Trust me, I'm an e-commerce retailer

7 min read
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You know you can be trusted. Everyone who knows you knows you can be trusted. But what about all those who don’t?

You may have invented non-tangling cables, clothes that render the wearer invisible or a solar-powered jetpack. What’s more, they actually work. You put the finishing touches to your website, sit back and wait for the orders to flood in.

But if visitors to your site don’t have at least a moderate amount of trust in your business, you may have to keep that champagne on ice. In e-commerce, everything hinges on trust.

Of course, there’s a range of relatively simple things you can do to enhance your e-commerce reputation and make your business exude trust and integrity. You’re probably doing them already. Quick fixes like:

Have a good storefront

First impressions count, so make sure your website has a strong, uncluttered design and easy navigation.

Sweat the small stuff

Remember, retail is detail. So pay attention to spelling and grammar. If you don’t know your colons from your apostrophes, find someone who does.

Be your own mystery shopper

Visit your website regularly to make sure everything stays fresh and up to date.

From secure payment methods to social media integration, there are many other tricks you can implement to reassure visitors. But, increasingly, the most important weapon in your trust armory is a global review platform by the name of Trustpilot.

Two women looking at each other's phones

The people customers believe most are other customers

The Trustpilot logo is becoming a familiar sight on websites selling everything from stationery to auto parts. In fact, it’s used by over 180,000 businesses around the world and has published over 10 million consumer reviews since it was founded in 2007. Its growth is driven by one truth: that people are hugely reassured by the opinions and experiences of others.

Trustpilot is like the Tripadvisor for e-commerce

Review being shared on a furniture website

TrustPilot is a third-party site that allows companies and customers to register and post reviews. In much the same way that TripAdvisor works for holidays and experiences, customers can go on Trustpilot and rate your products and services out of five stars and leave an additional comment.

It’s helpful for customers – and all the evidence shows that it’s absolutely vital for online retailers.

According to a 2015 Bright Local survey, 92% of consumers now read online reviews for local businesses (up from 88% in 2014), and consumers are forming opinions about businesses quicker than ever – with 40% suggesting they only need to read 1-3 reviews (vs. 29% in 2014).

The same survey found that a staggering 97% of 18-34 year-olds read online reviews to find out about a local business. Even amongst the over-55s, the least active age group for searching online, the figure was 90%.

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about …”

And that, as Oscar Wilde said, is not being talked about. So as an e-business, it makes sense for you to ask customers to leave a review.

According to Trustpilot’s 'How Consumers Use Reviews Today' report, while 14% of consumers are ‘very likely’ to write an unsolicited review, that figure more than doubles to 29% if they’re prompted to submit a review by the company.

The report discovered other salient facts, such as:

  • 19% of consumers read reviews before they visit a company website
  • Most consumers (about 57%) are using search engines to find those reviews
  • 79% of consumers want to see companies respond to negative reviews
  • 89% check reviews at least sometimes when they shop
  • 47% of consumers check online reviews while on a brand’s website, before putting items in their cart. In other words, consumers are checking to see what previous customers think of products while they are actively shopping

Perhaps the most telling statistic is that overall, retailers who display ratings on their sites see conversion rates rise by 270%. 

Trust. You can’t put a price on it.

Person leaving a company review on smartphone

You can’t guarantee that all reviews of your fabulous product will be positive (‘Your invisibility cloak was useless. My court hearing is next week.’). But by responding to the review, where appropriate offering a fix or a refund, it shows you’re interested in your customers and what they have to say. Handling a fix or the refund process competently is crucial to building trust with the consumer.  

Just as importantly, no matter what people might say in surveys, scientific research published in the Association for Psychological Science indicates that people favor products with more reviews, regardless of the star rating.

In fact, people are actually more likely to buy products in the 4.0 to 4.7-star range than products with a perfect five-star score.

Alternatives to Trustpilot

With over 500,000 new reviews posted on their community website every month, Trustpilot is the leading global online review community for online shopping. But it’s not the only one. Other names – including some slightly odd ones – include FeefoYotpoBazaarvoicePowereviews and more.

But in terms of scope, growth and, yes, trust, an e-commerce retailer would have to think twice before dismissing Trustpilot.