In the crowded world of ecommerce, persuading a customer to make a purchase oftentimes comes down to trust. That means more than simply having great data security; it means building a connection and confidence with potential customers. Here are eight trust-building tactics to increase user retention and establish trust with consumers:

Share your story.

Storytelling is a powerful emotional tool that can build a bridge between your online store and customers. The About Us page on your site isn't the time to be terse; instead, share any relevant details about how the company got started, your business values and what the company is passionate about bringing to consumers. Include behind-the-scenes photos of your store and consider creating a video that introduces your brand to the world. Being able to see the faces behind an ecommerce site can generate more trust than merely reading about your story on screen.

Be transparent with information.

When you ask customers to share information about themselves - whether it's their email address or interests - it makes them feel vulnerable. Being upfront about how that information will be used can reassure them your store is trustworthy. A survey by market research firm Janrain found that when businesses explain why data is being collected and how they intend to use that information, 77 percent of buyers say they trust those companies more.

Never over-promise.

While it may be tempting to try to meet every customer's request no matter how ambitious the ask, making promises you can't fulfill is dangerous. People loathe disappointment, and they're more likely to share a disappointing ecommerce experience than a positive one. Rather than risk destroying the trust you've created with clients, be honest and upfront when a customer request isn't achievable.

Put your policies front and center.

Customers may assume they have a lengthy window to make a return or exchange a discounted product, but if those assumptions contradict your policies, the tension can erode their trust. Make sure any merchandising policies are easy to find on your site (some ecommerce stores even include these in emailed receipts). And if any promotions or sales include particular rules, make sure those are clearly stated upfront as well.

Make customer service accessible.

Customers want to feel like they can reach out for support when they need it, but they might not want to pick up the phone and dial a general number. In addition to posting a phone number, include an email address and other easy ways for customers to contact you. Consider creating web forms that automatically send to a central support inbox. Make sure you send an auto-response to the customer, letting them know the query has been received and relaying an expected response time. Post social media profiles for public queries - and make sure these are monitored regularly so customer questions or concerns don't slip through the cracks.

When communicating with customers, sound like a real person.

No matter which method you use to respond to a customer, try to keep your response genuine and personable to engender trust. Customers who think they're being served stock answers or interacting with an automated system may not want to continue the conversation.

Show off your security credentials.

In order to be trusted, any payment transaction on your site must be risk-free. That means working with credible payment providers such as PayPal or Stripe, but that's not the only actionable step. If your online store is supported by an all-in-one ecommerce platform, you may already have bank vault security. Prominently conveying your site's security goes a long way toward building that will build confidence and trust with your customers. But if you're not using an ecommerce platform, think about obtaining an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate to encrypt and secure customer data.

Be clear about pricing.

The number one reason for shopping cart abandonment? Unexpected shipping costs. Research from UPS and comScore shows more than half of online shoppers dropped out of the checkout process when they were presented with shipping costs that made the purchase price more than expected. To avoid that revenue loss-and blow to your brand trust-be clear early on about what the customer will be charged for and whether low prices are only available under certain conditions.


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