When it comes to enhancing and optimizing your eCommerce site, the technologies and options available seem endless. But for all of the things your site could do, the most important is still to establish trust between your organization and your customer.
Creating trust is an issue that many of our clients are concerned about, particularly those with a customer base that isn’t exactly tech-savvy. For those customers who preferred ordering from a paper catalog or over the phone, an eCommerce site can be overwhelming. In order to not alienate those shoppers, our team focuses on two things: establishing trust between the shopper and the retailer, and protecting the customer from themselves.
Make it Trustworthy
First things first, your site cannot be considered trustworthy if it isn’t PCI compliant. If you aren’t handling your customers’ financial information with the utmost care and responsibility, nothing else can help you. A secure site is the only foundation to build on.
Now that we’ve got that PSA out of the way, let’s move onto site content. Although it’s almost 2017 and you can buy just about anything online, there are still some people who are hesitant to hand over personal and financial information on the web. One of our clients has a passionate but particularly wary customer base, and many of them prefer to deal face-to-face or over the phone instead of online.
In order to prove their credibility to their customers, this client provides as much content as they can on their site. What might seem like an excessive amount of information on another site is necessary content that establishes our client as a knowledgeable leader in their industry.
This differs in every situation, of course, but consider why your customers should trust you. Do you offer a specific product or service that no one else does? Is your warranty more extensive or the quality of your items better? Or, like in this client’s case, are you the most knowledgeable retailer in your industry? Whatever gives you authority in your market, communicate that to your customers.
Keep it Simple
When it comes to building the actual site, remember to keep it simple. For any eCommerce site, ease of use is an important factor, but for these sorts of audiences the simplicity needs to be taken a step further. An inexperienced shopper will need to be guided a bit more throughout the site to make sure they are finding what they need. The trick is finding a balance between building a simple site without veering into inadequacy.
To achieve this for our clients, we aim to create a site that is as simple to use as possible while still retaining some sophistication. These elegantly-designed sites don’t look amateur, yet the functionality is simplistic enough that even a first-time shopper can successfully place an order.
A good starting point is with the top navigation. The categories in the top nav should reassure customers that they are purchasing the right thing, or are on the right track to finding it.
For example, one of our clients sells parts and accessories for other larger devices. Because they sell so many makes and models of these devices, there are a number of brands and types of each item they sell. To ensure that their customers don’t buy an incompatible part, our team made the site’s top navigation start by identifying the device the customer is buying for. From there, they are only shown compatible items that will work with their device.
But the help doesn’t stop there. This site continues to remind shoppers what device they’re shopping for and which accessories are compatible. And, if they add anything to their cart that isn’t compatible, they receive a warning message. Most eCommerce sites wouldn’t take these steps, but these extra layers of protection help save the inexperienced eCommerce shopper from themselves.
Another good use of warning messages is when an extra fee will be applied to a purchase. Another client of ours offers engraving for some of their products at additional cost. While most sites would simply list the engraving fee on the page, our client added a warning message so that their customers (many of whom aren’t used to eCommerce) can’t miss that they will be charged extra. With that reminder, the hope is that fewer customers are confused about additional charges added to their cart.
These are just a few examples of things we have done to help our clients appeal to their warier eCommerce customers, but our general philosophy is to never assume that a shopper knows exactly what to do when they get to a site. By following that rule of thumb, we have been able to build easy-to-use yet sophisticated eCommerce sites for our clients.