We live in crazy times. It is possible for us to get anything we want using the Internet, but the web is like a huge marketplace full of strangers. There are thousands of companies out there selling a vast variety of items. For any general user, there is no easy way to determine who is trustworthy and who is not.
As web designers, it is our job to create a website that reassures the users and inspires them to trust the website. We need to create a design that makes the user comfortable, and we have to persuade him to perform the desired action. The success of the website depends heavily on how well we can convey the feeling of security, trust, competence and efficiency to the people visiting the online store. What should you do to create a website that inspires instinctive trust?
Be Clear and Truthful
Hidden costs or manipulative pricing of any kind turn off most online shoppers. By highlighting every aspect of your relationship with the customers clearly through bold design elements, you convey the message that you have nothing to hide. For instance, you can omit mentioning the shipping costs and fool a few users into buying your products, but in the long run this policy will crush your online credibility. Be transparent in your dealings and users will trust you.
Respect Design Conventions
As a designer, you may want to create an innovative design; in that case, don’t design a web store. Many of us may not want to admit, but any new online store needs to work in a way that closely resembles the conventions set by existing online stores. The users are most likely to trust a website that does what they expect a website to do. This article on SEOMoz illustrates these concepts very well.
If your online store doesn’t perform such tasks, the user may not be able to feel confident about your website. Use your creativity within the boundaries of conventions and user expectations to provide better experience.
Show your Social Footprint
If you are for real, you surely have presence on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Your presence on such networks not only makes you easier to relate to, but it also shows that you are in earnest. More importantly, you must make provision for customer reviews and encourage your users to post reviews for products.
Picture a visitor new to your site browsing a product. Absence of any reviews will make him feel that he is the only fool thinking of purchasing something from you. On the other hand, if he sees a good number of reviews, he trusts your ecommerce website and is comfortable with the idea of making a purchase.
Most users worry about how secure their credit card details are with you. Many online stores try to get around this problem by simply peppering their website with messages like this:[alert-success] Your details are totally secure with us, we use secure payment gateways and encryption [/alert-success]
But this not enough. A professional and polished website that oozes efficiency can make the user feel secure without you having to say it with words. The color scheme, the quality of the design and the content should work in tandem to create the impression of security.
Being human is a little difficult for a website, but you can make it seem friendly and human by conveying a personality. One of the simplest way of doing it is using stock photography – smiling people on a phone ready to help. But such cliche may not succeed in persuading savvy users. What you really need is the right combination of colors and copy: instead of drab content and glossy photos of products, use video product reviews or classy content that has a pleasant and individual tone.
To cultivate trust through your web design, you need to offer a smooth, secure and intuitive shopping experience. The quality of your websites should reflect the quality of the products and service. Transparency and social proof will help the ecommerce website become more likeable and trustworthy. However, in the end, it will be the quality of service offered by the online store that will determine how much it is trusted.