Study after study of online shopping behavior has repeatedly confirmed what you already know intuitively: When consumers reach your e-commerce site for the first time, they expect to find some sort of independent verification that your company is reputable and trustworthy.
New visitors might scan your site for testimonials, for example, to reassure themselves that they don’t need to be worried about doing business with you. They might even look for a ticker on the page confirming that your company has a large Twitter or Facebook following. These forms of social proof can help your retail business quickly establish trust with consumers.
Trust Icons Have Become a Must-Have for Online Retailers
Then there are trust icons — i.e., those little logos, seals and badges that let a visitor know your site has been vetted by a third party they know and trust.
Research indicates that when it comes to credibility-boosting assets, the trust icon has become a must-have for any online retailer.
A study by Actual Insights, for example, found that 76 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a site that has trust logos over one that doesn’t. In fact, 61 percent of consumers have left an e-commerce page without making a purchase specifically because the site didn’t have any trust logos.
OK, you might be thinking, "If they’re that valuable, then we should load up our pages with trust icons, right?" Not so fast.
Can You Have Too Many Trust Icons?
Another important data point to come out of the Actual Insights study was this one: 76 percent of respondents said they’ve made the decision not to buy from a site because they didn’t recognize its trust icons.
In other words, yes, you should include trust icons on your e-commerce site — but only those from recognized third-party sources or icons that are relevant to your site. Including six or seven security icons probably won’t help build more trust than simply going with one or two from the major players like Norton and McAfee.
In fact, including too many icons could hurt you because the lesser-known companies’ icons might make it less likely that your customers will even see the Norton logo they would have recognized.
So, which trust icons should you prioritize?
Verified Authorized Dealer: The Often-Overlooked Trust Icon You Should Be Using
When you decide to add trust icons to your e-commerce site, obviously you have a lot of different categories of credibility you can establish. For example:
- accredited and trustworthy business;
- secure and encrypted payment transactions;
- virus-free site;
- data privacy best practices; and
- established and trusted shipping partners.
If you don’t want to clutter your web pages with too many logos of varying sizes, colors and shapes — and make them all so small your customers have difficulty reading them — you can still tell your company’s credibility story with just a couple of trust logos.
In fact, you can substitute a lot of these standard trust icons with one often-overlooked logo, one that isn’t even covered in Forbes’ lengthy review on the importance of trust icons: a clickable “Verified Authorized Dealer” badge.
When you’re able to add a trust badge to your e-commerce pages alerting shoppers that your business is an authorized reseller of the product, you can allay several concerns at once.
You’re telling the shopper that, yes, the product is authentic and not a fake. You’re signaling that your company’s customer service, shipping practices and return policy have all earned the official seal (literally!) of the manufacturer. And at the same, you’re also implicitly telling the customer that your company meets all of those business standards communicated by those other trust icons — e.g., site security, data protection, accredited business, etc. Why else would the product’s manufacturer allow you to place its seal of approval on your site?
On that last note, however, it’s important that your Verified Authorized Dealer trust icon be clickable, and that when users click on it they see a pop-up confirming that, yes, your company has a working relationship with — and the trust of — the product’s manufacturer. This can be a great tool to establish trust with your customers and separate your brand from the nonauthorized retailers that might also be selling the same product.
As Forbes has reported, trust icons can directly lead to increased sales. Therefore, if the manufacturers whose product lines you sell have such icons, ask them for those assets. If they don’t, talk to them about how implementing such a program will benefit you both.
Andrew Schydlowsky is founder and CEO of TrackStreet, a minumum advertised price (MAP) policy monitoring and enforcement company.