How to Build Trust in Your Online Brand

According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, only 48%¹ of the general population in the United States trusts businesses, falling from 58% last year and with a general trend moving downward over the past decade. With trust in brands on the decline, it’s evermore important to ensure you are building loyalty and customer acquisition. 

In a recent study², PwC found that more than one in three ranked ‘trust in brand’ as among their top three reasons that influence their decision to shop at a particular retailer, other than price. So how can you build trust in your brand?

Have a Reliable Product and a Clear Proposition

The most obvious solution is to have a reliable, trustworthy product that you and your customers believe in. High quality, valuable products that really do bring a solution into a customer’s life are absolutely essential. Technical issues can be a make-or-break and extensive user testing is necessary for ensuring that your product runs effectively and does not break down. 

Your value proposition directly defines who you are as a brand, your purpose and what you are able to do for customers. Ensuring that your proposition is of value and well thought out means you can be consistent in your message and deliver the promises you make.

Offer Consistent Customer Experience

The better the experience your customers have, the more likely they are to trust you as a brand. According to PwC³, 73% of consumers cite customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, yet only 49% say companies deliver.

Customer service and customer experience go hand in hand. Customer service is transactional – it means answering common questions, troubleshooting issues or picking the right product. 

Customer experience, on the other hand, is taking a look at the customer’s entire journey throughout their whole time with your brand. Whether that is browsing your site, walking through your store, and the whole purchase experience. If you provide a personalised, high-quality experience, you’re likely to build trust and reassurance.

Be Honest and Transparent

According to Reach Solutions, 58%⁴ of consumers don’t trust a brand until they’ve seen “real-world proof” that it’s kept its promises. Offering this real-world proof could be things such as publishing third-party research about your products, responding honestly to queries on social media, addressing any issues openly and appropriately. 

Honesty and transparency also mean you know when to let a customer down. If there is something your product cannot do, explain this upfront instead of a customer spending money with you only to find that you weren’t able to deliver what they thought you could. Set realistic expectations and you won’t ever let people down.

Build Social Online Proof

According to a Nielsen study, 92%⁵ of global online consumers trust word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family above any other form of advertising (up 18% since 2007). While this illustrates consumers’ growing distrust of advertising, it also shows that peer reviews and social proof are more important than ever.

Building online social proof can be as simple as collecting reviews. 61%⁶ of consumers read reviews before they complete a purchase, so it’s absolutely crucial to take the time to gather reviews. Offer an incentive for reviews left, such as 10% off their next purchase or a free trial, and build these up over time.

User-generated content is another great way to do this. If someone mentions your brand on Twitter, retweet that and show your followers real people enjoying what you do. Instagram stories are another great way to do this, ask your customers to share a story of themselves using your product and share this across your story.  

To build a solid social proof, you need to interact with your customers on a regular basis through an active presence on social media. You need to monitor your pages for comments, questions or complaints and respond appropriately. Be responsive and start conversations, and you’ll be able to build a positive relationship with consumers.

Influencer Marketing

In the most recent episode of our podcast Everything eCommerce, we spoke to Harry Hugo of GOAT Agency, who are an influencer agency. One of the key points mentioned was using influencers to build trust and awareness of your brand.

If you see someone you follow and look up to endorsing a particular product, you are way more likely to see that product positively and consider purchasing yourself. Gymshark’s success can be attributed in large, to their use of influencer marketing. It’s no longer just a clothing line; they’ve created a community and an image that makes people want to be a part of it.

If your product is right for it, influencer marketing can be extremely effective. Choosing the right influencer can be a huge step for your business, so it’s worth taking the time to do your research and reach out to someone you think will suit your brand proposition.

Website Optimisation

46.1%⁷ of people say that a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. Yet, many businesses haven’t updated or improved the aesthetic design of their web experience for over a decade.

With no prior experience in web design or marketing, most people know what a trustworthy website looks like instinctively. Keep pop-ups to a minimum to avoid it looking spammy, make sure your style is simple and clean, and you are creating an easy to navigate experience. With the number of mobile browsers on the rise, ensuring your website design is optimised for mobile is also absolutely crucial. 

Make sure your contact information is clear and visible, your ‘about me’ section is transparent and thorough, and you are including people on your site to build that trust. Adding live chat can be a great way to ensure that you are always reachable and able to help with whatever your customers need.

Fast Response Times

There’s no sense in having your contact information visible and clear if you then take weeks to respond to simple queries. You need to ensure that you are responding efficiently and appropriately to questions in order to build trust and communication with your brand. If you can’t answer a question before purchase, how are you going to help a customer with an issue they have after they make a purchase?

If you’re struggling with responding to your customer quickly, consider adding live chat to your website. With a managed chat service, a team can be available 24/7 to handle enquiries. Click here to more about how our teams chat with an average response time under 40 seconds.

Live Chat as a Personalised Solution

When purchasing anything, adding an element of human reassurance goes a long way, especially on higher-value purchases. Google defines micro-moments “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey.”, so creating micro-moments through a personalised live chat feature can decide whether someone will purchase or not. 

One of the main reasons live chat is so effective is its ability to create a totally personal experience. 90%⁸ of customers surveyed said the “Live Chat” button gives them confidence that they can get help if they need it, and so it should. 

Having a trained and dedicated chat agent to speak to your customers means they can build a genuine relationship with the customer there on chat. Creating a personal and engaging experience also means that the customer is more likely to return and become a repeat customer, as well as spread the word about how great the experience with you was. 

Final Thoughts

Without trust, your brand has nothing. It’s absolutely crucial for drawing potential customers in, establishing them as paying customers and then for keeping them loyal to you, so it’s essential to ensure that everything you do is motivated by this. 

Catch up on our podcasts here.

Find out more about how live chat can help your build trust in your brand here.

¹https://ignitevisibility.com/7-ways-build-brand-trust-marketing/

²https://ignitevisibility.com/7-ways-build-brand-trust-marketing/

³https://www.pwc.com/us/en/advisory-services/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/pwc-consumer-intelligence-series-customer-experience.pdf

⁴https://www.trinitymirrorsolutions.co.uk/insights

⁵http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2012/nielsen-global-consumers-trust-in-earned-advertising-grows.html

⁶https://econsultancy.com/blog/9366-ecommerce-consumer-reviews-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-use-them/

⁷https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx

⁸http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/commerce/atg/cross-channel-commerce-survey-333315.pdf