One of the most important pieces of the eCommerce puzzle that retailers have to achieve is customer trust. The keys to customer trust can be really simple: other customers.

Without the benefit of a physical place or the tactile advantage offered by brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers have to go the extra mile to convince shoppers that their brands are both trustworthy and amazing. This might sound like a lot of work, but if you’ve already seen some online success, you might have a goldmine of “free” marketing help at your fingertips in the form of current customers!

Customers trust other customers, it’s that simple.

It’s why eBay enables seller ratings, why businesses sue customers for bad Yelp reviews, etc. People like to read about others’ experiences before making the jump themselves. So what can you do to capitalize on customer trust? Here are a few ideas:

  • Enable product reviews. Customers are more likely to buy when they have access to real-life feedback about the products they’re interested in. Good, authentic reviews are a necessity; but, according to a study from the Harvard Business Review, even bad reviews can help boost sales. So don’t be afraid to ask for customers’ opinions!
  • Show off your testimonials. Some marketing folks might find this a little cheesy, but consider including your top customer feedback on relevant pages of your site. Has someone raved about your fast order shipping process? Add their comments on the FAQ or returns page. Did Bobby Joe find the perfect gift for his wife thanks to a contact center agent’s personalized recommendations? Put his words on the Contact Us page. Warm and fuzzy sells!
  • Shout about social stats. Do you have an awesome Facebook following? Tons of twitter followers? A large social media network not only enables the ‘herd mentality’ (well, if that many people like it, I probably will too!) but also builds trust and legitimizes your brand among new potential customers. To capitalize on your awesome, consider displaying a social media bar on all of the main pages of your site that show your current stats and enable new customers to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ without ever leaving your site.

There are other things to consider of course, such as verification and security seals, a clear-cut security policy, and all that fun stuff. But when it comes to wooing new customers, the key to success lies within the data you’re collecting (both good AND bad!) from your current fans. Get out there and see what happens!