Average Order Value, Conversion Rate or Revenue Per Visitor – What Should You Track?

Have you met Richard, the eCommerce entrepreneur? This is the story of how Richard found the perfect eCommerce metric to track and measure his eCommerce performance.

Richard runs an online store selling two kinds of water bottles – a generic item worth $1 and a premium designer edition worth $100. As a data-driven marketer, Richard decided to look towards analytics.

Then it hit him.

The analytics universe is full of curiously named metrics. Which of these metrics should he track over time to measure his eCommerce performance?

That should be easy, Richard figured. He’d reach out to the experts.

Expert 1: Go For Conversion Rate

A conversion is any desirable activity performed by a visitor on your site. From a revenue perspective, conversion is checkout. Conversion rate(CR) is simply

Conversion Rate = Number of Checkouts/Number of Unique Visitors

If you have an average 1000 visitors to your site on any given day, and 50 of them become customers your conversion rate is 5%.

Optimizing for conversion rate will make more visitors into paying customers.

How does it help?

  • Converting more of your current visitors is more cost effective than acquiring new customers
  • It essentially gives more revenue at the same cost

Since you are already paying in some way to acquire traffic to your website — through PPC, SEO, Email — it would be a great idea to convert more of those visitors into customers. It brings you more revenue for each dollar spent on acquiring traffic.

It made sense.

But Richard wasn’t convinced. He had once conducted an A/B test on the product page and this is what resulted.

Conversion Rate Optimization Table

Overall conversions increased by 10% and his website that used to convert 1100 customers started converting 1210 visitors.

It was a moment of triumph.

And it lasted exactly a moment.

Later analysis showed that revenues had actually dropped because the conversions among high paying customers had declined.

Unsatisfied, Richard reached out to Expert #2

Expert 2: Without Doubt, Average Order Value is What You Should Be Tracking

Average Order Value(AOV) is just what it says. Total revenue/Number of Checkouts. It’s a direct indicator of what’s actually happening on the profits front.

Average Order Value (AOV) = Total Revenue/Number of Conversions

In the last A/B test he conducted, optimizing for conversion rate alone had left Richard susceptible to the blind spot — the average order value.

Average Order Value Table

Despite the increase in conversion rate, Average Order Value had dropped by more than a dollar, resulting in an overall decrease in revenue.

How does it help?

  • Comparing AOV against Cost Per Order gives a great idea of the profits you make on each order. Consider your Cost Per Order (shipping costs etc.) is $1 and your AOV is $10, giving you a profit of $9 per order. By increasing AOV by 10% to $11, you stand to gain an additional profit of $1 per order.

Here’s a statistic to remember: AOV in United States during 2014 Q3 was $72

This was great news.

At this point I should tell you that Richard didn’t go alone to Expert 2. Tom, Richard’s best friend since that last A/B test hiccup, was there too.

Doubting Thomas asked,

“What if we successfully increase our AOV by bumping up the minimum order value for free shipping, but less people buy as a result? Our revenue could take a hit, harming Richard and his profits while still showing a higher AOV.”

Tom had a point, Richard thought. It was similar to what happened with his last test. There he had forgotten to take into account AOV and suffered. Tracking for AOV alone could make him blind towards conversion rate resulting in a revenue sheet like this:

Revenue Sheet

There had to be something better. A metric that combined both Conversions and AOV to give the whole picture.

Hoping for better, Richard and Tom reached out to Expert 3.

Expert 3: Track Revenue Per Visitor, Dodge The Rest

Revenue Per Visitor(RPV) is deceptively simple. It tells you how much revenue each unique visitor is driving.

RPV = Total Revenue/Total Unique Visitors

Why is it so potent?

The trick is in understanding RPV from another perspective.

We already know that

Total Revenue = AOV x Number of Conversions (checkouts)

So we can rewrite the RPV equation this way:

RPV = (AOV x Conversions)/Total Unique Visitors

and since (Conversions/Total Unique Visitors) = Conversion Rate

RPV = AOV x Conversion Rate

The great thing about the RPV metric is that it combines both AOV and Conversion Rate.

What’s important for any eCommerce business?

Revenue.

For revenues, first you need traffic. Once you are able to attract traffic, increasing revenue is two dimensional process:

  • Convert more visitors into paying customers (Conversion Rate)
  • Increase customer-spend per conversion (AOV)

RPV involves both these dimensions leaving no blind spots.

Avinash Kaushik recommends using an ‘actionability test’ before choosing any metric to track. The idea is that any metric you track should help you take definitive actions to correct/improve business.

Does RPV pass the actionability test?

With a crisp dollar certificate.

Dollar Certificate

If there’s a drop in RPV, it could be due to

  • A sudden increase in visitors without any buying intent (drop in conversion rate): Check if there has been any recent marketing activity that brought a lot of unqualified visitors with low buying intent. Use segmentation to understand what channels are bringing the right traffic.
  • Customers are buying less of high-value goods and more of low-value goods (drop in AOV): Consider using a recommendation engine. Read the article I’ve linked to under the section above titled ‘AOV’ for 8 quick ways to improve AOV.

Touting RPV as a very useful metric to track does not take anything away from metrics like Conversion Rate or Average Order Value. It’s important to understand that metrics simply show symptoms, and different symptoms become visible through different metrics. RPV is simply one that helps you see the bigger picture.

Although it’s a lot of metric talk to take in, Richard feels he’s found what he was looking for – one metric that he could keep track of to measure his eCommerce success.

He thanked Expert 3 and got ready to leave.

Wait!”, Tom had more doubts.

Why Use Unique Visitors and Not Total Visitors?

Expert 3 cleared his throat and explained.

Of all first time visitors to an eCommerce site, 99% won’t make a purchase. The typical buying cycle involves a visitor first visiting your site to check out the products, leaving to compare prices elsewhere, consulting a few friends, reading reviews and eventually a trip back to your site for the purchase (if at all a purchase decision is made). There could be even more steps involved here.

Using total visitors (unique and returning) bloats up your metric denominator considerably, resulting in small figures and giving you less credit than you otherwise deserve.

This is not to say it’s a bad practice, just sub-optimal. (In fact, if for some reason, you are getting many orders from repeat buyers it might even make sense to use total visitors instead of unique visitors.)

Using ‘unique visitors’, on the other hand, paints a real-world picture of what’s happening with your users, who are, of course, unique.

With this explanation, Doubting Thomas went poof, and Richard went back wiser.

What’s Your Doubting Thomas Wondering?

What metric have you found most useful to track? Share it with our readers and us.

We’ll soon be coming out with a brilliant guide on understanding all the right metrics, including the bad-ass ‘Customer Lifetime Value”.

Stay Tweeted @VWO

The post Average Order Value, Conversion Rate or Revenue Per Visitor – What Should You Track? appeared first on VWO Blog.

Why Digital Marketing Podcasts Belong in Your Learning Routine

woman-listening-to-podcast

Marketers are always looking for new and efficient ways to learn. As a marketer, I’ve recently begun working podcasts into my ongoing learning routine. I’ll admit, I resisted for awhile (which was dumb). I think it’s because I have an aversion to books on tape/CD, which comes from being forced to listen to children’s books on repeat during annual family trips up and down the Oregon coast.

A realization hit me one day when I was reading entertainment “news” and taking a quiz to find out my spirit animal. I spend an exorbitant amount of time consuming a lot of content-light when I’m on the go, when I should be using that time to keep up to speed with what’s going on in my industry.

Do any of you feel the same way?

What Makes A Good Podcast?

For me, that answer is partially dependent on what setting I’m in while consuming the content. If I’m driving to work I enjoy listening to a podcast that offers quick tips and news highlights. However, If I’m walking my dog or sitting at my desk, I prefer listening to interviews or more in-depth analysis of marketing topics.

Ultimately though, the format is not as important as the foundation. A good podcast should have the same elements as any other form of content marketing and should answer the following questions:

  • What is it? Defining the topic that will be covered and the people involved.
  • How does it help the listener? Provide valuable information that helps solve a marketing problem that you may have.
  • What’s the next step? Encourage the reader to listen to more podcasts, implement the tips learned and then come back for more or visit other content marketing assets created by the podcaster.

Expert podcaster Jerod Morris believes that there are four elements that create a remarkable podcast:

  • Authenticity
  • Usefulness
  • Sustainability
  • Profitability

My (Current) Top 5 Favorite Digital Marketing Podcasts

Understanding what makes a good podcast is important because you can very easily begin going down the rabbit hole and spend an entire hour listening to information that gets you nowhere. Below are some of my favorite digital marketing podcasts:

  1. This Old Marketing Podcast: Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose have great banter and provide a healthy mix of content marketing smarts and lively discussions about the latest news.
  2. Marketing Smarts: MarketingProfs’ podcast features interviews with some of the top marketing experts in their fields. The in-depth interviews provide a real look at the subjects and their journey to success.
  3. The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast: Jason Miller of LinkedIn has only aired two episodes of his new podcast, but I’m already a fan. The way that Jason approaches interviewing his guests incorporates a lot of humor and natural conversation.
  4. Online Marketing Made Easy: Amy Porterfield is so easy to listen to. When she’s talking about social media, lead generation or content marketing, it feels like she’s speaking directly to me which makes it hard to tear myself away from listening.
  5. Unpodcast: Alison Kramer and Scott Stratten’s podcast is reminiscent of your favorite morning radio talk show, filled with humor, awkward tangents and oh yeah, marketing!

Best & Worst Times for Listening to Podcasts

Unfortunately, I now want to listen to podcasts all the time. Through a series of trial and error, I was able to uncover some of the best and worst times to integrate podcasts into your routine:

Best Times for Listening to Podcasts

  • When you’re sitting in seemingly endless traffic: hook up your smartphone to your car stereo and you’re good to go.
  • Hitting the pavement or the treadmill at the gym: catching up on Keeping up with the Kardashians can wait.
  • Walking your pet: I’ve found that listening to a podcast while walking my Puggle is better than music.
  • During your lunch hour: It’s finally nice out, so I’ve been enjoying spending some time taking a walk outside, listening to digital marketing podcasts and soaking up some sun.

Worst Times for Listening to Podcasts

  • While trying to write emails, marketing content or your name: podcasts and writing are not a good mix.
  • When you’re in an important meeting: this one should be obvious right?
  • When you’re reading a news article, book or pretty much anything: unfortunately you won’t retain much from either.

What Are Your Go-To Podcasts?

We asked, and you answered! Thank you to the members of our online community that shared your favorite podcasts with us. Below are some of the responses:

Amber Jones: Oh yes, I love marketing podcasts! They let me “tune in” and learn something new while I continue to be productive. My faves are Why I Social (hosted by Christopher Barrows), iSocialTalks (hosted by Brian Fanzo), and the UnMarketing podcast (hosted by Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer)

Craig Johnson: Marketing Smarts and HBR Ideacast

Doug & Emily Allison: Home Business Profits with Ray Higdon!

If you didn’t have a chance to tune-in earlier, now is your time to share. What are your favorite digital marketing podcasts and what keeps you coming back?

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

Image: Shutterstock


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Why Digital Marketing Podcasts Belong in Your Learning Routine | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Why Digital Marketing Podcasts Belong in Your Learning Routine appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Marketing Roundup: Resources, Trends and Case Studies to Prep for #BMA15

BMA 2015 Speakers

For nearly 900 B2B marketers, this week will bring a cornucopia of ideas, insights and networking opportunities to the BMA National conference in Chicago. There’s a lot going on in the B2B marketing space from the increase in humanization of business marketing content to the application of big data, the impact of video, mobile and ecommerce.

The need to innovate isn’t owned by B2B marketers of course – CMOs are looking hard at differentiating their marketing and digital marketers are always looking ahead to see what marketing trends are worth exploring, experimenting with and adopting.

Making sense of it all takes time, so as part of my prep for the event, I’ve curated a nice mix of helpful resources, thoughts about future B2B marketing trends and even some case studies.

b2b marketing infographic

B2B Marketing Trends, Research and Statistics:

2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America

B2B Marketing Strategy

B2B Marketing Tactics and Case Studies

As I mentioned above, I’ll be attending BMA’s Global B2B Marketing conference this week in Chicago. Here are the sessions and people I’m really looking forward to most. You’ll see several of these presentations liveblogged later in the week and next here at TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog:

  • Capitalizing on Change: Skills for the New Era of B2B MarketingMichelle M. Smith, SPIM, CRP, VP, Research, BMA, and VP, Marketing at O.C. Tanner
  • Being 3MJesse Singh, SVP of Marketing and Sales at 3M
  • The Rise of the Data-Driven MarketerRussell Glass, Head of Products, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions; Founder, Bizo=
  • Here’s Why You’re Failing at Content MarketingJoe Pulizzi, Founder at Content Marketing Institute
  • Predicting the Future: Unlocking the Power of Big Data in B2B MarketingLaura Ramos, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research
  • Taming the Marketing Technology Beast and Teaching It to Fetch (Customers)Scott Brinker, Co-Founder and CTO at ion interactive
  • The Cloud Games: Catching Fire – A big panel featuring:
  • INSPIRED: How Brilliant Brands Create a Sudden Urge to ActAndrew Davis, author, Brandscaping
  • Putting Editorial Content at The Heart of B2B MarketingJohn Bell, VP, Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers
  • Successfully Making the Tectonic Shift from B2C to B2BMark Wilson, SVP, Marketing at BlackBerry
  • Face-to-Face Marketing RulesRuth Stevens, President at eMarketing Strategy
  • Big Data, Little Data and Marketing at the IntersectionTheresa Kushner, VP, Data Governance at VMware
  • B2B Video: The Comedy Writes ItselfTim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media at Cisco Systems

If you’re attending BMA, I hope to see you there.


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
B2B Marketing Roundup: Resources, Trends and Case Studies to Prep for #BMA15 | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post B2B Marketing Roundup: Resources, Trends and Case Studies to Prep for #BMA15 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Online Marketing News: Facebook Feed Buzzes Businesses, Promoted Pins Get Powerful, Twitter Shows Search

Influencer Marketing Golden Ticket

Is Influencer Marketing the Next Golden Ticket? [INFOGRAPHIC] – Influencer marketing is growing like crazy. Will it become the next golden ticket? Check out this infographic to find out. The Shelf

Google Webmaster Tools Rebrands To Google Search Console – Google aims to get more users on Google Webmaster Tools by renaming it to Google Search Console. Search Engine Land

Twitter’s Objective-Based Ads Are Now Available To All Advertisers – Company officially launches beta program that it says has helped improve efficiency and cut costs for advertisers who pay only for certain types of engagement, like website clicks, conversions, lead generation or video views. Marketing Land

Tweets Now Appear In Google Search – Twitter and Google announced that tweets now appear in mobile searches. They will make their way to desktop searches in the future. Find out more about how they’ll be appearing. Twitter

Google to Add ‘Buy’ Button to Search Results Within Next Few Weeks – Within the next few weeks Google will be rolling out a “buy” button that will allow people to purchase certain items directly from its search results pages. Search Engine Journal

YouTube Adds Click-to-Shop Button to TrueView Ads – YouTube is tweaking its commercials to be more like interactive infomercials. Ad Age

Google Launches Shopping Ads For YouTube, Integration With Merchant Center – Thursday, YouTube announced a version of product listing ads are coming to retailers’ video ads with TrueView for Shopping. Search Engine Land

Google Upgrades AdWords Editor to Support Labels – Google has made a worldwide update of AdWords Editor that will offer labels, support for upgraded URLs, call-only ads, in-app mobile ads, and custom affinity audiences. Search Engine Watch

Pinterest to Enhance Promoted Pin Ad Capabilities – The visual discovery platform is going to add a slew of new features to promoted pins, including app promotion. How can marketers benefit from these updates? Pinterest is going to make promoted pins more appealing to advertisers by adding a new suite of ad solutions. ClickZ

Google Says Its Google Preferred Viewers 29% More Likely To Visit Brand Sites After Watching YouTube – According to a study conducted by Google this year, nearly one in ten of its Google Preferred desktop viewers do not watch traditional TV. Marketing Land

The Google-Twitter Deal Goes Live, Giving Tweets Prominent Placement In Google’s Results – Tweets now appear for trending topics in a new carousel format. Twitter doesn’t earn directly off display but will gain new traffic. Search Engine Land

Facebook Now Lets People Call Businesses From News Feed Ads – The social network adds “Call Now” button, enhancing the local awareness ad program for local businesses. Marketing Land

From our Online Marketing Community:

In response to Content Marketing: 6 Steps for Building a Massive AudienceJason Quey said, “Great insight Evan, just buffered this! I believe many should focus on the right strategy to a good content foundation.”

On Stand Out or Don’t Bother: Sally Hogshead on Harnessing Your Fascination Advantage, Sebastian Mealer shared, “I love the advice and framework. I took the test and arrived at the two advantages I expected. What I think is great about this is communicating and displaying your strengths, and remembering to focus on them in messages as well as time. Very helpful in distilling unique strengths and value into a concise statement.”

And Daniel Dessinger commented, “Some great tips here. I missed this session at the conference. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I definitely think #4 is our greatest opportunity. It’s easy to focus on competitors and peers and to make sure one is doing what they do. It’s not a creative stance, but it’s more of a CYA approach. Realizing that the REAL success lies in differentiation is a GREAT way to break out of the mold and begin paving a better path for one’s business.”

Then in response to Dr. Evil’s Guide to Landing Page Design and Optimization, Monica Michaela said, “Hi! I totally agree that “confusion is the enemy of action”. Being very clear helps you build trust between your company and your potential customer.

I also believe that having security badges or/and money-back guarantees on your landing page definitely increases the numbers of conversions because everybody wants to feel safe and trust the company they are buying from. Who wouldn’t? =)”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Infographic: The Shelf


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
Online Marketing News: Facebook Feed Buzzes Businesses, Promoted Pins Get Powerful, Twitter Shows Search | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Online Marketing News: Facebook Feed Buzzes Businesses, Promoted Pins Get Powerful, Twitter Shows Search appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Actionable Tips to Build Trust on Your eCommerce Website

eCommerce is booming as expected. Online sales are set to grow across the world, while store-based sales are on a decline.

Growth of Online Sales

Yet, two out of every three shopping carts get abandoned. Across the entire eCommerce landscape, that amounts to 5 trillion dollars in lost sales.

So what’s going wrong?

73% consumers feel that shopping online is riskier than shopping offline.

Taylor Nelson Sofres’s 2006 survey showed that customers cancel 70% of online purchases because of lack of trust. Since that time, users have only become more aware of fraudulent practices. Trust has become even harder to earn.

The onus is on site owners to build trust on their eCommerce website.

I’ll be honest with you. This is a long post. You can jump sections using the navigation links right below.

Introduction: What is Trust and its Role in eCommerce?

What Factors Influence Trust in eCommerce?

Factor #1: Trust Seals and SSL Certificates

Factor #2: Contact Information

Factor #3: Customer Reviews and Testimonials

At the end of each section you’ll also find a list of actionable tips to implement and improve the trust factor of your eCommerce website.

What is Trust And Its Role in eCommerce?

Understanding the nature of Trust is important. The problem with common words like ‘trust’ is that we all believe we understand it. ‘Trust’ in at least that sense, is taken for granted. That makes it all the more critical to establish a meaning that we understand the same way – a common frame of reference, if you will.

Mayer et al (1995) explains trust this way

The willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party.

Three factors contribute to the state of trust: the chance for a gain, chance for a loss and an uncertainty regarding the matter.

What Creates Trust - Image

Let me bring this blog article itself into context. The expected gain from this article is deriving actionable knowledge about how to improve the trust factor on your eCommerce website. The potential loss is of time that could be used doing something else. The uncertainty is if the article will provide the value or not.

So if you are still reading this article, it means that you perceive that the probability of a gain (knowledge, insights) is more than the probability of loss (time, opportunity cost) even though you really can’t be certain. Thanks for trusting us, we won’t disappoint.

It’s important to understand that trust is not a choice, but an underlying psychological state that can be influenced.

In the context of eCommerce, trust is as big a factor as anything. The reason a user decides to visit your page is because of trust. Every conversion that occurs on an eCommerce page is a result of trust. Conversion Rate Optimization experts concern themselves with these problems:

  • Increasing motivation
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Reducing friction

Improving the trust factor of your website helps with each of these endeavors.

What Factors Influence Trust in eCommerce?

A survey by eConsultancy asked respondents this question:

If you are shopping from a retailer you don’t know well, how would you decide whether to trust the website?

Here’s what they found.

Graph: Role of Trust in Buying Decision

We’ll take the top 3 factors and rip them down to the bone and leave you with immediately actionable insights at the end of each section.

How To Build Trust on Your eCommerce Website

#1 Trust Seals and Security Certificates

In a survey conducted by Mathew at Actual Insights, we found reason to believe that trust seals really influence the buying decision of users.

Role of Trust Seals in Consumer Decision

An overwhelming majority of 61% respondents have cancelled a purchase because trust logos were missing on the website.

Before we move on, let’s also understand what these terms are.

What is a trust seal/badge?

Examples of Trust Badge

A trust seal on a website is a 3rd party badge shows that the website is legitimate. It is important to note that often trust seals by themselves do not indicate any technical security. Rather, they are simply a certification of the company.

What are SSL certificates?

SSL Certificate Badges

In contrast to trust seals, SSL certificates indicate actual technical security. They serve to show that there is a secure connection between the browser and the web server and they guard against network eavesdropping.

So you understand trust seals and SSL certificates and can even differentiate between the both of them. But what matters most is if your users understand it or not.

A 2005 study conducted by TNS, revealed that

  • 78 percent of online shoppers said that a seal indicates that their information is secure
  • Only one in five shoppers did not know what purpose trust seals served

Consumers are very aware of trust seals and understand what they represent.

There, trust seals do indeed work – a clear majority of people are aware of it and it plays an important part in deciding the trust your eCommerce site evokes. It’s been 10 years since the study and users have only become more internet-savvy and aware of trust seals now.

There are many kinds of trust seals out there.

Which Trust Seals Work Best?

Baymard conducted a research asking more than 1000 respondents,

“Which badge gives you the most sense of trust when paying online?”

Here is the result:

Which Trust Seals Work Best?

Here’s what was most interesting.

The second, third and fourth most trusted seals are trust badges where the rest are all SSL seals, including Norton that came in first, in terms of the trust they evoke. Interestingly, we find that users do not necessarily differentiate between trust badges and SSL badges.

Users are not as interested in the technical implications of the badges as much as the perceived sense of security the badges evoke.

Baymard notes that the two most trusted seals — Norton and McAfee — are anti-virus software brands. This shows that users naturally associate ‘security’ with these brands. The reason for this is that these brands are associated with ‘security’ in their more popular avatar as well — that of anti-virus software.

Does this mean having any trust seal is better than not having them at all?

Not really.

Recognition Precedes Presence

In the actual insights survey we already referred to, another interesting fact came to light.

Study: Recognition precedes Presence

A staggering 76% reported having cancelled their purchase decision because they didn’t recognize the trust logo.

The results suggest that your best bet is to have trust seals that are immediately recognizable.

But here is the caveat: Some trust badges are not globally recognizable but are still effective in improving the trust factor and sales. For instance, House of Kids added an e-mark badge (certifies ethical conduct of Danish businesses) to their site and reaped a 32% jump in conversions. The e-mark badge is relevant only to Danish businesses but that doesn’t stop it from being effective.

Remember: there are no rules to this game. The only best practice is to test.

So What Trust Seals Should You Use on Your eCommerce Platform?

As of 2012, 89% of brands were not using trust badges to bolster users’ trust. This statistic reveals the enormous gains that brands can achieve by acting fast and incorporating trust badges on their sites.

Based on its research, Baymard suggests that site owners include a

  • Norton badge, implying an encrypted connection
  • McAfee badge, indicating non-infected hacker-free site
  • A BBB or TRUSTe badge that shows good customer relations

Such a combination, they believe, will cater to all kinds of users — technical and non-technical. A technically sound user will be able to differentiate between these badges and the trust value they imply on three different areas, while a non-technical user will find three recognizable trust signals.

Apart from these trust badges, there are many others that website owners employ. A trust badge could be as simple as an “authorized dealer” badge. For instance, Express Watches added a “Seiko Authorized Dealer Site and achieved a 107% increase in sales.

Express Watches : Usage of Trust Seal

Then there is Bag Servant that improved conversions by 72.05% by including a WOW badge in its header.

Use of Trust Seal on Bag Servant

It is critical that you understand the nature of your business and choose trust badges that are relevant to your business. For instance, if you are selling eco-friendly products, it might be a good idea to have an Ecolabel certification and a related badge.

Presence and Placement of Trust Badges

When it comes to using trust badges, placement is just as important as presence. For your checkout page, we suggest boxing important fields like payment forms from the rest of the page. Aside from acting as a visual cue to direct the user towards the important part of the page, a box adds an extra sense of security. In a usability study by Baymard, it emerged that placing the trust badges close to payment fields increases the perceived security of the transaction.

See how Peapod does it.

Presence of Trust Seals - Peapod

But if you check out Symantec’s checkout page (Ranked #2 among the top 100 eCommerce checkouts), you’ll see this

Symantec Checkout - No Trust Seals

What? No trust badges! The secret lies in the brand. Bigger and more popular brands already have their users’ trust and don’t need trust badges as much as smaller brands do.

Small brands can gain big wins by incorporating trust badges.

Here’s a lowdown on all that you need to know about trust marks.

Actionable Tips for using Trust Badges in eCommerce

  • Use recognizable trust badges
  • Include different kinds of trust badges to influence trust on multiple levels
  • Look out for niche trust badges that are relevant to your business
  • Place payment related trust badges closer to critical page components, like credit card information fields
  • If you are a small brand, trust badges are likely to yield major dividends
  • Don’t believe these tips blindly, conduct A/B tests to be sure

Now we come to the second most critical component that influences trust.

#2 Contact Information

We don’t trust algorithms and machines as much as we trust humans. There are many reasons, known and unknown, for this. Part of the reason is that humans are capable of empathy and feel safer with other humans than with machines.

When a user is on your eCommerce store for the first time, their ‘danger’ antennae are in overdrive. In 2009, a Harris Interactive Survey found that 90% of people were jittery and concerned when shopping from new or unknown sites.

Displaying contact information says that you’ve nothing to hide from the user.

Contact information gives a strong indication that there is a real person at the other end who can be approached should anything go wrong.

Here’s how Zappos, renowned for their customer service, does it

Contact Page - Zappos

Notice how they establish a very human connection on the page. Words like ‘we’, ‘family’ are liberally used on the page to bring down user anxiety. Multiple ways are displayed for a user to get in touch with the team — 24×7 phone number, email or a direct conversation.

If there was just a phone number, you’d be relieved, but Zappos delivers over and above typical customer expectations by providing multiple channels of communication. It helps ease the slightest of anxieties users have about shopping online at Zappos.

Read about how Flowr increased conversions simply by adding a phone number to the header.

Apart from this obvious benefit, contact page is also a potent lead generation engine. Users can directly get in touch with your sales team. This is particularly important for professional services where client-consultant interactions are best done in person. The folks at DotCo draw an analogy between contact information on a website and business cards.

It’s not just contact information that can help establish the human connection. Using real images of the people behind a product can also help ease user anxiety.

VWO - About Us Page

See how at VWO we make sure that we reveal the people behind our product? The contact information and the physical address of our place of business is also clearly laid out on the map. With the images and physical proof, people warm up to your business, because they are able to relate with it. Without it, it’s just a faceless software product, one of the many out there.

Actionable Tips for Using Contact Information

  • Clearly display primary contact information and make it easy to find
  • Where ever possible, include actual images of the people behind the product
  • Include multiple channels for users to communicate with your brand
  • Use words that imply human presence

#3 Social Proof: Customer Reviews/Testimonials

In the annual VWO eCommerce Consumer Survey 2014, 55% consumers said that reviews are important to them while making decisions. Another report, BrightLocal consumer survey 2014, shows that 85% consumers  read up to 10 reviews before deciding whether to trust a site or not. Further more, 72% consumers said that positive reviews make them trust a site more.

Customer Reviews Study - Graph

It is clearly evident that customer reviews matter. A lot. But how do we use this knowledge?

It’s important to note that half of these customers would trust only if there are multiple reviews to read. For the other half, trust depends on the authenticity of the reviews. So it’s not a question of quantity versus quality. You need both.

Fake reviews are a nagging nuisance that review sites have to constantly deal with. Check out how Yelp is dealing with it.

To maintain authenticity, make sure you promote only genuine reviews and not ones that seem overtly promotional. Amazon does a great job at this.

Customer Reviews Management : Amazon

By displaying the reviewers’ identities, and providing a review rating system, Amazon is able to promote the reviews that are found most useful by its customers.

Corroborating this insight further, a survey found that most user-trust is gained through reviews written by other users. Reviews from associations and professional reviewers do not score as high as that from users.

Review Types and Trust

How About Bad Customer Reviews? 

In a study published in 2011, it emerged that reading one to three bad reviews would deter 67% of the shoppers from making a purchase.

Don’t lose heart though.

In a more recent study, 68% consumers said that they are inclined to trust more when there are both bad and good reviews. 30% consumers suspect inauthenticity when they don’t see anything negative.

It’s important to feature both negative and positive reviews.

For every consumer who seeks out positive reviews, there are three who actively seek out negative reviews. Believe it or not, negative reviews are more popular than positive reviews. On average, consumers tell 15 people about their good customer service experiences, and 24 people about their bad experiences.

(Tips on getting more customer reviews)

All the research points towards having authentic user-generated reviews, good or bad, on your site.

Actionable Tips on Using Customer Reviews

  • Focus both on quality and quantity of reviews
  • Feature both negative and positive reviews; consumers find it authentic and therefore more trustworthy
  • Generate reviews from actual users of the product rather than from associations or professional reviewers

Trust in eCommerce and Responsibility

It’s a precious commodity, trust. The purpose of the three measures that we detailed in this article is to improve the trust that users have in your business.  However, it’s important to understand that trust has a self-correcting nature. At the slightest hint of malpractice or incredulity, trust disappears. Businesses need to earn their users’ trust every day, over and over again.

There are umpteen ways to coerce a user into doing business with you, using fake trust signals and reviews and what not. But failing a user’s trust in your business can have catastrophic effects. Bad PR is only the beginning of it. The good part is that unless you are trying to create trust where there can be none, it’s not a difficult thing to do. There’s nothing that drives trust like some good old honesty.

Did this article resonate with your take on trust in eCommerce? Are you aware of more ways to generate trust? We and our readers would love to know.

Let us know below in the comments section :)

eCommerce Survey 2014 Report// <![CDATA[
hbspt.cta.load(310840, '5a9191ce-f82d-42ad-805d-43f33843ab5e');
// ]]>

The post Actionable Tips to Build Trust on Your eCommerce Website appeared first on VWO Blog.

B2B Content Marketing Playbook: Tips to Prepare You for the Big Content Game

B2B-CONTENT-PLAYBOOK

The 2015 B2B Marketing Report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs sheds a pretty bright light on the true state of B2B content marketing. While 86% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, only 8% rate their content marketing efforts as “very effective”. It’s not so different than teams participating in sports like football. Sure, everyone is playing, but who is actually really good at it?

Fundamental blocking and tackling are key for a winning football game. The same can be said for implementing a successful B2B content marketing program: mastery of the fundamentals is essential. With B2B content creation in particular, marketers must be prepared for everything from understanding the voice of the customer to developing the right mix of content assets.

For most B2B marketers, staying on top of the B2B content marketing game takes practice, practice and more practice to be successful. Drilling those basic skills can mean the difference between winning and losing the business customer acquisition game.

Here’s the good news: We’ve put this B2B Content Marketing Playbook together to provide you with all the content marketing formations you’ll need to play the B2B content game right and maybe even win a content marketing championship!

shutterstock_221686972

Learn the Language of Your Customer

Writing killer content for business buyers takes practice. Part of that practice involves understanding the language of the industry that you’re writing for. It is important to strike a balance between incorporating the proper industry terms while not overstuffing your content or using jargon in the wrong context.

Here are a few steps you can take to catch on to the terms you need to know:

  1. Talk to your current customers – learn their pain points, goals and the words they use to describe what’s important
  2. Review the website content of your customers and their competitors – learn to speak like a native
  3. Search for and absorb information from reputable content sources online – where do your customers discover and consume industry and solutions information? What publications, influencers and peers do they listen to and read?

Connect with the Right Content Marketing Resources

Believe it or not, sometimes you’ll need to bring in reinforcements. Determining whether you need to hire experienced industry copywriters for the short or long-term, depends on the project.

No matter how long contract copywriters or content marketing agency resources are a part of your marketing team’s efforts, learn as much as you can in the time that you’re working with them. Be wary of writers that claim to have industry expertise but don’t provide examples of their work.

When interviewing potential resources, keep the following in mind:

  • How long have they been creating content for the specific industry?
  • Have they written content for a reputable content source or company?
  • What is their process for understanding content goals, customer voice and actual content creation?

Map B2B Buyer Personas to Content

To deliver the most relevant and useful information to B2B buyers, its important to identify distinct customer segments and the stages of their buying experience. To write specifically for a group of buyers and what they care about, it’s useful to create a persona that represents their common interests, behaviors, pain points and goals.

For each persona and buying experience or journey, customers will have different types of questions depending on where they are in the process. The B2B content you create should address the needs of a specific customer persona as well as the broad to specific questions they need answered when investigating the kinds of solutions your company offers.

Let’s assume for a second that the product is a marketing automation tool and the target customer is a large brand seeking a solution to help deliver their marketing in a more structured and meaningful way. It’s important that content is created for any one of the positions/needs below:

  • Director of Marketing: Is interested in seeing if there is a better way to create, distribute and track content.
    • Stage: Awareness
    • Sample Blog Content: 10 Signs You May Need Marketing Automation
  • Marketing Manager: Has been given a directive to create a cost/capability comparison for a variety of different marketing automation solutions:
    • Stage: Engagement
    • Sample Blog Content: 5 Features & Benefits of XYZ Marketing Automation
  • VP of Marketing: Needs to determine if Marketing Automation will be a sound investment for the organization.
    • Stage: Conversion
    • Sample Blog Content: 7 Ways Marketing Automation Saves Money & Improves Efficiency

The examples above only scratch the surface in terms of potential personas, stages in the buying cycle and types of content that can be used to meet the needs of your customers.

playbook fumble

Lead Your Content with Key Points

It’s likely that the professionals searching for B2B solutions have responsibilities outside of purchasing the product that you’re promoting via content marketing (aka, they’re busy). Keep that in mind when you’re determining how to structure content.

Blog posts for example, should quickly summarize key points so that the reader can decide if they would like to continue reading. This sets the stage for what they’ll find in the blog post.

The B2B and H2H Tug of War

B2B customers desire content that meets both their personal and business needs. How can you strike that delicate balance?

  • Be specific
  • Show empathy
  • Focus on solutions
  • Inject voice and personality
  • Create content for where they live (social, mobile), not just where they work (blogs, publications)

shutterstock_90027943

Incorporate Multiple Types of Content

Did you know that there are well over 30 types of Content Marketing tactics? Based on the product or service that content is being created for, and the audience, there is an incredible opportunity to provide multiple content types to provide buyers with the best possible information experience. Examples of tactics that have traditionally worked well for B2B marketing include:

  • Case Studies
  • White Papers
  • Blog Posts
  • eBooks
  • Digital Newsletters
  • Email Marketing
  • Webinars and Real World Events

Also consider the “human” side of B2B marketing through social media, mobile and visually-focused content. After all, buyers are people too.

Include Calls to Action (CTAs)

B2B content should almost always include a call to action of some sort. It’s important that you always give readers direction on what to do next, whether it’s to consume another piece of content, subscribe, share or make an appointment. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering B2B content CTAs:

  • Don’t Be Shy: Your CTAs should stand out as a clear next step. Instead of burying your CTA at the bottom of the page, consider using your content header or sidebar.
  • Keep it Simple: While you may want to know everything about the person completing your CTA, you have to remove the barrier to entry. Ask for only the necessary information you need to accomplish your goal.
  • Offer Value, Again: Remind the prospect what they’re signing up for. Be sure to reiterate that they are signing up for XYZ webinar, which will help them accomplish ABC.

Experiment with Landing Pages

Landing pages create an enormous opportunity for capturing information that can be used to effectively nurture B2B leads. When experimenting with landing pages here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • There may be different levels of decision makers and different stages of the buying cycle.
  • You can increase the value of good content by requiring form completion
  • Take some time to A/B test your page content and forms
  • Always include testimonials

Why Mastering the Game of B2B Content Marketing is Essential

Jumping head-first into a game of B2B content marketing without mastering the blocking and tackling basics can quickly have you experiencing more losses than wins. In order to create successful B2B content, understand who your customers are, what they care about and how the product that you’re marketing helps solve their business problem. Speak to your target buyer using their language, using the kinds of content they prefer and with offers that will be the most compelling for them to take action.

In football, it’s often said that the best defense is a good offense. Stay on top of your B2B content marketing game by incorporating the basic rules from this B2B Content Marketing Playbook into your content routine.

Photos via Shutterstock: FirstSecondThirdFourth


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2015. |
B2B Content Marketing Playbook: Tips to Prepare You for the Big Content Game | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post B2B Content Marketing Playbook: Tips to Prepare You for the Big Content Game appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Importance of Trust in eCommerce and How to Build Trust on Your Website

I’ll go out on a limb and assume that you are doing some sort of business online.

That is great. Because eCommerce is booming as expected. Online sales are set to grow across the world, while store-based sales are on a decline.

Growth of Online Sales

Yet, 2 out of every 3 shopping carts get abandoned. Across the entire eCommerce landscape, that amounts to 5 trillion dollars in lost sales.

So what’s going wrong?

73% consumers feel that shopping online is riskier than shopping offline.

Taylor Nelson Sofres’s 2006 survey showed that customers cancel 70% of online purchases because of lack of trust. Since that time, users have only become more aware of fraudulent practices. Trust has become even harder to earn.

The onus is on site owners to create trust on their eCommerce website.

I’ll be honest with you. This is a long post. You can jump sections using the navigation links right below.

Introduction: What is Trust and its Role in eCommerce?

What Factors Influence Trust in eCommerce?

Factor #1: Trust Seals and SSL Certificates

Factor #2: Contact Information

Factor #3: Customer Reviews and Testimonials

At the end of each section you’ll also find a list of actionable tips to implement and improve the trust factor of your eCommerce website.

What is Trust And Its Role in eCommerce?

Understanding the nature of Trust is important. The problem with common words like ‘trust’ is that we all believe we understand it. ‘Trust’ in at least that sense, is taken for granted. That makes it all the more critical to establish a meaning that we understand the same way – a common frame of reference, if you will.

Mayer et al (1995) explains trust this way

The willingness of a party to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor, irrespective of the ability to monitor or control that other party.

Three factors contribute to the state of trust: the chance for a gain, chance for a loss and an uncertainty regarding the matter.

What Creates Trust - Image

Let me bring this blog article itself into context. The expected gain from this article is deriving actionable knowledge about how to improve the trust factor on your eCommerce website. The potential loss is of time that could be used doing something else. The uncertainty is if the article will provide the value or not.

So if you are still reading this article, it means that you perceive that the probability of a gain (knowledge, insights) is more than the probability of loss (time, opportunity cost) even though you really can’t be certain. Thanks for trusting us, we won’t disappoint.

It’s important to understand that trust is not a choice, but an underlying psychological state that can be influenced.

In the context of eCommerce, trust is as big a factor as anything. The reason a user decides to visit your page is because of trust. Every conversion that occurs on an eCommerce page is a result of trust. Conversion Rate Optimization experts concern themselves with these problems:

  • Increasing motivation
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Reducing friction

Improving the trust factor of your website helps with each of these endeavors.

What Factors Influence Trust in eCommerce?

A survey by eConsultancy asked respondents this question:

If you are shopping from a retailer you don’t know well, how would you decide whether to trust the website?

Here’s what they found.

Graph: Role of Trust in Buying Decision

We’ll take the top 3 factors and rip them down to the bone and leave you with immediately actionable insights at the end of each section.

#1 Trust Seals and Security Certificates

In a survey conducted by Mathew at Actual Insights, we found reason to believe that trust seals really influence the buying decision of users.

Role of Trust Seals in Consumer Decision

An overwhelming majority of 61% respondents have cancelled a purchase because trust logos were missing on the website.

Before we move on, let’s also understand what these terms are.

What is a trust seal/badge?

Examples of Trust Badge

A trust seal on a website is a 3rd party badge shows that the website is legitimate. It is important to note that often trust seals by themselves do not indicate any technical security. Rather, they are simply a certification of the company.

What are SSL certificates?

SSL Certificate Badges

In contrast to trust seals, SSL certificates indicate actual technical security. They serve to show that there is a secure connection between the browser and the web server and they guard against network eavesdropping.

So you understand trust seals and SSL certificates and can even differentiate between the both of them. But what matters most is if your users understand it or not.

A 2005 study conducted by TNS, revealed that

  • 78 percent of online shoppers said that a seal indicates that their information is secure
  • Only one in five shoppers did not know what purpose trust seals served

Consumers are very aware of trust seals and understand what they represent.

There, trust seals do indeed work – a clear majority of people are aware of it and it plays an important part in deciding the trust your eCommerce site evokes. It’s been 10 years since the study and users have only become more internet-savvy and aware of trust seals now.

There are many kinds of trust seals out there.

Which Trust Seals Work Best?

Baymard conducted a research asking more than 1000 respondents,

“Which badge gives you the most sense of trust when paying online?”

Here is the result:

Which Trust Seals Work Best?

Here’s what was most interesting.

The second, third and fourth most trusted seals are trust badges where the rest are all SSL seals, including Norton that came in first, in terms of the trust they evoke. Interestingly, we find that users do not necessarily differentiate between trust badges and SSL badges.

Users are not as interested in the technical implications of the badges as much as the perceived sense of security the badges evoke.

Baymard notes that the two most trusted seals — Norton and McAfee — are anti-virus software brands. This shows that users naturally associate ‘security’ with these brands. The reason for this is that these brands are associated with ‘security’ in their more popular avatar as well — that of anti-virus software.

Does this mean having any trust seal is better than not having them at all?

Not really.

Recognition Precedes Presence

In the actual insights survey we already referred to, another interesting fact came to light.

Study: Recognition precedes Presence

A staggering 76% reported having cancelled their purchase decision because they didn’t recognize the trust logo.

The results suggest that your best bet is to have trust seals that are immediately recognizable.

But here is the caveat: Some trust badges are not globally recognizable but are still effective in improving the trust factor and sales. For instance, House of Kids added an e-mark badge (certifies ethical conduct of Danish businesses) to their site and reaped a 32% jump in conversions. The e-mark badge is relevant only to Danish businesses but that doesn’t stop it from being effective.

Remember: there are no rules to this game. The only best practice is to test.

So What Trust Seals Should You Use on Your eCommerce Platform?

As of 2012, 89% of brands were not using trust badges to bolster users’ trust. This statistic reveals the enormous gains that brands can achieve by acting fast and incorporating trust badges on their sites.

Based on its research, Baymard suggests that site owners include a

  • Norton badge, implying an encrypted connection
  • McAfee badge, indicating non-infected hacker-free site
  • A BBB or TRUSTe badge that shows good customer relations

Such a combination, they believe, will cater to all kinds of users — technical and non-technical. A technically sound user will be able to differentiate between these badges and the trust value they imply on three different areas, while a non-technical user will find three recognizable trust signals.

Apart from these trust badges, there are many others that website owners employ. A trust badge could be as simple as an “authorized dealer” badge. For instance, Express Watches added a “Seiko Authorized Dealer Site and achieved a 107% increase in sales.

Express Watches : Usage of Trust Seal

Then there is Bag Servant that improved conversions by 72.05% by including a WOW badge in its header.

Use of Trust Seal on Bag Servant

It is critical that you understand the nature of your business and choose trust badges that are relevant to your business. For instance, if you are selling eco-friendly products, it might be a good idea to have an Ecolabel certification and a related badge.

Presence and Placement of Trust Badges

When it comes to using trust badges, placement is just as important as presence. For your checkout page, we suggest boxing important fields like payment forms from the rest of the page. Aside from acting as a visual cue to direct the user towards the important part of the page, a box adds an extra sense of security. In a usability study by Baymard, it emerged that placing the trust badges close to payment fields increases the perceived security of the transaction.

See how Peapod does it.

Presence of Trust Seals - Peapod

But if you check out Symantec’s checkout page (Ranked #2 among the top 100 eCommerce checkouts), you’ll see this

Symantec Checkout - No Trust Seals

What? No trust badges! The secret lies in the brand. Bigger and more popular brands already have their users’ trust and don’t need trust badges as much as smaller brands do.

Small brands can gain big wins by incorporating trust badges.

Here’s a lowdown on all that you need to know about trust marks.

Actionable Tips for using Trust Badges in eCommerce

  • Use recognizable trust badges
  • Include different kinds of trust badges to influence trust on multiple levels
  • Look out for niche trust badges that are relevant to your business
  • Place payment related trust badges closer to critical page components, like credit card information fields
  • If you are a small brand, trust badges are likely to yield major dividends
  • Don’t believe these tips blindly, conduct A/B tests to be sure

Now we come to the second most critical component that influences trust.

#2 Contact Information

We don’t trust algorithms and machines as much as we trust humans. There are many reasons, known and unknown, for this. Part of the reason is that humans are capable of empathy and feel safer with other humans than with machines.

When a user is on your eCommerce store for the first time, their ‘danger’ antennae are in overdrive. In 2009, a Harris Interactive Survey found that 90% of people were jittery and concerned when shopping from new or unknown sites.

Displaying contact information says that you’ve nothing to hide from the user.

Contact information gives a strong indication that there is a real person at the other end who can be approached should anything go wrong.

Here’s how Zappos, renowned for their customer service, does it

Contact Page - Zappos

Notice how they establish a very human connection on the page. Words like ‘we’, ‘family’ are liberally used on the page to bring down user anxiety. Multiple ways are displayed for a user to get in touch with the team — 24×7 phone number, email or a direct conversation.

If there was just a phone number, you’d be relieved, but Zappos delivers over and above typical customer expectations by providing multiple channels of communication. It helps ease the slightest of anxieties users have about shopping online at Zappos.

Read about how Flowr increased conversions simply by adding a phone number to the header.

Apart from this obvious benefit, contact page is also a potent lead generation engine. Users can directly get in touch with your sales team. This is particularly important for professional services where client-consultant interactions are best done in person. The folks at DotCo draw an analogy between contact information on a website and business cards.

It’s not just contact information that can help establish the human connection. Using real images of the people behind a product can also help ease user anxiety.

VWO - About Us Page

See how at VWO we make sure that we reveal the people behind our product? The contact information and the physical address of our place of business is also clearly laid out on the map. With the images and physical proof, people warm up to your business, because they are able to relate with it. Without it, it’s just a faceless software product, one of the many out there.

Actionable Tips for Using Contact Information

  • Clearly display primary contact information and make it easy to find
  • Where ever possible, include actual images of the people behind the product
  • Include multiple channels for users to communicate with your brand
  • Use words that imply human presence

#3 Social Proof: Customer Reviews/Testimonials

In the annual VWO eCommerce Consumer Survey 2014, 55% consumers said that reviews are important to them while making decisions. Another report, BrightLocal consumer survey 2014, shows that 85% consumers  read up to 10 reviews before deciding whether to trust a site or not. Further more, 72% consumers said that positive reviews make them trust a site more.

Customer Reviews Study - Graph

It is clearly evident that customer reviews matter. A lot. But how do we use this knowledge?

It’s important to note that half of these customers would trust only if there are multiple reviews to read. For the other half, trust depends on the authenticity of the reviews. So it’s not a question of quantity versus quality. You need both.

Fake reviews are a nagging nuisance that review sites have to constantly deal with. Check out how Yelp is dealing with it.

To maintain authenticity, make sure you promote only genuine reviews and not ones that seem overtly promotional. Amazon does a great job at this.

Customer Reviews Management : Amazon

By displaying the reviewers’ identities, and providing a review rating system, Amazon is able to promote the reviews that are found most useful by its customers.

Corroborating this insight further, a survey found that most user-trust is gained through reviews written by other users. Reviews from associations and professional reviewers do not score as high as that from users.

Review Types and Trust

How About Bad Customer Reviews? 

In a study published in 2011, it emerged that reading one to three bad reviews would deter 67% of the shoppers from making a purchase.

Don’t lose heart though.

In a more recent study, 68% consumers said that they are inclined to trust more when there are both bad and good reviews. 30% consumers suspect inauthenticity when they don’t see anything negative.

It’s important to feature both negative and positive reviews.

For every consumer who seeks out positive reviews, there are three who actively seek out negative reviews. Believe it or not, negative reviews are more popular than positive reviews. On average, consumers tell 15 people about their good customer service experiences, and 24 people about their bad experiences.

(Tips on getting more customer reviews)

All the research points towards having authentic user-generated reviews, good or bad, on your site.

Actionable Tips on Using Customer Reviews

  • Focus both on quality and quantity of reviews
  • Feature both negative and positive reviews; consumers find it authentic and therefore more trustworthy
  • Generate reviews from actual users of the product rather than from associations or professional reviewers

Trust in eCommerce and Responsibility

It’s a precious commodity, trust. The purpose of the three measures that we detailed in this article is to improve the trust that users have in your business.  However, it’s important to understand that trust has a self-correcting nature. At the slightest hint of malpractice or incredulity, trust disappears. Businesses need to earn their users’ trust every day, over and over again.

There are umpteen ways to coerce a user into doing business with you, using fake trust signals and reviews and what not. But failing a user’s trust in your business can have catastrophic effects. Bad PR is only the beginning of it. The good part is that unless you are trying to create trust where there can be none, it’s not a difficult thing to do. There’s nothing that drives trust like some good old honesty.

Did this article resonate with your take on trust in eCommerce? Are you aware of more ways to generate trust? We and our readers would love to know.

Let us know below in the comments section :)

eCommerce Survey 2014 Report// <![CDATA[
hbspt.cta.load(310840, '5a9191ce-f82d-42ad-805d-43f33843ab5e');
// ]]>

The post Importance of Trust in eCommerce and How to Build Trust on Your Website appeared first on VWO Blog.