I visited my physiotherapist because of a muscle injury. During my massage, he asked me what I do for a living. “I help e-commerce businesses make more money.”

He replied, “wow, that’s cool; my girlfriend has a food-related site. She’s having trouble reaching new visitors; she spends about $100 a month attracting new visitors. Do you have any advice on how she can attract more visitors?

Out of politeness, I asked him about her target audience, her business model, her ROI (return of investment).

He answered, “Her target audience is women between 20-45, I’m not sure what her business model is but more visitors means more profit”.

I asked: If more visitors = more revenue, why isn’t she spending more than $100 on AdWords? He replied: “She’s spending $100 because she can’t afford to pay more.” He continued: “So, what would you advise her to do?”

I’m sure many other experts get asked these types of questions. For example, if you meet a car mechanic at a birthday party. There’s always something you’d like to know about your car.

I’m equally guilty: I’ve asked experts for advice expecting them to give that one piece of information which becomes a life changer.

Nowadays, it’s hard not to know a business without a site whether it’s an e-commerce, real estate, hobby or perhaps a lead generating site.

It doesn’t matter – the questions most business owners have are identical.

The problem is, the answers are never similar. Each business, the niche has its unique history, budget, competitors, staff, knowledge etc.

There’s therefore not one answer I could supply to my physiotherapist that could help.

There are just too many variables which need analysing before you can answer these questions.

It has nothing to do with being vague or unwilling to help someone. It has to do with the simple fact human behaviour isn’t an exact science.

Human behaviour shifts continuously primarily based per situation or event.

When we visit websites, when we watch TV, when we go to the gym, when we communicate. Our minds make decisions affecting the actions we take.

Humans have the unique ability to make many logical decisions within split seconds.

Each following action is related to the conclusion we took a moment earlier.

Because we’re unpredictable, a definitive answer to the question: How can I generate more revenue, is impossible to answer?

It’s all about trust!

Knowing the speed of our decision making and understanding the principles of decision making helps towards creating valuable websites.

Web designers spend countless hours deciding which font to use and which colours look great, hoping this will envoke a form of trust or even convince a client to buy a product.

Pretty looking sites have very little to do with the success of a website.
However, they can establish a credible first impression, but that’s all.

While we all find pretty design necessary, I’ve never heard customers mention they refrained from purchasing a product because the website used a font such as Arial or Helvetica instead of a more modern font.

I have also never heard a customer unwilling to sign up to a webinar because of a lousy looking logo or choice of colours.

Some of the most mediocre visual appealing sites are the sites which do very well. Let’s take Amazon.com as an example.

Compare Amazon.com to several other e-commerce sites, and you’ll arguably find other sites visually more appealing. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at a random product page on Amazon.

The colours, the font sizes, the text is all crammed together. It’s a visual mess.

It’s because we trust Amazon, Apple and other brands we accept the way they’ve designed their sites. Replace the logo with any different no-name logo, and we might be more hesitant to purchase or even sign up for a free newsletter.

Us humans are attracted to beauty. We like beautiful designs; we want elegantly designed cars, we love beautiful looking people. Because something or somebody beautiful makes us feel comfortable.

According to Blue Corona, 48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business.

However, the absence of proper content will destroy that small piece of credibility you may have won by presenting a pretty designed site.

To give you an example where content prevails. You may find the latest Audi stunning from seeing an ad, but if this beauty of a car drives as fast as a tractor (content), you won’t consider buying the Audi at all.

The chances you’ll ever consider an Audi (example) is very slim.

Even if Apple would create the ugliest looking phone, people would still buy the phone. Not because of the design, but they’d buy it because they trust the brand.

Decision making is all about trust.

Besides early adapters, humans heavily rely on trust. If we trust something, we’re all eyes and ears, and if all ‘feel’ good, we’ll even purchase a product.

Having people purchase a product from your store, order a service or even fill out a contact form is the first step of a client saying “Hey, I trust you”.

If you haven’t established trust, you may offer the best deal or cheapest deal it won’t guarantee people will buy your product.

If you haven’t established trust, no one will fill out your contact form (unless they have a complaint).

If you haven’t established trust, you’ll notice nobody will download your free e-book.

If you nobody knows who you are and what you do, chances are your AdWords, Social Media advertising etc. won’t deliver the required results either.

How to build trust

Building a trustworthy brand can be done by any company; it doesn’t matter if you’re starting up or have been in business for a long time.

Startups traditionally have no followers and low trust level. All they have is a product or an idea.

By the way, 90% of the startups close the doors within a few years of launching. The ones with millions of investments close sooner.

Most of these startups have developed excellent solutions and products, yet the majority fail to succeed because they ignore building a trust relationship with their potential audience.

They’re so busy with perfecting their product they tend to forget what matters.

Humans won’t buy your product because you happen to sell it. No, humans will buy your product if they trust you.

Read this article here from TheStartup.

Having people trust you or your product isn’t something you can achieve overnight, and once you’ve established a bit of trust, the journey doesn’t stop there either.

You will need to build a trust relationship with your clients continuously — twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Selling a commodity product such as a smartphone for the lowest price isn’t building trust with your clients either. You’re only teaching them you have a reasonable price.

Guaranteeing number 1 rankings in Google (if you are offering SEO services) isn’t going to improve the perception of trust either. It raises more doubts because we’ve all been screwed over in the past by some company promising results.

The above examples are RESULTS. Building trust based on results is typically a disaster waiting to happen.

Sound weird?

Let’s share an example I ran into a few days ago.

A random entrepreneur called up and asked about our services. We had an excellent talk for about 30 minutes.

I asked what his annual revenue is, average order value, conversion rates etc.

Just before we concluded the call, he asked me what kind of guarantees I could provide. “If I’m going to invest $19k I would like to make sure my money won’t be wasted, what guarantees can you provide”.

Because I’ve been in business for a while now, I was expecting he would throw the guarantee inquiry. If he didn’t, I’ve learned by experience chances are slim we’ll be doing business.

But I’m not in the insurance business.

Me: What kind of guarantees are you seeking after?

Client: I want you to guarantee I’ll see a return on my investment

Me: What return specifically?

Client: Well, the 19k. I don’t want to blow it all away.

Me: All you know for sure is that you’re hiring someone who is going to attempt to reach your goals. You shared your annual revenue with me.

You’re seeking to bump your conversion rates to 4%, which is 13% improvement. 13% improvement is worth 550k.

So the deal is, you invest $19K with a perfect chance of improving your ANNUAL revenue boost of 550k. Not to forget that if all works to plan year two should deliver even better bottom-line results.

How much time and money have you spent so far to reach these goals?

[Client] Where do I sign?

So how do you build trust with an online store?

Well as you may have guessed it, there’s no definitive answer but here are 20 tips you can use as a guideline. Please remember, following these tips won’t change the confidence of your visitors overnight. You’ll have to be patient and work hard building trust.

1. Live chat support
It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, but if you have a support centre or selling product to consumers, you must consider adding live chat support. You may find people still call or mail but for them knowing you’re there to help out boosts confidence and can be yet another motivator for a consumer to purchase your product or service.

2. Content
If you visit an e-commerce site with lousy product information, typo’s and what not most visitors will click away. People don’t trust sites with typos. Adding product-related videos, FAQ’s, links to the product specifications, trustworthy consumer reviews, quality images, and so on.

You may have experienced this yourself when purchasing something online.

At shop A you see the product for $100, Shop B sells the same product for $110. Because Shop B has more information, live chat support, product videos, the whole works you find yourself more comfortable purchasing from Shop B.

It’s that ‘gut feeling’ which will lead more people to buy from shop B than shop A. In fact, there’s no such thing as a gut feeling. It’s your brain which is causing that feeling.

Intuition or gut feelings are also the result of a lot of processing that happens in the brain.

Research suggests that the brain is a large predictive machine, constantly comparing incoming sensory information and current experiences against stored knowledge and memories of previous experiences, and predicting what will come next.

This is described in what scientists call the “predictive processing framework”.

source: http://theconversation.com/is-it-rational-to-trust-your-gut-feelings-a-neuroscientist-explains-95086

So as an e-commerce shop owner, you need to be aware of the fact pricing is relevant only to a certain extent and for a specific type of customer.

The majority of consumers will purchase from shop B.

3. Interaction with your consumers (after the purchase).
This is where it gets interesting and where you can skyrocket trust levels and do that I’ll explain with a concrete example.

A few months ago, my wife said she had a gut feeling the washing machine was reaching its final days.

4. Say what you do and do what you say
I’m sure you’ve been disappointed before because you were promised delivery on a specific day only to receive a ‘Sorry we’re out of stock’ or ‘Sorry, our delivering company has messed up” mail.

As consumers, we know many things can go wrong with deliveries, we also know, and people make mistakes. No surprises here either.

A lousy apology email kills trust any confidence a client has. a “Bad news” mail is not what your clients want. They want personal interaction.

They’d rather hear the bad news explained by a person rather than a standard email. Sending emails is simple, but talking to the client and understanding their frustration and trying to help them although the lack of stock, will improve trust levels.

Consumers may go to social media and complain, but what would you rather have?
A post with this: “I hate this company….the product was in stock, and now I got some stupid email saying they’re sorry…” or

“The company said the product was in stock, but they called to tell me they had made a mistake. They offered the following solution…”

5. Reviews
Yes, I’m sure you know user reviews are essential, however, validated and trustworthy reviews are even better. Not long ago, I purchased a new washing machine.

I finally found a washing machine which fit my needs then I read the reviews from others that bought the same machine.

It came to my attention some people filled out user-reviews such as excellent durability.

This particular washing machine launched five months ago.
Why would anyone state the durability of this washing machine was excellent.

I bought the washing machine but a week after I received an automated email asking me to write a review and if I write a review I’ll receive a 5% discount the next time I buy something.

As you may imagine, I clicked on the link, and yes there it was…the durability question which happened to be a required question.

Generally speaking, people aren’t idiots, but you can imagine my trust level of these reviews is in doubt.

Chances are I’ll purchase products based on the reviews of this site are very slim.

What a petty because user reviews can be constructive towards building trust and improve sales conversions.

However if people read the reviews and they aren’t trustworthy or the client senses these reviews are good to be true this can reflect the clients trust in your store also.

By moderating reviews you’ll be doing yourself and your visitors a great favour.

To conclude

Building trust isn’t something you will achieve overnight. It can take years on end but if you follow the tips

I’ve given you may find your sales conversions and customer life time value will improve much faster.

Maybe you’d like to share your tips what you have done to improve trust levels for your e-commerce site? Please comment below!