Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Web Hints - Building Customer Trust

It seems to be the assumption of many online retailers that visitors will trust them from the get-go, and yet we know for a fact that the more e-commerce sites launch, the more disreputable people will be trying to get in on the act, the more horror stories there will be and the more the online buyer is going to be looking for reassurance.

Tomorrow I'm going to be giving a presentation at an IMRG event for a customer review platform for whom I have done some work in the UK. This is because the director who was supposed to be giving it is sick, so I have had to step in. The subject is the German online consumer and needless to say I have learnt a great deal, quickly. One of the most interesting things is the reluctance of the German customer to buy unless he is absolutely certain that the retailer he is buying from is safe.

So he looks for seals of approval from the German counterpart to ISIS (Internet Shopping is Safe) and other reputable bodies. Independent customer reviews and safe payment methods.

By law, in Germany, if you are an online retailer you have to clearly display your telephone number, full address and email address. In the UK at the moment you don't, but I hope and have little doubt that moment will come soon.

Independent customer reviews are becoming more and more prevalent - there are very few large, well organised online retailers who have not started to show what their customers think about them. Smaller retailers are beginning to follow and this will doubtless gain momentum as they realise that the competition will be between a retailer who offers reviews and one who doesn't and the one who does will be more likely to convert to a sale.

The huge difference between independent reviews and self managed reviews if that independent customer reviews cannot be manipulated and self managed reviews can. When you display reviews that are managed independently, everyone who visits your site knows that they can be trusted. It's going to become harder and harder to influence customers to buy with home-grown feedback, and even harder to get them to buy with no feedback at all.

The next time I update GlamourSleuth it'll be from Dallas, Texas, where I'm going to be spending a few days. What to wear has been a huge dilemma - I'll let you know how it goes....................