For me, trust is the absolute cornerstone of any relationship, business or otherwise, and thus it’s not something that is easily earned. Given the fact that online merchants don’t have the opportunity to forge relationships in a face-to-face setting, it’s even more challenging to obtain the faith and loyalty of their customers.
That’s why it’s so critical to understand the most effective methods for building trust, particularly with regards to handling some of their most sensitive personal information, namely their payment details.
According to a study carried out by the Baymard Institute, almost a fifth of all abandoned checkouts are a result of customers not trusting a website with payment information.1 When you add that to the fact eight out of ten global customers are concerned about their online privacy, it becomes much easier to appreciate the challenges online merchants face when trying to earn the trust of their customers.2
With that in mind, here are my top five tips for gaining that hard-earned trust and increasing conversions.
1. Set Up the Ultimate Payment Page
Payment pages are as crucial as it gets. One wrong move with your set up and the trust won’t just be lost today; it’ll be gone forever. Therefore, you need to take steps to reassure the customer that the information they are about to enter to complete payment is secure. The first step of that process is localising your checkout to your customer’s geographical territory.
A customer is going to struggle to trust a company that’s unable to display prices in their local currency or display vital payment instructions in the local language. As an online retailer, you should use IP addresses to identify the geographical location of a user and present a payments page fit for the region in question.
Next, the payments page needs to ooze trust in the form of security indicators. Redirecting customers away from your website is one sure-fire way to reduce buyer trust and confidence. Therefore, I would suggest making use of various third-party providers (such as SafeCharge) that simultaneously descope PCI compliance requirements whilst maximising the UX of your website.
Speaking of PCI compliance, use logos and other security seals to confirm the trustworthiness of your site. Just under 80% of online shoppers say that a trust seal indicates that information is secure. Make sure to invest in an SSL certificate from a leading provider so that the green padlock in the browser gives the buyer another nudge in the right direction.
2. Create a Frictionless Environment
In almost goes without saying that you need to make the process payments as easy as possible. One of the best methods to increase conversions is to dynamically adapt the checkout process to reflect the preferences of the geographical market within which you’re selling.
For instance, in some currencies the currency symbol is on the right and in others it is on the left. Additionally, for some countries, the thousands separator is denoted by a comma and the decimal separator is a point, whereas in others it is exactly the opposite. This is precisely the kind of information you need to display dynamically to ensure high conversion rates and a “one-size-fits-all” approach simply won’t cut it.
How you display payment methods is significant too. If you sell products and services in Hungary, Romania, or Slovakia for example, the Cash on Delivery (COD) payment method accounts for 54%, 69%, and 72% of all online transactions in these countries respectively.3 If you fail to offer this payment method as the primary option in your payment method mix for customers based in these locations, then you’re likely to lose the sale.
Don’t let the stumbling block of expired cards get in the way of a purchase. Instead, integrate card updater software to keep payment information current and frictionless. Similarly, to ensure fast checkouts, offer payment options such as PayPal’s quick payment option or Apple Pay, which eliminates the need to leave your website to complete the transaction.
Lastly, take care of anti-fraud measures on the backend with Smart 3D solutions (such as SafeCharge’s REST API or Hosted Payments Page). These acquirer-agnostic products deliver artificially intelligent exemption management and direct payments through the correct 3D-Secure routing flows, rather than asking the customer to jump through several hoops to satisfy individual acquirer requirements.
3. Enable Transaction Completion Tools
As I mentioned, dynamic currency conversion builds trust with your customers by displaying the price in a currency; they immediately understand the value of. However, it serves another purpose, which is that of providing customers with transparency. Transparent companies have been proven to obtain higher consumer trust levels.4 Furthermore, by informing a customer of the exact balance to expect on their credit card bill, you lessen the risk of a chargeback.
Next, it’s wise to make use of a provider that utilises cascading routing, which is a process whereby smart payment engines use dynamic routing to present transaction to the correct acquiring partner, increasing your approval ratios and profits.
Another way to build trust is to have reliable protocols in place for when a transaction doesn’t go to plan. Instead of just returning an error message, you need to leave your customer in no doubt as to whether or not a purchase went through or not and provide a simple solution moving forward. It’s an excellent idea to install install decline recovery and partial approval tools to inform customers that a transaction has not been completed, and provide alternative options for completing their purchase (such as using another card).
For example, an online shopper may have a cart on your retail site with six items in it, but only enough funds on their payment card to purchase four of those items. With the aforementioned tools in place, the checkout page would allow the purchase to go through for the items covered by sufficient funds, before alerting the user that only part of the order has been successful. At which point, the user could then select another payment method to complete the whole purchase or discard the two remaining items from their basket. Without partial approval in place, it’s probable that the entire value of the sale would have been lost. Instead, you’ve gained the sales value of at least four of the items, if not all of them.
It’s also significant to note the impact of remaining on the payment page has on conversions. In a traditional decline scenario, website visitors are redirected to another page informing them of a decline and that they need to start the checkout process again. However, with advanced decline recovery protocols, users remain on the payments page with all of their information saved. At this point, they simply select a new payment method in what is a friction-free experience, keeping conversions high and abandoned carts low.
4. Implement Post-Transaction Tools
Buyer’s remorse is an ever-increasing phenomenon. According to research group OnePoll, the average American says they will start to experience second thoughts about buying items in their shopping cart after just 22 seconds.5 Bearing that startling information in mind, you need to provide a well-thought-out post-transaction strategy to avoid the fate of being hit with either a refund request or an unwelcome chargeback.
I would suggest making a start by simply providing a heart-warming thank you message upon the successful completion, reassuring your buyer that they’ve made the correct decision to buy from you. Next, set up an automated email response that confirms the order along with a receipt and invoice, to indicate you are a professional organisation worth trusting.
After the order has arrived, proceed to follow up with your customer by asking them about the buying experience. For example, do they have any suggestions for improvements? What may feel intuitive to you may not reflect your customers’ preferences. Without conducting in-house research, you’ll never uncover opportunities to improve and increase conversions.
Moreover, by following up with your customer, you demonstrate that you care about them. Your empathetic approach will help to win the trust of consumers, developing those who were previously unsure about your business into lifelong customers.
5. Conduct Analysis for Trust Weak Spots and Apply Findings
Conducting follow-ups with your customers isn’t the only method you should be employing to get a handle on why some customers are failing to trust your website when it comes to online purchases. In this regard, extensive reporting and analytics tools are your friend in identifying customer trust weak spots.
For instance, by using these tools, you can uncover the proportion of sales that emanate from repeat customers, discover where transactions become stuck in your sales funnel, and evaluate the impact of your checkout design on conversions.
Also, utilise tools such as SafeCharge’s Theme Editor to A/B test your checkout page. Finding the right balance of trust indicators and frictionless payment could significantly increase the number of successful conversions.
Finally, make use of advanced online performance tracking through solutions such as SafeCharge’s Control Panel. Insightful reporting allows you to perform analytical deep dives on elements including risk factors (such as fraud) and financial data while uncovering opportunities to boost conversions.
All the tips I’ve mentioned above are important to apply into your online business in order to gain customer trust. If you need help in applying them or would like to learn more about building trust with your online customers, feel free to contact me to discuss your business options in private.
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