How to improve your website's credibility

Customers tend to make snap judgements about whether they can trust your company by looking at your site, so it's important to give the right first impression. As many people still have concerns about shopping online, your website needs to appear as credible and trustworthy as possible. Here are some tips: Display your privacy / security policies According to a TNS / TRUSTe survey, the majority of online shoppers don't necessarily check out a website's privacy policy, but 28% check that a site has one and 20% will take the trouble to read it. For the customers who have concerns about these issues, it is important that they can find your site's privacy policy easily and be reassured about the safety of their payment and personal information. A clean, well designed website This is very important as customers will take their first impressions from the look of the site. If it looks cheap and nasty, then chances are they'll hit the back button instantly. For instance, this site, with Google ads all over the product page and a ghastly green colour scheme, doesn't inspire confidence: This site, by contrast, has a more professional, clean design and is much more credible as a result. Display contact details This is a no-brainer. Many consumers will simply not shop with a website that doesn't display these details, and rightly so. A contact telephone number is essential, while the company address and email contacts will go some way to assuring the customer that they can trust your website. Better still, display a contact number prominently so users don't need to hunt around for it. This may help to clinch a sale if customers require extra information. Make room for both good and bad reviews Reviews are an excellent way to make your site more credible to shoppers as they can show that others have successfully shopped at your site and have been happy with the experience. Amazon reviews Your credibility will be further enhanced if you are prepared to showcase negative as well as positive reviews, as with Amazon in the example above. This will show the customer that you are open and honest and the bad reviews will have the effect of making positive reviews more believable. Show server security/trust logos Having third party certification of a site, such as VeriSign, ISIS or HackerSafe, is usually persuasive evidence that the site can be trusted. Online shoppers are used to seeing these symbols on other sites and will wonder why your site doesn't have them. You should display more than just the logo though, and ensure that it links to further information about the validity of the certificate. Don't give customers any surprises Be upfront about any extra charges for accessories, or the delivery costs before they reach the checkout. Finding out at such a late stage will infuriate many customers. Also, if you need to take any personal details, explain to customers why these are necessary.

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