As much as the internet is a haven for finding new clothes, music, learning or simply finding funny cat pictures, everyone is aware of its dark side. Unfortunately hackers, ‘fake’ shops and imposters are not in a galaxy far, far away. When you’re not yet a household brand, proving to consumers you are a trustworthy business can be a difficult task.
However, with a well designed site and a few simple ‘trust icons’ you can optimise your product pages quite easily to increase the sales rolling in.
What is a trust icon?
A trust icon is anything on the page which will help inspire confidence in the visitor and help increase sales.
To make things a lot easier (I'm a visual person), I've designed a product page for bamboo clothing (based on an actual site) to show how and where to use trust icons to encourage faith in your visitors and to achieve your main goal of turning these visitors into customers.
I've highlighted these with a red box so you can see how these trust icons fit subtly into the overall design. They shouldn't stand out like a clown in a business meeting; this could turn the whole process 180° and actually put people off, decreasing your conversions.
The trust icons are listed on the fake product page as follows
- Social icons – Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook
- Customer reviews
- Testimonials for the product
- A link dedicated to a page of testimonials
- Logos of Credit cards accepted
- Feefo (again)
The psychology behind it
Although we may not want to admit it ourselves, our ‘follow the herd’ mentality is undeniable. Much of what we decide we determine by finding out what other people think is right. This is particularly the case when we are faced with unfamiliar circumstances or uncertainty – in this case whether we think the hoody dress is thought of as a good quality fashionable item and a worthwhile purchase.
This type of social proof can be split down into two key components:
- The person giving the thumbs up must be as much like us a possible (age, sex, likes/dislikes)
- A large number of people feel the same way
If this social proof is happening on a website where we are considering buying a jumper we can switch our brains to auto-pilot and short cut our own decision making by trusting the previous decisions of others. If the reviews state 4.5 stars from 43 customers who have bought the jumper, the visitor is assured of the promises of product quality the site is making.
The evidence of social proof working can easily be seen on the popular review sites TripAdvisor and Feefo.
In the case of the example product page, box 2 is perhaps the strongest trust icon on the page. This is because the people who have left a review were in the exact situation we’re in now, we can read their direct experience of a situation and relate to them.
People create social hierarchies on the internet to mirror our real-life daily experiences of following or relying on someone with authority. In real-life this may be shown with formal appearance, wealth or job titles. However on the web we can use peoples need for authority to gain trust and credibility.
This can be helped with visual badges or logos that indicate membership to professional organisations, logos of blue-chip clients, media snippets and even celebrity endorsements can all aid in convincing people your product or service is legitimate.
For many businesses with only a few physical shop locations, or even no physical address, your online shop front is everything – including your brand identity. To be thought of as a reputable, trustworthy business you need to prove this to your visitors. Your visitors need to trust that you and your products are high quality and are able to meet their expectations, only with this credibility are you going to gain customers and increase sales.
Product Page Checklist
- Do you belong to an industry membership you can use the logo of?
- Is your company required to have quality checks? Can you use this logo on your site?
- Use social media icons – +1’s, likes, or sharing buttons work particularly well on product pages to increase conversions
- Good quality testimonials – the more details the better – if you can use full names and locations , perfect. However you will need to ask for permission. Real photos are also very strong in persuading
- Do you work with any high end companies or celebrities you can name drop?
- Have you been discussed positively in any media activity you can use?
- Website counters – such as XXX amount of customers have visited/bought/viewed this item is a marmite technique. This can work well or work against you – I’ve seen this work both ways, I would recommend avoiding this but if you feel strongly you can always try a bit of A-B split testing
- Review sites are hugely popular and a great way to build trust in your visitors