When you walk into a physical shop on a high street or retail park, there’s no doubt in your mind that it’s a legitimate and functioning business. You can see their products, view their shop front and see actual members of staff who are able to assist and help you. However, when you’re an online business, you don’t have this. When there are so many scams and fake websites around, customers can be wary of shopping somewhere new just in case you’re not who you say you are. All they’re able to see is a website, and these days anyone with a bit of technical knowledge can knock one of those up. So for this reason, as a new online company, it’s important to do what you can to prove to customers that you’re a legitimate and trustworthy business.There are few things you’re able to do to put people’s mind at ease, and to help reassure them they can place an order with you.
Build Up Your Brand
People love brands and are willing to pay more for them. And there’s a good reason for this. When you buy from a big brand, you’re not just buying a generic product. You know you’re purchasing from a company with a good reputation- a promise that they will deliver what they say they will. You know research and care have gone into the products, and that they will maintain a standard of quality, hygiene or whatever else it is that’s relevant to the business. There’s a lot of trust between brands and consumers so if you want to reap the rewards of this, focusing on your brand is a smart move. You need fantastic graphics (enlist the help of a graphic designer) a beautiful website, logo and slogan. From there you can focus on how you can target your audience, great brands don’t just sell products but a lifestyle. For example, are you selling the idea of an adventurous lifestyle to people who love to travel or do sport? Are you selling the idea of a beautiful, organized and stress-free life to entrepreneurs or busy parents? Think about the kind of people you are trying to target and what will most appeal to them. Have a look at what your competitors are doing, this will not only give you inspiration but ideas on how to tweak your own business. After all, the key is to find your own unique selling point, you shouldn’t be selling the exact same concept as your competitors. Find your own niche, and you will find your loyal customers.
Manage Your Social Media Accounts Well
Another thing people will use to gauge whether your business is reliable and trustworthy is by looking at your social media accounts. Established businesses will have a good following and interaction on their page. You should promptly be addressing customers questions and concerns and be posting regularly. It can be hard to build up a following in the beginning, but you could run competitions and things to encourage people to follow. Make it worth their while, share vouchers and discounts, host giveaways. Building up a following can take a while but keep putting out a good service, and people will come.
Have Clear Contact Details
Having clear contact details on your site is essential. You will need a phone number, an email address, an address and preferably something like a live chat feature. People will be far more likely to make a purchase if they know that they can easily contact someone if it goes wrong. If you’re running your business from home, how about using a business that offers a physical address? These will show your business as a nice professional looking block of offices, and any mail sent there will be forwarded on to you. It’s not all just redirecting paperwork either, many of these companies will scan and email you documents you receive, they can filter out junk mail and even pay bills!.
Get Reviews From Customers
Customer reviews are so useful to businesses, especially smaller and newer businesses. When a customer has never shopped with you before they will be looking for evidence that you are who you say you are, and reading previous customer reviews is one way they’re able to do this. It will give people trust and confidence after seeing other satisfied customers so is something you should aim to build up. Facebook business pages have a review option, and third party review sites like Reevoo and Trustpilot are good too. You can’t offer incentives for customer reviews, but you can ask nicely. If people have had a good experience with you most of the time, they will be more than happy to share that. With that being said, people are also keen to leave bad reviews when they’re dissatisfied, and these can harm your business massively. For this reason, it’s so important to follow up when customers are unhappy, apologize and offer the chance to put things right.
People these days know better than to enter credit card or bank details into a site they’ve never used before. Payment methods like Paypal are much preferred, they keep everyone’s information safe and are also beneficial for both buyer and seller. Since PayPal will help get the money back if anything goes wrong, customers are more likely to take a chance on buying from less known places. Make sure you have this option at your checkout, Paypal makes it really easy to integrate into all kinds of websites, so it’s simple to do but could mean a big boost in profits.
For new online companies, business can be a little slow at first and take some time to pick up steam. Be patient, and do everything you can to ensure you’re proving to customers that you are trustworthy and legitimate, and offer excellent services and products.
What are you doing to build up a good reputation for your small online business?