min read

How to Increase Customer Trust in Online Business?

Published on
April 15, 2024

Table of contents

Just like in any other human interaction, online business, or sales, trust is mandatory. A customer is spending their hard-earned money, and the consumer today has many options, no matter what the domain. Hence, you must build customer trust! 

Now, you would have had the basics in place, like online reviews, a secure website, transparent policies, a social media page, etc. These are the practices used for any online business. However, to establish consumer trust in e-commerce, you must step up your game. 

This article will discuss more advanced techniques such as increasing cyber security, leveraging customer insight, using thought leadership, and cultivating brand advocacy for building trust online. 

Let’s dive right into them. 

Implement Advanced Security Measures To Build Trust Online

Consumers today are quite concerned about their data, and rightfully so. The Internet hasn’t been the safest space for most of us, so cautiousness is the way to go! As an online business, we are responsible for creating that safe space and making people feel secure while interacting with your website.

For example, Target is a great case study for this. 

Target, a retail giant, had to pay for its weak cybersecurity by losing 110 million customer records, with information like credit card information, personal identification, name, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. The reputational damage that this incident caused was colossal. 

So, it makes sense why customers are hesitant to provide their credit card information online. Hence, you must ensure that your website looks trustworthy. 

SSL Encryption For E-commerce Trust

The first step is SSL encryption. Imagine it as an unbreakable seal on all the letters you send and receive. It ensures that the conversation between your customer's device and your website is entirely private. This digital seal reassures customers that their information is encrypted, making it as unreadable as ancient hieroglyphs to anyone who might intercept it.

Source: Comodo SSL (Digital Seal)

2FA: Two-factor Authentication

Next is a simple yet effective gatekeeper of your online accounts: two-factor authentication (2FA). This is like adding a second lock on your door. By requiring a second piece of information beyond just a password, you drastically reduce the chances of unauthorized access. 

It’s an extra step for your customers, sure, but it’s like telling them, “I care about you so much, I won’t let anyone sneak in without your say.”

Advanced Fraud Detection Systems

Systems like SHIELD, SIFT, and other fraud detection systems act as your watchful eyes, always on the lookout for anything suspicious. By analyzing patterns and spotting anomalies, these systems can sniff out fraudulent activity faster than a bloodhound. 

This not only protects your customers but also shields your business from potential financial and reputational harm. 

Secure Payment Methods

Have payment methods that you know are secure and that your customers also trust. For instance, integrating payment options like PayPal and Stripe can serve as a trusted financial conduit. 

Research indicates that although consumers generally place greater trust in their primary banking institutions and are hesitant to transfer funds into PayPal, 69% of respondents perceived it as more effective in safeguarding their financial details.

Source: Shopify

Leverage Customer Insights

Customer insights are especially a great way to build online trust in e-commerce. Leveraging data-driven customer insights is like being a skilled chef in a bustling kitchen, keenly aware of every diner's preference, allergy, and craving. 

Just as the chef uses this knowledge to whip up dishes that delight each customer, businesses can use customer insights and data to tailor experiences that meet and exceed expectations and enhance the overall user experience.

There are various insights you can gather through qualitative measures like interviews, focus groups, surveys, etc., as well as quantitative parameters such as web analytics, sales data, A/B testing, and more. However, one method that stands out and is what many business leaders also claim is the most useful is leveraging customer feedback. 

How to Build Customer Trust by Using Testimonials and Online Reviews?

You can collect customer feedback using various methods, but the most effective way of doing so is by utilizing testimonials and online reviews. The purpose of these is 2-fold. One is that you can gather deep insights into how people perceive your business and how they interact with it. The other is that you can repurpose this as marketing material on various media channels like emails, social media, websites, etc., to display social proof and previous customer experience. 

There are some great tools that you can use to collect these online testimonials and reviews. One of them is the Testimonial Donut, which has a streamlined interface and helps you with your testimonial management and collection. You have to try it out to find out how great it is.  

Building Trust Online through Thought Leadership

Have you ever listened to a podcast, watched a Ted Talk, an Instagram Reel, or any piece of content and wondered who this person is? And then discovered the brand that the person has? And eventually, became the brand’s customer.

If you’re wondering how could a major online retailer build a solid reputation among consumers? The answer to that might be “Content.”

Source: Raj Shamani

This way of customer conversion is not uncommon these days. Creating good content and building a direct connection with your consumers is a great way of establishing trust. 

Case Study: Nikhil Kamath and Zerodha

Take for example Nikhil Kamath from Zerodha, an Indian Online Trading Marketplace. Nikhil started appearing in podcasts, gave his two cents of knowledge, and later started his podcast. 

With his online presence, he also gave ethical tips on trading, warnings, etc., and established a solid reputation amongst the community. With these strategies, Nikhil also positioned Zerodha as an ethical financial marketplace, an industry where trust is paramount. 

Source: YouTube

Case Study: The BarberShop Podcast and Bombay Shaving Company

Many people discovered Bombay Shaving Company, after consuming online content by its founder Shantanu on YouTube. Notice the company's integrated branding on the YouTube channel. This not only helps with product discovery but also establishes trust by positioning the product as legitimate and credible. 

Source: YouTube

Here’s what you can do to position yourself as an authority and leader, illuminating the path not just for others, but also building a deeper trust between you and your potential customers. 

Crafting the Compass: Creating High-Quality Content

To demonstrate thought leadership, start by crafting content that showcases your deep understanding and expertise. This involves:

  • Identifying Key Topics: Focus on areas where you can provide unique insights or solve common problems. It's like finding the most confusing paths in the forest and clearing them for others.
  • Producing Diverse Content: Create a mix of articles, videos, podcasts, and infographics. This variety ensures that no matter how someone prefers to learn, you have something for them.
  • Sharing Real-World Examples: Use case studies and real-life stories to illustrate your points. This approach not only makes your content more relatable but also proves the effectiveness of your strategies.

Lighting the Path: Sharing Your Knowledge

Once you have your content, it's time to share it widely. Consider the following strategies:

  • Leveraging Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and industry-specific forums are great places to start conversations and share your insights.
  • Speaking at Industry Events: Whether virtual or in-person, these events position you in front of an engaged audience eager to learn.
  • Contributing to Industry Publications: Writing articles or being featured in well-respected publications can significantly boost your visibility and credibility.

Finally, other than the content you produce, the role of user-generated content is also extremely important for building consumer trust in e-commerce. 

Embrace Ethical Business Practices

By prioritizing transparent supply chains, sustainable practices, and fair labor standards, businesses can show their customers that they care about more than just profits. This transparency allows customers to see the heart of your business. 

Here are some general practices and mindsets you can adopt to display ethics in online business practices:

  • Transparent Supply Chains: Like a gardener knows their seeds' origins, businesses must be open about where their materials come from. 
  • Sustainable Practices: Adopting sustainable methods mirrors the use of compost and organics in gardening, demonstrating a dedication to care, empathy, and sensitivity.
  • Fair Labor Standards: Treating workers with fairness and respect is as crucial as sunlight and water to plants, fostering a healthy environment. You can also leverage employee testimonials to effectively showcase your work culture. 
  • Inclusive Practices: Make everyone feel welcomed, no matter what your idealogy is. 
  • Data Privacy: This is another way of displaying that you care and also ensuring overall safety and security, as discussed in a previous section. 
  • Product Transparency: Labeling products helps customers make informed decisions and builds trust in your brand's honesty.
  • Ethical Marketing: Marketing your products ethically ensures your promotions are honest, avoid misleading claims, and respect the intelligence of your customers.
Source: Great People Inside (The 8 Pillars of Business Ethics) 

Cultivating Brand Advocacy

Organic word-of-mouth and the psychology of social proof are fundamental ways of growing and establishing trust that businesses often overlook and underrate. You have to find your best fans and cheerleaders that will act as a foundation for your business reputation. 

Here’s how you can identify your brand advocates and engage with them. 

Strategies for Identifying Brand Advocates

  • Monitor Social Media: Look for customers who frequently share, like, and comment positively on your posts.
  • Review Analytics: Use analytics tools to identify repeat customers and those who refer others to your site.
  • Customer Feedback: Pay attention to feedback forms and surveys for highly satisfied customers who give high NPS (Net Promoter Score) ratings.
  • Get in touch with recurring/repeat customers: If a customer keeps coming, they are deriving some value. Contact them and understand that value. 

Strategies for Building Community and Engaging Brand Advocates

  • Exclusive Offers: Provide special discounts or early access to new products.
  • Recognition Programs: Create a program to publicly thank your advocates through your platforms.
  • Loyalty Programs: These programs reward loyal customers, encouraging them to spread the word about your brand.
  • Personalized Communication: Send personalized thank you messages or gifts to show appreciation.
  • Engagement Opportunities: Invite them to exclusive events, and webinars, or ask for their input on future products.
  • Referral Programs: Implement a referral program with incentives for both the advocate and the new customer they bring in.
Source: Helpshift

Leveraging Social Proof and Word-of-Mouth

  • Showcase Testimonials: Feature customer stories and testimonials prominently on your website and social media.
  • Encourage Reviews: Ask satisfied customers to leave reviews on relevant platforms.
  • User-Generated Content: Encourage and share content created by users, such as unboxing videos or product reviews.

All three strategies mentioned here can be implemented using Testimonial Donut, a platform for online reviews and testimonial collection/management, whether they are Google reviews, video testimonials, written testimonials, etc. So start your brand advocacy journey right away with Testimonial Donut

Final Thoughts 

So, it all comes down to simple and ethical chops, as well as right and straightforward practices. You have to ensure your product is great, your medium is secure, your communication via content is on-point, you’re using ethical means, and are constantly improving using customer feedback. If you implement all these practices, you can easily build customer trust.

Regarding leveraging testimonials and online feedback, don’t forget to check out Testimonial Donut. Trust us; it’s the reliable partner you need to establish trust. 


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