eco Association: Promoting Trustworthiness of Online Shops

  • eco Association identifies the most important trust elements in e-commerce and online trading
  • Customers’ trust in modern online shops is steadily growing

Every purchase – on the Internet as elsewhere – requires the buyer’s trust in the retailer. Will the online shop deliver the ordered goods as quickly as promised? Do the goods delivered correspond to the description on the website? What happens if deliveries are lost or you want to invoke a guarantee?

“Securing the trust of consumers online is crucial for the sustainable success of any online shop,” says Prof. Georg Rainer Hofmann, Leader of the Competence Group e-Commerce at the eco Association. But how can trust be created in the absence of personal contact between the customer and sales staff? “Most people are prepared to accord shops an initial level of credibility if they are satisfied with the products offered and the prices. This initial credibility offers the shops the opportunity to win customers over.”

Expert Tips for More Trust and More Conversions

On 13th September, the eco Association e-Commerce and Online Marketing Competence Groups led an expert discussion in Frankfurt on how online retailers and shops can signal their trustworthiness and reliability – with, for example, professional design and functionalities, customer ratings, and quality seals.

Search engines use very similar factors to decide how trustworthy shops are and give them a correspondingly higher rating in their rankings. “For Google, three factors can be identified that distinguish a high-quality website: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness,” says Christopher Gross, Head of SEM at the four for business AG. “If a website meets all three requirements, the chances are good that it will be more visible on Google and other search engines and that it will convince searchers of the value of the website and what it has to offer.”

Win over customers with trust factors

Both technically and in terms of their content, shops should therefore focus on appropriate trust factors centered on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Such factors include the security of the website, interesting content and links, customer feedback, aesthetics, and usability. Quality seals, such as those of Trusted Shops, also play a major role. Such quality seals signal a “fake-free” purchase on the Internet to the end consumer; the certifiers of such quality seals even take on compensation for damages if, in spite of everything, something goes wrong. This offers very good protection for consumers, and even less-known shops can guarantee customers a high level of security. “An inviting, well-structured website, several payment methods to choose from – such as invoice, credit card, and bank transfer – as well as recommendations and customer ratings integrated into the site: all of these contribute significantly to building trust,” added Prof. Hofmann, stating an important outcome of the Frankfurt expert discussion.

eco Association: Promoting Trustworthiness of Online Shops