With businesses now shifting towards digitization and being virtual, there’re many instances of starting anew or afresh online, which is not a walk in the park for any business.
As you know, customers must trust you to buy from you. Luckily, even if you have not made a single sale online, you can cultivate customer trust and boost your online sales in no time.
However, unless you already have strong branding in the market, you’ll find that earning customers’ trust is challenging, especially if you’re new and have zero sales.
What You Can Do to Earn Customer Trust with Little to Zero Sales
Having zero sales is bad for any business and entrepreneur, as it means you don’t have any reviews from past customers or much social proof to reinforce your business. And with everyone trying to impress the customers, earn trust, and raving reviews, the competition is fierce.
Before customers buy from you, they need to trust that your messages and offering are genuine. They need to believe that what you’re selling is authentic and matches what you say it is. Also, if anything were to go awry, you’ll respond and support them fast enough.
When starting your business’ online foray and building an online presence, you’ll likely have no followers and no traffic. Your brand, products, and even your reputation may also be unfamiliar with people. So, how can you win people’s trust and drive more buyers to your business?
Here are some techniques that can help you earn customers’ trust online even when you have zero sales:
1. Enhance Website Aesthetics & Performance
At the end of 2017, a survey was done among 645 respondents on website design as a criterion for online fashion stores. More than half of them believed that the website’s aesthetics is essential for online fashion stores.
This data makes sense, especially when you’re in the fashion industry; fashion is all about looking good, so your site better reflects the same. But, be it fashion or any other industry, you have to ensure that your site looks good as humans are typically visual.
Nobody wants to visit a website that looks bad and messy. As such, invest time and effort into creating a clear and good-looking website.
Website design as a criterion for online fashion businesses in the US 2017 (Source: Statista)
If you want to kickstart your sales and earnings, take a closer look at your website design and its performance. If your site takes longer than 2s to load, your bounce rate will increase.
Higher website performance = higher website traffic = higher conversion = higher revenue.
Giving your customers a good user experience is crucial. Fast web pages reduce your bounce rate, which helps project a solid first impression to your visitors. This, in turn, improves your SEO and search engine’s credibility as Google considers load time when ranking websites in the search results.
Ultimately, your conversion rate increases with aesthetic pleasing and optimized website design, which leads to more sales and revenue.
2. Be More Human
You need to always remember that your customers are more used to buying things physically, where they can ask the sellers anything they want to know so as to understand the product or service and your business brand better.
However, things are different when buying online, where contact is not physical but virtual. It is crucial that you maintain the same human aspect in your online business as you would in a brick-and-mortar business.
As such, invest some time to create a proper ‘About Us’ page on your site to introduce yourself to customers so that they’ll understand and know you better. This can help remove customers’ skepticism about you and your brand.
The underlying objective is to help customers know you more as a person and brain behind the products, rather than just knowing the products alone.
You can also do so via social media by adding a human face to your brand along with interactive posts, images from your workplace. This can be an impactful way to build a strong connection between the customers and your brand.
Simply put, develop your business in such a way that makes them feel the human side of it.
3. Provide Clear & Detailed Product Information
In one Polish study, 80% of survey respondents stated that the most important criterion for them when buying online was an accurate description of the product and its photos.
This feedback makes sense as the customers would be more convinced that they know enough about what they’re buying and the more likely they’ll purchase it if the product details and information are clear.
It’s basically like you’re physically at the shop explaining to the shoppers what the product is, what it’s made of, what can be done with it, and how to take care of it. All this is converted into an accurate and detailed product description on your online store.
Study: Most important e-commerce criteria when shopping online in Poland 2020 (Source: Statista)
Add clear and high-quality images and graphics of the product. As you know, customers aren't shopping physically, so they can’t feel and touch the product. As such, they’ll need other means to help them envision the products.
Having clear product images from different angles and a good video showing the product in action helps heaps.
Take note that you must never have a mismatch between the product information or description and the product itself, as this is a total betrayal of the customer’s trust.
4. Engage, Chat & Connect to Your Customers
Since your customers cannot access you physically, they’ll need to have the means to get in touch with you. It can be either through email, live chat, telephone number, or social media platforms. Whichever way, they need a quick and meaningful response from you.
If you make yourself available 24/7, you can earn their trust even faster and more easily. Customers want to know that you’re on hand anytime they have a question. So, be open to communicating with your customers.
Live Chat is a powerful and fast way to connect with your customers. Customers find this instant communication mode a very effective means of communication, and its resolution rate is also high.
All requests and inquiries must be attended to as fast and thoroughly as would be prudent. You may not have the solution immediately, but an acknowledgment as a first response to your customer is good enough.
Take note that the speed and quality of your response can be the deciding factor of whether your customer will return or leave.
5. Guarantee a Clear, Hassle-Free & Excellent Refund/Return Policy
Having a clear, non-complicated, and excellent return policy can help provide that extra nudge to convert the buyer.
This is more of a psychological matter as the buyer knows that they can make the purchase, try it out first within a stipulated time and return it if it doesn’t meet the expectations.
As such, you need to have the perfect return policy so that your customers are comfortable with their buying and know that you care if your product satisfies them. Also, they’ll feel privileged as they know that your return policy reduces the risks faced by them.
Make sure that there aren’t any hidden clauses. You want your customers to believe in your sincerity and transparency.
6. Show that Security is Priority in Your Website
No one is going to shop on a website or e-Commerce store that is prone and likely to be hacked. Shopper will neither be willing to perform any sort of payment nor browse through your website for fear of malware or any other security concerns.
Simply put, cybersecurity is a crucial matter that concerns not only online buyers but also you, yourself, as you lose business too.
You can look into using an SSL certificate as this helps heighten your site’s security via encryption. This can help thwart phishing, data sniffing, and Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks.
Also, consider security-boosting applications that add another layer of security and educate the buyers on any safe best practices.
Secure your website and your customers’ data by being compliant and run security audits frequently. Show your customers you’re serious about security and make sure that your website is trustworthy while assuring your customers that they are always safe there.
7. Offer Various Secured Payment Methods
If you’re offering only one type of payment method, you’re hugely restricting your customers. As such, they’ll be driven away to use your competitors’ websites which offer more types of payment modes.
You need to be flexible and offer various secured payment methods as some customers prefer to use a particular payment method over another.
As there are multiple and different promotions with various payment options, you’d want to give a choice to your customers; VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc.
Last but not least, ensure that you offer only reliable, trusted, and popularly used payment methods.
8. Fire Up Better Content Marketing Strategies
In the last year, from July 2020, 80% of B2B marketers have rated their overall content marketing to be extremely and very successful. This is a high and, therefore, very encouraging figure, which means that marketers value content marketing highly.
The Success Rate of Content Marketing in the last 12 months from July 2020 (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Content determines a website’s character. After all, content is the single most important factor used to attract and help you associate better with your customers.
Having a blog and a solid FAQ can help heaps in fostering a good relationship with your potential buyer. This is because they can help address any apprehensions your customer may have when buying.
The mantra “Content is king” still rings true today. So, create and have a strong content marketing strategy in place, using only quality and meaningful content.
Your content marketing strategy need not be promotional at all times. It should also be educational and informative, which will bring more traffic to your online store and help build trust.
Also, quality content that engages can increase your SEO as Google stresses having quality and relevant content. As such, focus on high-quality content that is unique, customer-centric, and highlights your expertise.
Update such content regularly, and you’ll be able to earn trust from your customers as they’ll see a higher level of your commitment to the business.
9. Free Samples Are Always Good
Organizing contests and having giveaways are great. Everybody wants freebies. This is an effective way to get your product out there and start earning solid trust. But, of course, you have to make sure your product is good to begin with, and deliver items to the right hands on time.
Target free sample to customers who can offer reviews that help spread the word about your product, where possible. Also, offer relevant bloggers and social influencers free samples, encouraging them to help you get the word out about your offerings to target interest groups.
Most online businesses that are making high profits started with no customers. Bear in mind that businesses aren’t launched; they’re built. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The same case may apply to your business and obtaining your customers’ trust will help you build up your reputation as a trustworthy source and make more sales.
Trust is essential, especially when customers today have endless choices available to them. Start with the above-listed methods and you won’t go wrong.
Remember, trust comes before sales. Once you have gained your customers’ trust, work towards building a relationship with them, then you’ll notice more sales flowing in as you get more loyal buyers and also repeat customers.