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
As we’re marching into the final quarter of the year 2019, it is not a surprise that there are many “trends” circulating in the social media world. You might just shrug and scroll or tap next to these trends but what you don’t know is, these trends will help your brand stay relevant and ahead of the competition. Trends are effective because it represents the “now” and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to stay significant in social media platforms.
Let’s dive into the 2019 trends made popular in social media and get your social media growing with followers and engagements!
Adding Animations To Your Stories & Posts
Instagram has been rolling out many new features and it has made the platform so interesting to use. Simply adding the stickers, GIF, music and or AR feature to your posts and it immediately animates a boring ol’ post into something interesting. People are more likely drawn to colorful images and videos and with the use of these trends, you’ll draw more engagement and create a dynamic experience on your stories.
Adding Subtitles/ Closed Captions To Videos
Admit it, most of the time your phone is on silent mode and you can’t be bothered to turn up the volume to watch a video. A lot of times when people are on their social media, they are most likely in public places like being on the train, eating out, waiting in line, etc. Some may argue that they could use their earphones but be real, how often do you take them out.
It is almost a MUST to add subtitles to your videos- whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube. Up to 85% of the videos on social media platforms are being watched without sound.
With these subtitles added on, you’ll be surprised to see how much of an increase your engagement gets and it also improves your viewers’ attention span. Bonus point: having subtitles on your videos and content are more user-friendly for people with hearing impairment.
Longer Videos on Instagram with IGTV
Remember the horrible days when Instagram would only allow uploading videos of only up to 1 minute? How limited our contents were back then? Everything had to be crammed into a minute and that was not enough, obviously. Luckily for us, Instagram heard our frustrations and answered our prayers. Thus, IGTV was born!
With IGTV, we no longer have to succumb to the limited 1-minute content, we now have the freedom of up to 10 minutes! Are you a verified account? Well, good news, you get up to 60 minutes long! While this is celebratory, always remember that nobody wants to watch a video that’s 3 minutes long. While 2 minutes would be the ideal amount, we’re quite pushing the human attention span here. In order to have one person stay till the end of the video, you have to grab their attention within the first 8 seconds of the video.
So, make your IGTV content worthwhile because you can either make it or break it.
Nevertheless, we’re grateful for this!
Product Tagging & Shoppable Posts
This…THIS really comes in handy if your brand has an e-commerce website. With the convenience of displaying your product to the most-used social media platform aka Instagram, why not make it a one stop shop? With the product tagging feature, you can link your website to your Instagram account and watch those shoppers rolling in.
Similar to user tagging, product tagging allows you to tag the item directly and when your followers tap on the tag, it opens up to the exact item page on your website. Shoppers can now shop directly from that Instagram post without leaving the app.
Color-blocking & Grid Planning Your Feed
There’s nothing more pleasing and attractive than landing on some Instagram account that looks like it has its life figured out. Well, in this case, it’s the amount of thought and planning one has put into making their feed look aesthetically perfect. This might not be news to you, many influencers and big brands play around their feed- alternating posts, color themes, micro-color blocking and more.
An aesthetically impressive feed tells a lot about your brand. It subconsciously implants the impression that your brand is putting in effort and a lot of strategic planning is done. A beautiful feed will get visitors tapping on that “Follow” button in no time, hence, giving you more potential customers to your brand.
Incorporating Memes In Your Content
Yes, memes (pronounced as meems, not mi-mi) are taking over the world. Everyone loves a good, funny meme especially your potential customers- the millenials. While memes are very trendy, it is also very fast-paced. A new meme could be born within minutes to seconds but a good meme gets caught on for a long time, long enough for you to ride on it.
Take for example the latest celebrity meme that has the world talking about – Kylie Jenner and “Rise and Shine”. It all started with a Youtube video of Kylie Jenner giving an office tour and she walks into her daughter, Stormi’s playroom and nonchalantly melodize these three simple words “rise and shine”. It went viral and almost everyone on the internet is singing to the “tune”.
And what did the billionaire do? As what a smart entrepreneur would do, Kylie Jenner laughed about it and turned a meme into a business opportunity. You can now buy that meme merch which is a hoodie on her website. What. A. Freaking. Genius.
While trends are ever changing and gets replaced in no time, it is vital that your brand leverage on trends to be relevant in the social media world. While not all trends may fit your brand’s identity, there are tons of other trends that will fit perfectly. Don’t be afraid to play around, at least you’ve tried!
Some of you with Instagram accounts may have noticed that the little thing under your post looks unnoticeably yet so obviously different. Instagram has rolled out an update where it hides your likes on your posts. This update is currently still in its testing phase, and only certain countries or accounts are affected by it.
This is what it looks like with no likes displayed.
So, the question here is, will this affect your social media presence? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? In their defence, Instagram’s reason for removing the number of likes on your post and the number of views on your video is to improve the lives of consumers. They also quote “we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
Currently, the countries affected with this update are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. There are also users in Hong Kong reportedly don’t see the number of likes anymore.
How will this update affect your social media presence? And how are the users reacting to this?
While some people are reacting negatively to it, claiming “nobody asks for this”, some people love this new update- giving them less anxiety to keep checking on how many “likes” their posts have achieved.
Influencers and KOLs are making a huge deal out of this because they claim to rely on the engagement rates as their KPIs when it comes to sponsored posts. Just like the number of followers they get, the number of likes is equally essential to them to prove that they have high engagement rates.
Does this matter? This is exactly what Instagram is trying to banish. The obsession with the number of likes on users’ posts.
@kyliejenner with over 8million likes in a post
How will it look for the world of marketing without likes displaying?
Hiding the likes on Instagram posts will help boost authenticity in the posts and might resolve the problem of fake data. For years, users have been buying likes to give their profile a boost and to appear relevant. Without the display of the number of likes, the pressure of needing to keep up with Instagram likes can be deterred. Social media can now be authentic and postings don’t have to be so heavily planned and curated- just post whatever you like!
Everyone is now equal when the likes are hidden. You’d be surprised at how many people’s self-esteem relies on the number of likes they get on one post. The anxiety caused by waiting on the likes to keep rolling in is a real thing and can be considered worrying. With the likes hidden, this issue can be defeated when users can post without thinking and worrying about the number of likes they would get.
In conclusion, the removal of likes does not negatively affect your social media presence. Instead, from a positive perspective, users are more likely sharing their posts with more freedom. They will no longer be bounded with the idea of “more likes equal higher self-esteem”.
How to grow your Instagram followers the “organic way”
Social media plays a great part in growing your brand digitally, especially if you are new and taking baby steps in promoting your brand.
Of course almost every brand has a Facebook page, but what about an Instagram account?
According to Instagram, 80% of accounts follow a business on Instagram. And there are over 500 million Instagram accounts that are active on a daily basis. Imagine how many users your brand can reach out to via this social media platform?
So how do you reach out to these users via your Instagram account?
Here are a few things to observe:
Make sure your content on your Instagram is consistent, or tells a story or your brand. There are a few way you can make your content work. Because Instagram is a photo-based social media platform, what your followers first see when they visit your Instagram account are the photos on your account. So be sure that your Instagram page is aesthetically attractive and interesting.
Say you’re running a travel agency, and you want to gain more followers on your Instagram. Your Instagram account should be filled with pictures of breathtaking images of to attract these wanderlust followers.
If your brand is selling designer goods, bombard the page with all the pretty designer clothes and bags and shoes.
Make your content as relatable to your brand as possible, you catch the drift.
Source: Instagram @oreo
Make your feed aesthetic
Once you have your content ready, it’s time to prosecute them in the best way you can.
Creating content may be easy, but making the content look beautiful and aesthetic as a whole is a challenge.
You can start by going with a theme.
If your brand has a primary color, make use of it as your primary colors in your theme. A few common colors that are bound to attract the eyes are red, yellow and blue.
Bear in mind; different themes attract different followers. Hence, a black and white feed will attract followers who are into artistic and dark mood themes.
If you’re planning on using filters on your pictures, make sure your filters are always consistent.
This will create an automatic theme for your brand and followers like consistency and uniformity in a feed.
A theme can easily attract the attention of a user if it’s so aesthetically presented that the user will not hesitate to hit the “Follow” button.
So before you start posting your content, make sure you plan your theme colors, filters and also mood before you start.
Strong hashtag game
10 years ago when you see #, you call it the “pound button” on your phone dial screen. Show this symbol to the kids now and they’ll laugh at you for calling it the “pound button”.
The hashtag was introduced and used back in August 2007 by Chris Messina, a techie from San Francisco and a former Google developer, on Twitter.
Read about the “origins of hashtag” here.
Now hashtag is so heavily used in all social media platforms.
Why is a hashtag so important?
A hashtag is used by social media users to search for a specific event or topic or category in the social media world.
The importance of including hashtags is significant as it brings your post out to the public and everyone searching for that specific hashtag will see your post. The likeliness of them clicking into your picture is higher if they found your picture attractive and interesting, which also leads to them clicking into your Instagram account.
Here are some hashtags that you can use, categorized according to the relevance of your Instagram posts.
You can go up to 30 hashtags per post to maximize the capability of the hashtag game, however, is 30 hashtags per post necessary? Some will say that it will bring down the credibility of your post, or even, making you look spammy and amateur. Instead, use about 5-11 hashtags per post, and make sure they’re relevant and match your brand and pictures.
However, you should create your own brand hashtag so that it is specifically for your brand.
Your brand hashtag does not necessarily be just a one-word hashtag. Play around and create a phrase of your own!
Promote your Instagram on other platforms
If you already have a bunch of followers on your Facebook or Twitter or any other social media platforms, you can post a shoutout there and ask your followers to follow you on your Instagram account too.
Add your Instagram handle on your profiles and even on email signatures.
If you already have a website, add a widget to your website with your Instagram live feed and a clear “Follow” button for the ease of your new followers.
Get boosted help from KOL or influencers
Key opinion leaders aka KOL and social media influencers are the experts in product knowledge and has influence in the social media world. These influencers usually have a big scale of followers who they can sell a product to and easily get their attention.
Collaborate with influencers especially if your brand is new and needs to get some attention.
KOLs and influencers can be a vast of variety, ranging from superstar celebrities or just someone with a lot of followers on their Instagram.
When working with KOLs, not all have the same style or price package. You can engage with a local influencer with not as much followers who will contribute a post on their Instagram for free, given that you send them your brand products for them to review. Some might charge you a hefty amount but will be able to provide higher ROI to your brand. It all comes down to your budget and whichever you are comfortable with.
Just make sure you discuss with the influencers on what you are expecting from their posts and what is the target you’re trying to achieve, and they will be able to give you some ideas and feedback.
There are plenty of ways to boost your organic followers. So here’s the breakdown of what we’ve learned:
- Interesting content
- Consistent visuals/filters
- Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags (but not too many)
- Get promoted by KOL and influencers
It takes time to build a massive amount of followers, so just be patient and start off by inviting your friends and family to start following your page, and get them to invite their friends.
GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states. The export of personal data outside of the EU is protected in this regulation.
The GDPR was approved by the EU Parliament on 14 April 2016 and has been enforced on 25 May 2018. It is also to replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/ec.
Why is GDPR designed? It is to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe and most importantly to protect the EU citizens data privacy and information.
What is classed as sensitive data and information in this matter? It includes information of a person’s name, age, race, ethnicity, political opinions, religious beliefs, sex and gender, age, physical and mental health, criminal records and so forth. Web data includes information such as IP address, location, web browser, cookie datas and RFID tags.
Does this regulation affect my company or business? If your company collects, stores and processes personal information of EU Citizens, you are required to comply. If your company checks on any of these criteria, you are required to comply:
- Company in the EU country
- Not a company in the EU, but handles and processes data of EU citizens
- Company with more than 250 employees
- Company with less than 250 employees, but its data-processing impacts the rights and freedoms of data subjects, is not occasional, or includes certain types of sensitive personal data.
What can my company do to be in compliance with this regulation?
First of all, how big is your company? If it’s less than 250 employees, you do not have to comply to all GDPR rules. You do not have to document why personal data is being collected and processed, the information you’re storing or how long for. Smaller companies are not required to maintain a record of processing activities.
- Educate your employees who are somewhat involved in processing the data and personal information. This includes staff that does the data entry of an EU client’s personal data into your company’s system.
- Use tools that will ensure privacy. Check with your IT staff to ensure that the tools you’re using in your company are 100% safe and the best to work with.
- Review your company’s IT systems and procedures to check if they’re up to date and comply with the GDPR requirements for privacy, and to ensure that your company only processes necessary minimum personal data.
- Hire a DPO (Data Protection Officer), however it is not necessary, especially for smaller companies.
Are you GDPR compliant? GDPR requires all companies to comply by May 25 2018, otherwise you’ll face with fines and penalties up to €20 million. So get your company and employees prepared for GDPR if you haven’t already complied to this regulation.