In the modern era, where digital interactions are the dominant cohort, trust has become the most indispensable element of online commerce. As consumers, we all seek assurance that our data is treated with care, and that our online shopping experiences are seamless and secure. So for businesses, it is clear that fostering this trust is more than just a courtesy; it’s a necessity.
If you run, or wish to run, an E-commerce business, there can be no room for ambiguity – without customer trust, there is nothing. So it becomes all the more important to understand what it takes to achieve this, and how it can be protected. That’s why we’re going to look at the role of trust in this digital age, and how we ensure a safe and seamless online shopping experience.
The role of E-commerce platforms in building trust
E-commerce platforms are the heart and soul of online retail, so choosing the right one isan indispensable step in running a business of this kind. A robust platform provides all the tools for a seamless online shopping experience, but it goes further than that. It also ensures that customer data is handled with the greatest care. Data breaches at some of the world’s best-known businesses have caused serious concern to customers of those businesses, and this needs to be avoided.
This is why working with the likes of Magento development is of such importance. These development platforms prioritize security and user experience, and allow businesses to build and then maintain trust with their customers. This trust is protected from the first click on the site through to checkout, and it is this kind of ironclad commitment to trust and protection that sets the best E-commerce businesses apart from the rest.
Enhancing cybersecurity for online retail
Committed adherence to cybersecurity requirements is a non-negotiable aspect of ensuring that trust between retailer and customer is protected. Knowing how to maintain this requires you to understand where the weaknesses can be, and ensuring that they are eliminated. The key steps to ensure are:
Knowing the importance of SSL certification
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates are the quiet heroes of online security. They work to ensure that the data transferred between the user’s browser and the website server remain encrypted and secure. When a site has an SSL certificate, it offers:
- Data encryption: SSL certificates encrypt your sensitive information, data like credit card numbers, passwords and personal details are unable to be read by anyone other than the intended recipient.
- Trust indicators: In the browser’s address bar, SSL certificates allow a site to show the secure “padlock” symbol and to have an address that begins “https” rather than “http”. If these indicators are showing, they improve customer trust.
- SEO benefits: Search engines give preference to SSL-certified websites, ensuring better rankings and increased visibility.
Regular security audits
Cybersecurity is not something you can apply once and forget about. To do it properly, it has to be an ongoing thing, and so regular cybersecurity audits are essential for what they provide in terms of:
- Identifying vulnerabilities: Cybercriminals exploit weaknesses in a website’s security infrastructure. Taking the time to check your website for these weaknesses allows you to shut any loopholes before they can be exploited,
- Staying updated: The digital realm is a dynamic one – the picture today won’t be the same in three months’ time, so regular audits allow you to beef up security measures in order to counter new threats.
- Building the trust of customers: If you show you are taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, it enhances your reputation and instills a level of confidence in shoppers who might use your services.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Finally, 2FA can offer a layer of security that goes beyond a password. It involves users providing two distinct forms of identification before they grant access. These can include: a password, a fingerprint, facial recognition or a document stored on the customer’s device. It is often felt that 2FA is an option you should offer customers rather than one you should automatically implement, as many customers feel that it is excessively demanding for simply logging into an online store. However, if implemented, it does minimize breaches by ensuring that even if a cybercriminal steals someone’s password, they can still be locked out.
Transparent communication with customers
A business that wants to be trusted should ensure that it is open about its communications with customers. If people feel like your policies aren’t clear, or that you aren’t available to speak to, then they will struggle to trust you with their money. This is why it is important to be clear, honest and transparent in all communications, whether they be one-way or two-way in nature.
Clear return and refund policies
As confident as you are in your products, customers may sometimes want to return them and seek a refund. It’s essential that you are open and honest about your return and refund policies, and that you use clear language. These policies should also be easy to find; people shouldn’t have to go on a clicking spree just to know what your policies are. Clarity of language is important too: if you challenge a customer’s return because the language of your policy technically justifies it, but it requires close reading to do so, you may feel legally justified, but your customer will also feel justified taking future business elsewhere.
Prompt customer service
Getting the right result from customer service will please a customer, but that degree of satisfaction diminishes roughly 50% with every day it takes to get it. If a customer makes a query, it should be responded to in a minimum of one working day and any follow-up information requested as early as possible. If a customer feels you are playing for time, they won’t trust you, so ensure there are enough people working customer service to deal with the queries you get. Promptness of action is essential here.
Be careful with this term – it can sound like you’ll be justified in telling your customers why they’re wrong, but in the main that’s not a good idea. The way in which you want to educate customers is by alerting them to things like changes of policy, the beginning and end of special offer periods, and any other key changes that can affect the way they use your service. Emailing customers and featuring any key changes on the website are the best ways to ensure that they are aware of changes, and that you don’t end up with complaints at a later date from people who justifiably say “This didn’t use to be the case, why was I not told it had changed?”.
Even if a message isn’t something customers want to hear, they’ll be much more amenable to the change if you inform them ahead of time and can point to that communication later.
User experience: the key to all trust
At the end of the day, the key element in trust is to ensure a positive customer experience. If your customers are never given reason to doubt your trustworthiness, they’ll assume they can trust you. In order to strengthen that trust, you should always make sure that your E-commerce site is easy to use. If they can comfortably navigate it – on desktop, laptop or mobile – and it has a minimum of downtime, then you become that much more reliable in their eyes. People who run scam websites tend to focus on making it easier for people to give them money, and will rarely put in the groundwork to make the user experience comfortable.
Overall, the importance of trust in e-commerce should be clear to anyone looking to run a successful business in the industry. By keeping the above in mind, you should always be able to reinforce the trust of your customers and spot opportunities to increase it.