For the most part, human nature dictates a need for control - the more in control of our lives we are, the more successful we feel and therefore the more comfortable we feel. With the ‘grey cloud’ of uncertainty weighing upon the global consumer base, now more than ever before, customers are trying to keep their metaphorical purse strings tight. The Coronavirus outbreak has caused us all to re-evaluate outgoings and spending habits, whilst also wanting to purchase feel-good items.
Following the initial ‘mania’ surge - panic buying of essential items - this then moved into the current phase we’re experiencing; the ‘stimulus bump’ we’ve seen in reaction to an extended lockdown period - months into this new, completely virtual world, consumers across all industries have adapted, settled into their new routines and have started to focus on how they can enhance their own little microcosms to emulate the world we knew before.
At Visualsoft, we have seen significant increases in the flooring, rugs and carpet sector, office and stationery supplies, gardens plants and trees and also the lighting and cars, cycling and transport industries.
For retailers, there are 3 simple aspects to consider when ensuring their website is perceived as trustworthy so that their customers will lean on (and support) them during this uncertain time.
A recent study by Podium revealed that 93% of consumers’ buying decisions are impacted by reviews. This is especially true where word of mouth and family and friends are concerned, so encouraging customers to leave reviews via social media and recommend to their friends could be particularly fruitful. If you can listen to the feedback from these people, both positive AND negative, you will end up with a collection of brand ambassadors who help you promote your brand message.
To form trust, we need to feel like we know a person - the same applies to a brand. While you might not view your ‘about you’ as a key part of your conversion funnel, it could be the deciding factor when a consumer is deciding whether to purchase from you or a competitor. Make sure you convey your brand message and values, and tell your true ‘story’ - creating that sense of relationship and familiarity with your consumer is key.
If you’re not using HTTPS or SSL, you’re likely to have a high bounce rate and low conversion rate, because - simply put - people just won’t trust you. HTTPS and SSL use a secure socket layer to encrypt data that is transferred. If you’re expecting people to enter financial or personal details into your website, you must ensure your customer that you are doing as much as you can to stop unauthorised parties from accessing any of their information.
Inclusion of security badges can provide an added level of trust and security, especially at a product page and checkout level. Transactions should be simple - if your customer comes across hurdles when they are trying to purchase a product, they will go elsewhere. Your returns policy should be clear and easy to understand, any discounts should be able to be applied in the cart and customers should be able to edit the cart if they change their mind. Familiar payment options should be available (such as Amazon, Paypal), along with multi-currency checkout (and languages) and order status tracking wherever appropriate.
A consistent message and quality content throughout
Maintaining a consistent message and high-quality content throughout your website helps to weave a sense of trust throughout your entire online store. Ensuring you have a well-structured homepage will help to inform your customers at the initial stage, and therefore, help to gain their trust. Considering the shift in consumer behaviours over the last 8 weeks, your usual top-sellers may not actually be what your customers are seeking in their ‘new norm’, and this may come across as crass or ‘salesy’ turning people off a purchase.
To ensure your customers do stick around to find out what else you have to offer, ensure that content includes: relevant and useful products/ promotions, high-quality images and error-free copy, an uncluttered layout that is visually appealing, straightforward and user friendly navigation to and from anywhere on the website, fast load speeds and consideration of international shoppers. Information should also be easily accessible throughout the entire website - each product page should include a variety of product photos (and videos where possible), easy to read, informative product descriptions that are broken down into digestible chunks, recent product reviews and information on the returns policy and shipping. Your product information should be easy to discover through accurate search results and accurate when describing the product.
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