Online buyers typically fit into two categories. The first category contains the careful buyers. They look for signs that they can trust a seller before they make the move to buy, and they usually make their purchase using the payment method that offers the most protection.

The second category contains the ‘take my money’ people – those that have no issue buying online and would happily show their online banking access details on an advert in the middle of the X Factor.

If your website doesn’t give peace of mind to your customers, then the only people that will buy from you are the people in Category Two. That’s fine, until they lose money elsewhere and learn from their mistake. If you want to maximise your online selling potential, then you’ve got to give your customers the confidence to buy.

A survey by eConsultancy found that 58% of respondents had abandoned shopping carts due to concerns about security. These are customers that had found products they liked, and were originally willing to hand over their money. Online customers can’t see your face, address you in a physical shop or watch you as you process their card transaction. All they’ve got to go on is the information on your website.

How do you develop a sense of trust, and give buyers the confidence to purchase your products?

  1.  Display Security Credentials

If you use security technology to establish an encrypted connection, protecting your customer’s credit card details (and you should, because it’s required by the Payment Card Industry), then it’s worth making sure that you display this on your website. Browsers generally give your website visitors a clear sign that they’re using a secured connection, but displaying your security credentials can make them more aware that your website is safe to use.

  1.  Don’t Use Third-Party Checkout Pages

If you forward your customer on to a third party checkout page, then you quickly lose their trust. You might know that the third party is a safe choice, but don’t assume that they do. Your customers are buying from your website, and they want to see consistency without worrying interception. They wouldn’t hand their card to a third party if they were buying from a physical shop, so don’t expect them to do it online.

  1.  Provide A Range Of Payment Options

Some customers don’t feel confident transmitting their debit card details to an unknown recipient. Another payment option might make them feel safer. The more options you can give, the more likely they are to find a payment method that suits them.

  1.  Include A Physical Address

Savvy online shoppers know that they could be buying products from anywhere in the world. Yet, they want some reassurance that the seller they choose has a genuine physical presence. They want to be able to write a letter, or visit a seller in person, should anything go wrong with the transaction. A physical address can reassure your buyer that you are who you say, and that you’re less likely to run away with the contents of their bank account.

  1.  Show That You’re Real

As much as possible, you should use your website to show your customers that you’re real. Include photographs of members of staff, or of your real shop or office, and talk a little about the history of your business. If possible, include staff names to give your customers even more confidence. Add a few testimonials and a contact phone number, so that your customers can speak to a human being.

  1.  Offer a Guarantee

Money back guarantees help to build confidence. A customer will feel better buying if they know that they can get a refund should your product not be up to the standard they require. If you’re able, let them return the product for a refund with ‘no questions asked’. If people have time to change their mind once they’ve seen a product up close, they’re more likely to buy and to be happy with their purchase.

  1.  Hire A Professional Web Designer & Content Writer

Always remember that your website is like your physical shop. Spelling mistakes and graphics created in Microsoft Paint give the same impression as a graffiti-ridden shop down a dark, narrow alleyway. A badly designed website, with badly written content, reflects badly on your business. If your website looks and sounds professional, then it makes a good impression. Looks are as important online as they are on your local high street.

What Do You Look For?

When you buy online, do you pay attention to a site’s security credentials? Do bad graphics stop you buying? What do you think is an essential when you’re shopping online? Share your thoughts below.