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Twelve website must haves to win over new customers

  • Opinion
  • January 13, 2016
  • Angelka Vegar
Twelve website must haves to win over new customers

When we spot a great new product online, we head to the company’s website to find out more about it and start considering purchase. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we all perform checks on the company. It makes sense that we want to make sure this company we haven’t dealt with before is trustworthy before punching in our credit card details. A great product alone isn’t going to instantly make us part with our hard-earned cash. We need to know who we’re buying from, that they’re reputable, and be assured we’ll receive the product and appropriate service.
 
So what things help us as online shoppers to tick the boxes? There’s some really simple, but extremely valuable, information that all online businesses can include on their website to help potential customers overcome that first barrier to buying online from a business new to them.
 
Here’s a list of 12 must haves for your online store to build trust, with examples from some of the most successful Storbie ecommerce stores. Cross these 12 things off the list and you’ll know you have a great basis for winning over new online shoppers.
 
1.      A detailed ‘about’ section that includes (but is definitely not limited to):
a.       What year your company was established in
b.      How many years overall experience you have
c.       Meet the team info - photos, descriptions, quirky facts, anything that adds personality to your business and website. Customers will be happy to know who they are buying from.
Husband and wife duo, Miles and Janet King, from Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese share a window into their tasty world, with detailed information about themselves, their farm, sheep, cheese-making team and processes.

2.       Full company contact details
This may seem like an obvious thing to have, but you'll be surprised how many websites don't list a physical address. You may think that because you only sell online, you don’t need to list an address. Wrong! Customers want to see that you have a physical address so they know that you’re legitimate, and in case they need to return any products. Remember to also include a phone number and contact email address. Rich Nutrients have made sure to include all three and a handy contact form. If you’re a small business and can’t be near a phone all the time, the easiest thing to do is set up a phone number via Skype with a voicemail. Skype will then email you when someone leaves a message and you can then call them back.

3.       Notable clients and testimonials
Display honest feedback from your customers to create an authentic insight into your products and services. You can ask customers for this feedback, whether they send it to you directly or post on a social platform such as Google+ or Facebook. You can also take the chance to show any recognisable companies and/or people that already trust you. Reading customer comments about Wellington jewellers The Village Goldsmith and seeing some of the big names they’ve worked with really helps to build their credibility and reputation for extraordinary products and service.

4.       Delivery information and returns policy
Two things that every shopper looks for to be sure that their product will actually arrive, and whether they can send it back - make this information super-easy to find and simple to understand. The Hammock Shop explains the delivery process in detail, offers guarantees on their products and a returns policy — nice!

5.       Details of your premises
If you also run a brick-and-mortar shop, let everyone know - take a video walk-through, show pictures, describe your store to entice people to come in (and purchase!). CSA Surfboards do a great job of this, with shop photos, workshop videos, and enticing surf beaches on their doorstep.

6.       Strong social media presence
If you're popular on one or more social networks, show it! Encourage people to join you on these networks and offer them a benefit of doing so, for example, exclusive sneak peeks of new products, and fun competitions. Being on social media means you aren’t afraid to share information in the public domain, and allow other people to do the same. Love From Friday have links to their Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts in multiple places throughout the site and also encourage people to sign up to their newsletter to stay updated on new products and specials.

7.       Regularly updated blog/news
A regularly updated blog/news section can show you're passionate about what you do, you actively want to provide useful information for your customers, and it means your site doesn’t look stale. Inspired Jewellery have been blogging for 8 years, their posts range from interesting jewellery-related articles written by the team, to showcasing the latest engagement ring designs and sharing press features in Forbes!

8.       Any mentions of your company in popular press publications/media outlets
Press features show that you’re recognised by the media as the go-to experts in your industry and help build your credibility. Wilshi - The Proposal Ring have a raft of press mentions, especially from when their product was launched. They share videos and quotes on their homepage, including one from Dan Carter, their first customer!

9.       Associations, accreditations, certifications, qualifications and regulations
Not just a list of long words - it’s important to show you’re qualified, reputable and knowledgeable in your field. Le’Esscience make sure to tell customers they’re buying “100% natural & vegan products” from a “qualified Clinical Aromatologist with a certificate in AromaScience, NZQA recognised qualification, fully approved by the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA)”.

10.   Show off your other more established sites
If you've launched a new site but have had successes with other more established sites, say so - people like to know you have a reliable track record. Rocket Products also display their Waikare Kitchen brand and provide a link to that site for customers to find out more.

11.   Terms & conditions and privacy policy
Internet sites that gather information about their visitors are expected to have a privacy policy which lets visitors know how their information will be distributed and managed. This should be written in plain English so customers know what they’re signing up for! Luckily for Storbie users, we have set up a default privacy policy which you can use or change as necessary. Likewise you may have terms & conditions which customers need to be aware of or explicitly agree to in order to purchase from you. Naked Vapour, who sell e-cigarettes, have both these items displayed in the footer of their site.

12.   Speak in a candid voice
Remember you're not speaking in front of an audience, you're speaking to one individual at a time. A genuine story helps win people over. Here’s a great example from The Stitchsmith.

 Angelka Vegar is in charge of marketing and communications at Storbie (formerly Smallfish), a New Zealand company that builds online stores. Storbie was named as a Rising Star in the Deloitte 2015 Fast 50 Awards.

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