As an e-commerce business, it is vital that you build trust with your customers. You will do this through your brand. What is a brand? It’s you’re name, but it’s also much more than that. It’s what your business represents and the feeling that customers instantly get when they think of you.
Here’s why your brand needs to be trustworthy:
In the marketing world, there is a common acronym, AIDA, which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. For today’s post, let’s pretend that I own an online company that manufactures and sells custom claw-foot bathtubs, called Old Timey Tubs. Some awareness will already be present for my customers–they know about bathtubs–but they may not be aware of my specific company.
Now the purpose of this post in not to give you all of the ins and outs of AIDA (that will be for another day and another post), so let’s just assume that I have conducted a successful Facebook and email ad campaign. I’ve let my prospects know how fabulous my tubs are and how many celebrities LOVE to soak in them. My prospects are now aware of my brand and interested in my tubs. It’s time to turn my prospects into customers.
Turning Prospects Into Customers
In order to do that, I need the prospects to desire one of my tubs so much, that they take action and purchase one of my fabulous claw-foot bathtubs for their own homes. But before my imaginary customers--and your very real customers–can move into the Desire and Action phase, there is an element that’s absolutely critical to the transaction.
And that element is TRUST.
The Importance of Trust
The best ad campaign in the world can’t help your business if you don’t have a trustworthy reputation. In fact, it may hurt you by sending your prospects to the closest, reliable competitor. If I am successful at creating interest and desire in my prospects, but my brand is not built on trust, then my customer will satiate their desire by purchasing a tub from a different bathtub company–one that they trust.
And all of the hard work and money that I invested creating awareness and interest, will benefit my competitor!
Consider the purchases that you make every day. Would you buy from a company that you don’t trust? Chances are, you only frequent the stores and websites that you trust–whether you are aware of it or not.
A new restaurant recently opened in my city. I had heard of this restaurant before (it has multiple locations) and I was anxious to try its food. But before I had the opportunity to make a purchase, this restaurant was hit with a couple of highly publicized outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. To this day, I have not eaten at that restaurant. I just can’t bring myself to do it because I no longer trust the restaurant to give me safe food. Think about that for a moment. I am aware of the restaurant. I am interested in the food they serve. But I can’t move to desiring the food and purchasing it because they’ve lost my trust.
A Trustworthy Brand Is Vital to E-Commerce
The importance of a trustworthy brand is vital, no matter your industry. If you’ve paid attention to the news recently, I’m sure you’re aware of the recalls and emission scandals in the auto industry. These previously highly-regarded brands have lost stock value and jobs. And the full impact of the lost trust is yet to be seen.
Don’t let this happen to your business.
Specifically, as an internet business, it’s incredibly easy for prospects to check reviews before doing business with you. So it’s imperative that you have favorable reviews. A prospect will find you more trustworthy when a community of others tells them they have had positive experiences with your products and customer service. The opposite is also true, of course. If your business racks up complaints and 1-star reviews, your bottom line will feel it all too soon.
How-to Build A Trustworthy Brand
How can you build a trustworthy brand for your business? Here are three suggestions to get you started:
#1: Know Your Value
Know what value you and your business bring to the world. This can be serious and deep or more simple and lighthearted. The Red Cross is a great example of a brand that is instantly recognizable for the value they offer to the world. They are known for giving humanitarian aid in times of crisis. But delivering humanitarian aid is not the only way to bring value. For my example, I believe that Old Timey Tubs brings beauty and nostalgia to the world.
#2: Be True to Your Values
You must be true to suggestion #1! This sounds simple, but it’s where many brands falter. If my value is bringing beauty and nostalgia to the world, then I shouldn’t offer modern vinyl wrap-around showers. Doing so would both confuse my customers and cheapen my brand. Don’t try to be everything to everyone–you’ll only end up being nothing. Know your brand. And be true to it.
Offer quality products and services. My tubs must be of the highest quality possible for my price-point. Don’t ever kid yourself that you can get away with cutting corners. Facebook pages, Twitter, emails, blogs, public forums, and more all give your customers a soapbox to either love you or hate you… and spread the word.
These are just the beginning steps to creating a trustworthy brand. Once you are clear and dedicated to the value you bring to the table, and have chosen quality products and services, you are well on your way to building trust with your customers.
Just remember, as difficult as it can be to build trust, it is remarkably easy to destroy it. But if you represent yourself and your business with integrity, you’ll have life-long customers.