Last updated on November 14, 2023

Jacob McMillen
Website Copywriter & Email Marketing Strategist
June 9th, 2016 | 8 minutes read

Consumer trust in eCommerce is the most important factor to success.

Table Of Contents

Consumer trust in eCommerce is the most important factor to success.

Think about it: There are more than 12 million eCommerce stores online today, yet according to data from the Lemonstand blog, only 5% surpass $1,000 per year in profits.

Did you catch that?

95% of eCommerce businesses do less than $1,000 per YEAR!

Competition is incredibly fierce. You will never be the only person vying for a given customer’s business. This means you have to go above and beyond to get sales.

Competition in eCommerce is incredibly fierce. You need to go above and beyond to get sales.

But it’s not all bad: The good news is that customers love to buy. You just have to convince them to buy from you, rather than the competition.

And overt marketing and advertising isn’t always the answer. As the old saying goes, “People love to buy, but they hate to be sold to.”

The best way to earn the sales of potential shoppers is to gain their trust.

Customer confidence in a brand makes the difference between them buying from you – or your competition.

You need to make incoming visitors to your site feel confident in your brand and in their potential purchase. But that’s easier said than done.

Today’s online shoppers have plenty of fears keeping them from having full assurance to buy online.

We’re going to look at several key strategies for building customer trust, both in the short term and over the long haul.


1. You’re Doing Social Proof Wrong (Do This Instead)

We all know that social proof is important. You’ve read about it countless times.

Unfortunately, the typical rhetoric behind social proof is overly simplistic. The average guide to leveraging social proof will describe social proof like this:

  1. Include a share bar and get lots of shares
  2. Show people how many Facebook likes you have
  3. Include a testimonial on your landing page

While these aren’t bad things to do, they also aren’t going to meaningfully communicate social proof to your audience.

If we peel back the buzz from the buzzword, “social proof” describes a powerful phenomenon where the social power of your customer base influences new users to try out your brand.

Did you hear that?

Your current customers are your best marketing tool. Learning how to leverage customer loyalty can earn you new sales and improve conversion rates.

But a new viewer isn’t going to simply buy from you because 500 people like your Facebook page. It takes something more than that.

For example, while 500 strangers won’t impress you, what about 100 people you know?

What about even just 5 people you know?

If you are looking to make a purchase and 5 people you know love a brand you’re considering, won’t that influence you to give it a try?

The statistics say YES!

While random likes don’t cut it, targeted feedback from relevant users does.

As Kim Flynn of Business Training for Women says:

“I have two videos playing on my business retreat site, an informational video about the retreat itself, and just underneath it, a video compilation of about ten video testimonials.

The video testimonials get twice the amount of clicks than the informational video does.

People don’t want to take my word for it; they want to hear reviews from other people.”

Instead of focusing on random cues, focus on connecting meaningful feedback from your customer base with relevant people interested in trying your brand.

This will build customer trust with your brand both in the short term and over the long haul.

a purchase before only to see that money disappear with nothing to show for it.

While most eCommerce consumers today aren’t scared of being scammed, they are concerned that the product or service they receive might not be as high quality as they require.

In order to assuage these fears and encourage users to trust you, your website needs to communicate authenticity, credibility, & consumer safety.

There are a number of ways you can pull this off.

Focus on building trust indicators

At the most basic level, the overall design of your site communicates the value of your product or service. Derek Halpern talks about this while discussing why he spent $25k to make his site look more modern.

“When someone makes their mind up, it’s almost impossible to change it,” he says. “That was happening on my site. People would stumble on it, think it was a scam, and bam. I’m done.

And they’ll never trust me again. But all hope is not lost… There’s something I call credibility triggers. They are little things that make people think, ‘Yep, this is the real deal!’

And if I had them on my site, I could combat that gut-level defensive reaction.”

The design itself plays a big role when it comes to creating trust indicators: Modern, clean, professional design communicates value and gives customers security in your professionalism.

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 Use photos, videos, and textual endorsements to signal trust

One strategy is to attach yourself to trusted brand, figures, or if possible, direct endorsements.

As Matthew Frisbie, CEO of One Sharp Design, explains in Forbes:

“We created a landing page for a client who had a brain training program product with a great video. But we incorporated trust symbols on that page as well.

We used logos from the local universities and K-12 schools that were using the program. As we targeted specific geo locations, it made a big difference in making the landing page relevant to the buyer.

We expect that many of the visitors will know professors, teachers and have some kind of community or emotional connection to those brands and groups.”

This is another time that brand photos work, but customer photos work much better. A photo from your customer showing off your product or service is going to be infinitely more effective than your photos.


People trust other consumers more than they trust brands.

Get our free guide for more tips on using visual marketing to increase trust & sales.

Assuage fears by showing the people behind the brand

Another method is to use images and copy that display vulnerability and personifies your business as a person or collection of people.

People are far more hesitant to buy from faceless businesses than people they connect with. If you can open up and resonate with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to establish trust.

3. Gain Customer Trust Through Content Marketing

While safety cues and meaningful reviews can make an immediate impact on consumer trust, one of the best strategies, particularly when pursuing a larger Customer Lifetime Value, is content marketing.

With content marketing, instead of asking for money up front, you start the relationship by giving.

You give away content, data, and information that helps the consumer and keeps your business on their mind when they think of your niche.

Content marketing also helps capture visitors who might not be ready to purchase.

For example, if a visitor isn’t quite ready to purchase camping gear from your website, instead of simply leaving and forgetting about your brand, they might download a copy of your Beginning Camper’s Guide To The Northwest, giving you their email address and inserting themselves into your content marketing funnel.

Now, you can continue to supply them with valuable information, offer them discounts and keep your brand on their mind, so when the time comes, and they are ready to purchase, the first thing they do is look up your most recent email and visit your site.

Content marketing is a powerful consumer engagement strategy.

Content marketers embrace the long haul, realizing that the customer’s value isn’t in one sale, but in many sales over their lifetime and in the new customers they refer to your business.

Stores with increased customer retention have lifelong value. And other consumers see these returning customers as signals that you have something worthwhile.

If your past customers keep coming back, then you obviously have something of value.


When seeking to build consumer trust, remember to incorporate both short term and long term strategies.

You want people to buy today, but ultimately, you want them coming back and buying again and again and again.

Building and nurturing trust at every point of consumer interaction will catapult your sales and help you build a sustainable eCommerce business.

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