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Founder and CEO of Idea Grove, a unified PR and marketing agency, and author of the upcoming book “Trust Signals: The New PR.”
First impressions are so important — your brand may only have a few moments to build trust with your potential customers. If you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer, you might nail it by having knowledgeable sales staff on the floor and a cheery greeter at the entrance.
For online retailers, that trust can be built (or lost) the minute people land on your website. There are myriad reasons that customers abandon your site, including slow load times, bad design, tedious checkout processes — the list goes on. But one reason sits in their gut: lack of trust.
One way you can immediately prove your website’s trustworthiness to a potential buyer is to put confidence builders known as “trust badges” front and center. These badges can play a huge role in building trust in your website. My agency has built scores of websites over the years, and we’ve consistently seen improvement in engagement and sales with an increased focus on these trust signals — this is especially the case with e-commerce sites.
The Granddaddy Of Trust Badges
Let’s start with one of the oldest trust badges out there: the TRUSTe seal. Did you know that the TRUSTe seal has been around for more than 20 years? A true trailblazer when it comes to online privacy, it started in the early days of e-commerce as a way to reassure website visitors that privacy policies met the highest standards of data governance.
Back in the old days of the web, it was a bit like the Wild West. Today, we’re used to government intervention, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which have resulted in better online security. TRUSTe, while not quite as influential as it once was, is still a widely respected indicator that your business and website can be trusted by online visitors.
Security badges can have a big impact on your bottom line. According to eMarketer, e-commerce retail sales will soar to more than $700 billion this year. Most online shoppers prefer to pay using credit cards, and they want to ensure their information is safe.
Perhaps the most ubiquitous security badge today is the Norton seal. According to DigiCert, which powers the Norton seal, it’s “seen almost 100 million times per day by consumers in 170 countries.” Badges like the Norton seal promise that a website’s checkout process is safe and secure. Instilling this kind of confidence in your business can help increase conversions and decrease abandoned shopping carts.
You can get a security badge from companies like DigiCert, McAfee and other providers. Most e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, also provide security badges.
Familiar Payment Badges
Familiar payment badges, such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard, can help create trust as well. Familiarity makes people feel secure, especially when it comes to providing sensitive personal and/or financial information.
Visa also offers the Visa Secure program, which helps protect consumers from fraud. Having a Visa Secure badge on your site can help level up your trust signals.
Other Types Of Trust Badges
There are many other kinds of trust badges, and where you can, I recommend adopting them all:
• Free shipping and delivery (if possible) to secure sales when those extra costs are considered too high.
• Express checkout to avoid people abandoning shopping carts because they have to create an account.
• Fast shipping and delivery for those worried about slow shipping times.
• A money-back guarantee to help people trust your products and services.
• Third-party endorsement and accreditation badges from entities like the Better Business Bureau.
For each of these badge types, with the exception of the third-party badges, you can simply design the badges yourself or download coordinated sets from stock photo sites like Shutterstock.
One last tip: Make sure any trust badges you use are well-designed and match your branding. If trust badges are clunky and junky looking, they won’t inspire trust so much as make people suspicious of their legitimacy, and your own trustworthiness.
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