9 ways to build trust and 3x conversions on your e-commerce store


Back in the early days of the internet there was a trust issue. Consumers were extremely hesitant to purchase something through this new technology since they didn’t know who they were actually purchasing from. 

Over the past few decades, internet technology, website design and the amount of brands selling online have grown, enabling ~12% of all retail sales ($146 Billion in Q1 2020), to occur online.

However, according to research conducted by Baymard, today there is still a large trust issue with ~5%* of visitors leaving a site without purchasing due to trust.

This is a huge amount of lost revenue that can be prevented. If you could add an extra 5% onto a website conversion it would triple the average conversion rate from 2.5% to 7.5%. Just imagine tripling your sales….

So, now that we have an idea of the impact trust can have on your bottom line, let’s look at ways to improve it. Fortunately, all these actions are within your control and can be done relatively easily. 


1. Have professional product imagery and videos

This sounds simple but it can’t be overstated. Professional images and videos make a HUGE difference. Make sure yours are high quality.

There is a famous story of higher quality images helping Airbnb get traction. Trying to work out why some New York City rentals were getting more bookings than others, the founders noted that some apartments had very low quality images (taken on pre-iPhone camera phones). They decided to get professional images taken of the apartments and saw a 2-3x increase in conversion. Just from the imagery…..

High quality images can elevate the product and make it aspirational. For example, Yeti does a great job of this, showing their products both in a studio and real world environment. The studio environment (with a white background) allows consumers to imagine how they would use the product while the environment shots enable the brand to give suggestions on how they think it can be used.

Figure 1. Product page of Yeti.


2. Highlight your website’s security so consumers can see it.

59% of consumers said they would stop doing business with a site if it had lost it’s secure connection, even temporarily.

SSL and TSL software secures a website by using encryption to enable consumers to put information into your site (like payment details) with the knowledge it can’t be intercepted by a third party.

You can see if a site has a secure connection if there is a padlock by the URL.

Figure 2. A secure connection is shown with the padlock to the left of the website address.

This extra security should be made obvious to consumers.

Blue Fountain Media saw conversions increase by 37% when they included a VeriSign Trusted certificate.

Figure 3. The VeriSign Trusted symbol, which increased conversions by 37%.

Baymard conducted research with consumers to see which symbols (security, trust, or homemade by the website) had the biggest impact.

Security symbols (like Norton) were the most impactful, with Trust symbols (Google Trusted Store, BBB accredited business) also making a difference. However, even made up symbols were seen as positive among consumers.

 Figure 4. Baymard research on which symbols had the biggest impact on trust: https://baymard.com/blog/perceived-security-of-payment-form.


3. Have quick load times on pages

According to Akami a 1 second delay in page loading can affect conversion rate by as much as 7%.

Google Pagespeed Insights is a great tool to see how fast your site is.  Importantly, it also gives insights into what can be done to improve site performance; for example, resizing specific images or removing unused Javascript.


4. Make contact info easily accessible 

To build further trust with the consumer, make it easy for them to interact with the team.

Many consumers will want to ask questions about the product (especially if it is a high ticket item), or simply have reassurance that there is a way to speak to someone in the future if an issue does arise.

Contact details (email, phone if possible and chat) should be made easily accessible on the site, not buried deep in pages that consumers will have to spend time discovering.

There are a number of reports that highlight the impact of having chat available on the website, with 79% of consumers saying it impacts their buying decision.

Fightcamp has done a great job implementing these details. On every page of the site you can scroll to the bottom and find a phone number (with available hours), an email address and a live chat function.

Figure 5. The footer of Fightcamp’s site showing the ways to contact the team.


5. Have social proof

Enable reviews on products(positive and negative)

Power Reviews states that 95% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase and having reviews visible to consumers can increase conversions by as much as 4x.

Reviews allow consumers to get a sense of the product from their peer group (people they can relate to), meaning they don’t have to just take the word of the team making the product about how great it is.

Backcountry.com does a great job of leveraging reviews on their product pages. 

They put some high level info from reviews (score and # of reviews) above the fold to give some info quickly, while also including the ability to click through to more detailed reviews below the fold. 

Figure 6. Backcountry.com product page. Above the fold.

Each review goes to great length to build trust, be relatable and communicate useful info. 

All reviews have the name of the reviewer (helping to show it is not fake), how often the reviewer has used the item (giving confidence that their opinion can be trusted), a date the review was submitted (to show it is relevant), the rough height and weight of the reviewer (to make it relatable) and the ability to write long form content and add pictures to improve site content. All of these build trust in the reviewer but also the website via proxy.

Figure 7. A review on Backcountry.com.

Highlight press features

Like reviews allow consumers to build trust with a site by understanding the opinions of their peers, press features give confidence to consumers by aligning the website with brands they already trust.

Having logos of the media establishments that have mentioned your product front and center enables your site to leverage the trust the media brand has built.

Peel does this very well, bringing press logos above the fold and tying them visually to the product. Everytime a consumer sees the product they immediately have a sense of trust from the media brands.

Figure 8. A product page on buypeel.com


6. Link to social pages

Enabling consumers to easily access your social pages has multiple benefits.

If you have a large following on social pages (Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) it can build trust by showing the consumer that others want to stay connected with your brand.

If the consumer becomes a follower on a social media channel it has the added benefit of allowing you to remarket to them, increasing LTV and lowering UA costs. 

Adding social channel links to the bottom of your page, like Backcountry.com has done in Figure 9, is easy to do with most Shopify themes; you can enable it with just a few clicks.

Figure 9. Backcountry.com footer with links to social channels.


7. Accept all major forms of payment

According to FIS 44% of consumers use Paypal, meaning that all websites should provide at least two forms of payment to ensure consumers are able to use their preferential payment method.

Fortunately, this is easier than ever with services like Stripe and Shopify Payments that enable you to add multiple payment options to your checkout flow with a few clicks.

Consumers now even have the ability to have the system recognize them and automatically fill in their payment and shipping details if they have used the Shopify payment flow before. 

Figure 10. Shopify Payment flow with multiple payment options.


8. Have returns and shipping info in a prominent position

66% of consumers read the return policy before purchasing, highlighting just how important it is to the purchasing flow. Hence, it should be easily accessible to consumers.

Zappos, a company so proud of their service they added it to their logo, is a great example of return and shipping policies done right, and how they have even made their policies a sales tool. 

They added a link to their Shipping & Return Policy in the footer of every page. They highlight their free shipping and 24/7 customer service in the title of the Shipping & Return Policy page and, as a bonus, they pin their customer support number at the top of every page on their site.

This all works together to give consumers comfort that if something goes wrong with their order, there is a way to resolve it easily. 

Figure 11. Zappos Shipping & Return Policy page: https://www.zappos.com/c/shipping-and-returns


9. Humanize your store

Many consumers can lose trust in a site if it is not clear who is behind it. If you can show the consumer there are, in fact, humans they can relate to, in charge of making sure the website runs as expected, it will go a long way to building trust.

An “About Us” page is a great way to communicate this and build trust. 

Unbound leverages their “About Us” page well. They use the opportunity to tell the background story of the business while showing pictures of the team, along with some personal details about where they are from, their role in the company and their favorite product.

After reading the page, consumers can now relate to the team and know they are confident enough in their products and processes that they are willing to put their names on them, giving  a sense of accountability.

Figure 12. The About Us page of Unbound.


Are you an e-commerce site looking to access capital to grow? We’d love to help! Come over here and say 👋 to the team by adding your email address to the bottom of the page.

* The average cart abandonment rate is ~70%. Of the consumers that abandon their cart roughly 60% leave due to reasons that fall into the ‘I was just browsing’ category. Of the 40% remaining ~17% of users leave due to trust. This means that ~5% of website visitors (70% cart abandonment * 40% non-‘I was just browsing’ reasoning * 17% trust) leave due to trust. 

About the author

Andrew McCalister

Add comment

Leave a Reply