According to Google et al; Trust is one of the most important factors in cross-border ecommerce. Companies who do not emphasise trust, make far fewer international sales online than those who attempt to “win over” their customers.

There are several strategies that you can be employed to increase trust. Not one single strategy is going to maximise trust, you need to look at many different areas, depending on your product (or service) and the geography that you are operating in. However, here are some options that you may wish to consider.

Branding

Make sure your branding fits to your market and stay true to the core brand. Some companies choose to keep a consistent look and brand across all the sites, making only small adjustments to content to suit local conditions. Different styles are necessary, however, when operating in very different markets, such as Asia or Africa.

Preferred payments

Customers trust what they are used to, if they can pay in a way they are used to, theyare more likely to trust you. In Europe and America, card payments and PayPal are popular methods for purchasing online. However, this is not mirrored internationally. In India for example, COD (cash on delivery) is commonplace. This is where a customer order a product online, and then pays the courier once it is delivered. China too has a different model, preferring prepaid apps (suchs as WeChat) for ecommerce purchases.

If the only way you could pay for a product on a website was through a method you were not familiar with, would you trust it? Or would you look for an alternative elsewhere?

Trust symbols

Trust symbols (or ecommerce security logos) act as a third party endorsement. According to a Baynard study, the most trusted symbols in the US are Norton and McAfee. This is unsurprising, as these companies are synonymous with internet protection. Being certified by companies that are themselves well trusted is a powerful tool for increasing trust.

Reviews

If company endorsement is a good tool, peer endorsement is a construction company. People trust other people who they view as similar to them. The benefits of customer reviews are well documented, but still too many companies fail to take full advantage of them.

Google has recently changed their “trusted stores” program to “customer reviews”, so this is likely to play an even larget role in SEO too.

Be there, and be accessible

Make sure you are available to your customers. If customers feel as though you are absent, they will feel uncomfortable buying from you. Whether that is social media, online chat, email or phone. Make sure that if they want to contact you, they can.

It is also about the little things

Building trust is all about knowing your market and getting the details right. As with everything in ecommerce, it is about marginal gains. If you notice that competitors in target markets do something slightly differently, test to see if it will lead to a gain for your site.

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