Editor´s note: This is a guest post by LeadwithJen.

A growing fraction of the transactions that people make everyday now take place online. This marketplace has earned massive appeal for its convenience over the years, making purchases as easy as a tap or a swipe away. However, as customers all over the world are beginning to realize, the ease of shopping online carries with it a tremendous amount of risk in terms of cyber theft and fraud. Therefore, for businesses to survive online, the first thing that they need to establish is trust. They have to develop a positive relationship with every potential customer as soon as they come across their website. Here are four essential things that online businesses need to get right, from the very first interactions to the checkout.

Your website is professional, make sure that it shows

No matter how efficient and honest an online business is, the first impression will definitely trump the game. Without the convenience of a face-to-face interaction, that concerns that customers have about the legitimacy of your business loom much larger. In this case, a website that looks ugly and unprofessional will turn visitors away before they even have the chance to explore deeper into the website.

This is where the value of professional website design kicks in. An article published by Entrepreneur points out that investing in a design that pays attention to high-quality graphics and navigation that’s user-friendly pays off right at the moment that the first visitor sees your website. Remember that they’re parting with real cash and revealing their credit card information to make a transaction while faced with just words and images on the screen—every element on that screen should then communicate to them that they can trust you enough to do this.

 

Connect with customers by “humanizing” your website

The abundance of technical information online makes e-commerce uniquely challenging – here, anything that people want to know about a product is literally available in an instant. What often makes the sale, however, is a customer’s real understanding of how the purchase would benefit them. A website that communicates well on this deeply human level succeeds not only in selling an item or two – they also encourage customer loyalty that’s based on trust.

A blog post by Menlo Coaching titled “Eliminating Jargon” suggests doing away with needlessly complicated words in everything found on your website. The formal or technical language that industries develop are useful only in communicating effectively with other professionals in the same field; audiences outside your field will only perceive this as impersonal. In order to make confident decisions about the products on offer on your website, what they require instead is language that they themselves use, and can therefore grasp.

 

Keep your website secure and communicate it

This almost goes without saying. Any concern that customers have about online transactions is valid, from identity theft to the leaking of sensitive information, there is an abundance of cases to prove that the internet isn’t exactly the safest place to buy stuff. As Jayson Demers points out in an article for Inc., turning a potential customer into an actual paying one requires going the extra mile in reassuring them that you won’t be compromising their sensitive information.

To accomplish this, make sure that visitors can easily find these elements on your site; a comprehensive privacy policy, certified seals from institutions like Trust Guard or the Better Business Bureau, a money-back guarantee, and most importantly, systems in place for a secure checkout.

 

Invest in producing relevant content, establishing an expertise

Among your touchpoints with your customers is the content that you produce. This includes not only your website copy and e-commerce blog, but your marketing emails as well. Without an effort to inspire trust through these, they will serve little purpose beyond information.

Customers appreciate honest, transparent content from your brand. This means talking not only about the merits of your services and products, but also the shortcomings that you are currently addressing. As customers learn more about you, they open up to you just as well.

A blog post by HubSpot nails down one important thing to remember in getting the word out about your business: not everyone is ready to buy right now. Recognizing this about your customers means that making the sale isn’t your only objective in the content you’re creating. Providing relevant information for when they’re ready to spend, making sure they’ll be able to make the most out of the money will be spending. Figure out the gaps in their knowledge that you fill with your experience and expertise. They’ll thank you for it with their money.

Author´s Bio: This is a guest post by LeadwithJen.

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This is a guest post written by one of our contributors.