through your point-of-sale (POS) system? Now is a good time to stay in regular contact with them, and email provides a direct line to their inbox. To start, let customers know about recent changes, and how they can continue to buy your products or support you with gift card purchases.
- Add signage to your storefront. For your local foot traffic, a sign on your door directing shoppers to your online store can be a simple but effective solution for notifying people about your new online store.
- Post to social media. If you’re active on social media, add your store’s URL to your Instagram bio, pin a Tweet with your new URL or domain name, and share a status update with a link to your store on your Facebook page.
- Add or update local listings. Google My Business is a free tool that helps you market your local business in Google Search and Google Maps. For example, you can post your website URL and photos of your products on your Business Profile, which can appear in Google’s search results. You can also list any of your special promotions or offers so customers have a reason to online shop with you.
- Announce it on your homepage (when it’s live).
And there you have it, folks — your new online store!
Source: Resilient Retail: How to Move Your Brick-and-Mortar Business Online
Once upon a time, Shake Shack was one of the many one-off boutique stands that set shop in New york’s Madison Square Park. Today, having recently gone public in an IPO that ballooned to a whopping $1.6 billion, the once-humble shack has grown to become a multinational burger titan with franchises in Moscow, Istanbul and Dubai.
So, what is it that makes Shake Shake so successful? More importantly, what can we learn from Shake Shack’s success story to craft our own?
Foundationally, Shake Shack is made up of an excellent team. Its founder, Danny Meyer, is a thriving restauranteur who’s responsible for the success of some of the hottest restaurants in New York. Pat LaFrieda butchers blended the umami-rich mix of brisket, chuck, skirt steak, and short rib in each burger. And architect, James Wines is responsible for developing the original shack structure in Madison Square Park.
The real question is, what of the casually catchy Shake Shack branding that has spread so seamlessly to cultures across the globe? The logo, signage, bags, and uniforms were all designed by Pentagram in a project led by principal graphic designer, Paula Scher.
Before Shake shack, Scher was already leading a pro bono redesign of Madison Square Park’s identity for the park’s Conservancy. Therefore, when the Conservancy decided to build a permanent burger stand on the public premises, it only made sense to have Scher on the project to ensure that the burger branding doesn’t become conflicting. Originally, Scher has picked up the Shake Shack project for free since it was an extension of the Conservancy project.
Shake Shack’s branding came from two sources of inspiration that evolved over time. The first one was the shack structure itself — a corrugated metal hut that would go on to earn James Wines a National Design Award for lifetime achievement in 2013.
According to Scher, the original idea was that the shack would be part of an urban landscape in parks — and that’s how the first one was designed. Therefore, when the logo for Shake Shack was designed, it was really the architecture that drove the design.
In addition to that, the shack exuded a kind of approachable modernness, and Scher wanted a typeface to match — and she chose Neutra. To this day, metallic, Neutra lettering spells out Shake Shack in front of all their global stores.
Scher introduced a second wave of branding some time after the store had opened for business. This time it would be paid work. It tapped the core idea behind Shake Shack itself — a ’50s burger joint reimagined for a modern context. So, for the text on menus and bags, Pentagram selected the curvaceous Galaxie Cassiopeia font, or what Scher lovingly calls “a phony neon script” that still felt modern enough to keep up with the logo. The typeface was paired with squiggly burger, shake, and fry icons that evoked classic signage. Even rendered in ink, you can almost see the 1950s neon shining through.
Although the branding was designed for the distinctiveness of Shake Shack’s original site, it has managed to scale to franchises placed in more typical storefront locations and even airports.
“I think the modernness of it is somehow perfect in keeping with the quality of the food. It’s a contemporary fast-food chain with a high-level product–as opposed to McDonald’s, which is also modelled after 1950s burger chains but serves downscale food,” Scher says. “In retrospect, if you’d done a million years of focus testing and consumer studies, you wouldn’t do a better job. It shows you the charm of the happenstance.”
When asked if it felt a bit strange to see pro bono work now define the face of a $1.6 billion public company, Scher admits that it is “a bit.”
“They offered me a stock purchase before the public offering,” she says. “And in fairness, no one had an idea of how successful it would become.”