Your Customers Don’t Trust You!

A recent study by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, the British counterpart to the US’s Federal Trade Commission, found that over 30% of online shoppers were afraid to make purchases online. Far and away the biggest reason for this fear was the fear of “identity theft” or of credit card fraud. That’s a pretty frightening statistic, but it does shed some light on two major points about your small business website. The first point is that your website has to gain and keep the trust of your potential customers. Secondly, your pool of potential customers just increased by 30%. That’s right, if you can implement a few specific measures to ensure that potential customers see your website as being trustworthy, then that 30% of the population is available to you.
There are a few specific things that you or your web developer can do to ensure that your website is trustworthy. The very first thing is to make sure that your website clearly displays several contact methods. If you have a business phone, make sure that it’s clearly displayed somewhere on your site, along with multiple email addresses and your physical address. Just knowing that a real person is just a phone call away, can have a huge impact on how much users will trust your website. Second, take the time to create and publish a privacy policy. Granted it’s generally a dry, boring document, but your customers will feel better knowing that you have an official policy for dealing with their personal information. And while we’re on that subject, always hold your customer’s information in the highest confidence. One slip can destroy your online business, so be careful. And finally, publicize your commitment to security. If you’re a member of the Better Business Bureau, then place their badge on your website, if your website uses antivirus or other security software to protect your customer’s information, then make sure that your customers know that. The perception of security is almost as important as the security measures themselves, at least from a marketing perspective. Once your customers know about the security measures that you have taken, they will feel better about giving you their credit card information, or their email address, or their phone number, and you will see more visitors turning into customers.