Build trust and boost customer loyalty with these tips.
As an online retailer, your customers are your lifeblood, and maintaining their loyalty is essential to the success of your business.
Today, an exceptional customer experience (CX), coupled with complete brand transparency, will help you encourage customer loyalty while attracting new prospects to your store.
Transparency has become the ‘new normal’ in retail—a concept that you must apply across every channel and touchpoint, especially your online store.
If someone visits your online store, and something is difficult to understand, hard to navigate, or unclear, they’re likely to bounce off the page and surf into the arms of your competitor. Moreover, if someone invests in your products or service and finds out that you’ve withheld information or failed to deliver on a promise later down the line, you can kiss repeat customers goodbye.
To help ensure your online store is 100% transparent in every way, we’re going to look at five key areas you should consider.
Page design & hierarchy
Your web page design can have a significant impact on your online store’s level of transparency.
Why? Because if a potential customer visits your online store, and your page design is too busy, confusing, or flooded with unclear messaging, you will create confusion and hinder the customer experience.
Ninety-four percent of people say web design is the reason they mistrust a website. To prevent this from happening to you, consider these tips on web page design and hierarchy.
- To create a transparent, easy-to-navigate visual hierarchy, you should feature your main navigation bar at the top of every page in your online store, along with your branding (logo).
- Below your navigation bar, your main titles and subtitles should be bolded, clear, and easy to follow.
- Your main content should be displayed somewhere in the center of the page, balanced with concise blocks of text and visuals.
- Your social logos should appear near the bottom or at the side of each page, with the site map neatly added at the very bottom.
Online store web page design tips
- Always make simplicity and clarity the main priority. In an online store web design context, less is more. If any visuals or page elements hinder navigation or dilute any information, remove or rework them.
- Ensure every page of your online store is consistent in layout, color, and branding to offer a uniform, transparent experience.
- Use a cohesive mix of color on your pages—the kind that will resonate with the user. This guide to the psychology of color will help you in your efforts.
- Make sure that every one of your store’s pages is optimized for mobile screens. Using quality customizable eCommerce design templates will help you create a balanced, mobile-optimized web design.
Microcopy & content
Your web content will dictate how you communicate your brand values, processes, and products or services to your audience.
When creating content for your web pages, it’s important to be simple, conversational, and, most importantly, 100% accurate.
Your copy is a prime opportunity to tell your story and engage your customers while building a sense of trust. But, while most online store owners focus on their ‘about page’ story and product descriptions (rightly so), too many overlook their microcopy.
Microcopy refers to the small snippets of text that offer information or instruction on a web page. This may appear when a user hovers over an image or link, a pop-up window, a search bar, or any other relevant element.
By improving your microcopy and making it as honest and informational as possible, you will increase your transparency and engagement.
Here are some microcopy tips that will make your online store more transparent:
- Make sure that every piece of microcopy or content on your store’s pages is written in the same tone and voice throughout. This will make the user feel like they are having a conversation with your online store throughout their browsing experience.
- Try to use as much empathy as possible and always lead with the most important information.
- Prioritize facts and guidance over fluffy wording. Never use jargon—it will only hinder transparency.
- Always prompt a clearcut action at the end of your microcopy and never leave your customer wondering what to do next.
No: ‘This is what we’re all about.’
Yes: ‘Find out about who we are and view our latest products right here.’
Misleading brand or product images are among the biggest bugbears for today’s consumers. If you publish glossy yet inaccurate visuals on your eCommerce web page, you will lack transparency, which will have a negative impact on your brand image.
When selecting product images, in particular, you must focus on aesthetics and professionalism—but never at the cost of accuracy or authenticity.
Firstly, it’s vital to make sure that your products aren’t featured in front of a busy background. This makes your products or branding less digestible to the eye and takes the focus off what you’re trying to sell. Your customers might get the wrong perception of your product or service, causing confusion or disappointment when it arrives and making you appear less transparent.
Secondly, when you’re editing images for your online store, ensure that every major part of the product is visible to offer complete transparency and offer a panoramic insight into what you’re selling.
Last but not least, avoid playing with the brightness, tone, or color too much. If your image is alluring but inaccurately represents the real-life tone or color, you will run into brand-hindering issues further down the line.
Another important aspect of online store transparency is access to customer support. Eighty-four percent of US consumers state that customer support is one of the most essential factors when deciding whether to invest in a business.
If you make it easy for visitors to ask questions or interact with your brand, you will ensure your online store is 100% transparent while building trust.
Take the following measures to offer full transparency through your online support offerings:
- Add clearly labeled buttons and links to your customer service options on your ‘contact us’ page, along with your hours of operation and response times. You should also ensure that you have an inquiry form on-page.
- Create a comprehensive FAQ page populated with clear, concise information that covers information on all common issues or queries. Add instructional videos with relevant links to useful pages or resources where possible.
- Add an online chat facility equipped with autonomous chatbot-powered technology. To find out more about chatbots and their business-boosting powers, check out these four inspiring real-life examples.
Finally, we move onto social proof. By adding customer reviews and testimonials to your online store’s webpages, you will create a sense of transparency, build trust, boost brand credibility, and ultimately—prompt more people to invest in what you have to offer.
If you have top ratings from third-party review sites or receive glowing testimonials from past or existing customers, feature them on your online store pages, loud and proud (without hindering the design, of course).
On average, customer or client testimonials alone can boost sales by 18%.
While adding pieces of social proof to your store, you should also give your customers clear-cut opportunities to leave ratings, reviews, or testimonials. This will demonstrate that you’re open to receiving all feedback, which, in turn, will validate your existing reviews and testimonials.
“I find that when you open the door toward openness and transparency, a lot of people will follow you through.”—Kristen Gillibrand
Take the time to invest in these key areas of your online retail store, and you will make it 100% transparent. As a result, you will build brand trust, encourage customer loyalty, and boost your bottom line.