We are all customers. Even if you are a seller who’s reading this, at one point in your life, you were a customer. We are consumers, and therefore we are also customers of businesses that provide us with those that we consume. Now, I want you to channel your customer side with this scenario that I’m about to give you.

You click on a link. You are directed to a website of what looks like a store. This is the first time that you’ve come across it. You haven’t heard of it before – no clue about the quality of their service or products, their brand, or if they have customer loyalty. The first thing you would look for before you even consider trusting the brand is some sort of evidence or proof that this store has fulfilled orders and provided their customers with satisfactory products. Customer reviews and product ratings are examples of such proof.

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Okay, now back to seller perspective. Reviews and feedback from previous customers are vital in gaining new ones. Other people’s testimonials about your brand can define whether or not people are going to trust you into providing them with the products and services that you can offer. But what if you’re a newbie in the business, and you have no proof to show to your customers because well, you don’t even have them yet. It’s quite impossible to have customer reviews without customers, and product ratings without people who have experienced the product there to rate it.

Here lies the challenge: how does a newly-established business with zero sales history show their credibility to potential customers? How do you build trust without anything to show for it?

Clearly, you need establish your trustworthiness so customers would consider to purchase your products. What are the other ways in which you can do so? Read through this article. I will be jotting down some ways that you can gain customer trust even as start-up and work your way towards growth. These strategies will help you build your credibility and legitimacy as an e-commerce business.

Introduce the people behind the business

It is somehow intrinsic in the nature of a consumer to not place our whole trust in a brand because their sole intention is purely business, to gain profit. However, it is easier to trust people. A good way to show your credibility and clear some doubt from your customers’ mind is to exhibit the people behind it. You can introduce yourself, the business owner, and the other people who are part of the foundation of the business as well.

You can share the story of how your business came into fruition or how your products are made (if you are in a manufacturing business). These information can be displayed on your About Us page in your website. Since you’re still starting up, it would be good idea to highlight the origin of your brand and then casually insert your products. This way, your audience gets a glimpse of how you operate as a business and have some background about it. You can actually use this as a leverage to build a personal relationship with your potential customers – something that small businesses are better suited to do.

Connect through content

Juicing up your website with content is a great way to build credibility too. With the many kinds of content you can make, you can introduce your brand and products through different mediums and get brand awareness without seeming like you’re trying too hard to market your store. Posting some informative blog articles related to your niche shows that you are knowledgeable in the field, and aware of the trends in the industry and needs of your customers. Producing videos that promote your products and its key features can also demonstrate that you take pride in your products and you want other people to experience it too.

Make customer security a priority

Another reason why customers find it hard to trust online-established brands is because of the prevalence of cybercrimes. The threat of privacy breach, scams, and frauds constantly looms on the web so you can’t really blame online shoppers for being a little paranoid and skeptical of what they find online. Of course, to start with, you have to fix up the visual appearance of your website and the pages to exude legitimacy. A poorly-maintained website comes off shady and less likely to earn trust even though you’re the real deal. You have to show your website visitors that you are concerned with security issues and that you are actively enforcing security measures for the benefit of both you and your customers.

How do you show this? Through the use of security badges from reliable security software that protect your information.

Your ability to cater to multiple payment channels is also a huge plus in getting customers to trust you. Some people prefer other payment options over others – security also being a major factor – and if you can support their preferred method, it is a huge plus.

Have a good return policy

Hear me out on this. One thing that gives customers assurance especially if it’s their first time making a purchase is your return policy. They want to feel that your intention is not just to make a sale but that you value their experience and feedback on the product as well. Technically, this also shows that you are confident in your products because why would you be hesitant to allow returns if your product really is of good quality in the first place?

Your return policies make customers feel safe. They are more likely to take the risk in buying a product for the first time knowing that they can send it back if it does not live up to their expectations. A good example is to have the return policy valid for a month – meaning within that span of time from the moment they receive the product, the processing for returns will be hassle-free. Also make sure that your website visitors know about this, so make this visible on your pages.

Be approachable for queries

Good customer service entails being reachable for customer inquiries. You can input contact information on your Contact Us page such as email address and phone number for customers to be able to reach out to you when they have questions. You can also include your social media accounts – which adds to the credibility of your brand. Having an online presence on many platforms can up the chances of customers trusting you.

It is vital that you are able to respond to queries as fast as possible. Today’s extremely fast-paced technological advancements have raised consumer expectations on response speed so it is important that you adapt to this. A live chat feature on your site assures customers of your hands-on operations and your willingness to attend to their needs. This feature has been proven to increase chances of conversion if you  have it on your website.

Be generous with details

Now, on to your actual product listings. You should provide as many details as possible with each product that you have. Product specifications are important. As much as possible, specify down to the last detail. Include other features and emphasize key attributes. Attach good quality images or video clips of the product. The more information you can give to your customers, the more likely they are to trust that what you are selling are legitimate products.

The Final Look Test

Subject your store to an all-around look test in every medium – from desktop to mobile appearance. Ensure the ease in navigation. Have other people whose opinions you value take a look at it and ask for their honest feedback.

Does the website’s visual appearance exude trustworthiness? Is it easy to navigate through the site? Are the contents you put out relevant and clear? Take note of the major and minor comments. You need to have a critical eye in spotting errors, even spelling and grammatical errors. These mistakes, no matter how small, can stain your credibility and professionalism.

In order for a business to succeed, it needs to build a customer base. The beginning is always the hardest especially when you’re starting from scratch. You have to work your way from the ground up. To gain customer loyalty, you first need to earn their trust. Follow the above tips and you can achieve it. But the work does not stop there. As a seller, you need to work to keep their trust. Always make room for improvement. Your website is never finished.