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Customers tend to make snap judgements about whether they can trust your company by looking at your site, so it's important to give the right first impression.

As many people still have concerns about shopping online, your website needs to appear as credible and trustworthy as possible.

Here are some tips:

  • Display your privacy / security policiesAccording to a TNS / TRUSTe survey, the majority of online shoppers don't necessarily check out a website's privacy policy, but 28% check that a site has one and 20% will take the trouble to read it.

    For the customers who have concerns about these issues, it is important that they can find your site's privacy policy easily and be reassured about the safety of their payment and personal information.

  • A clean, well designed websiteThis is very important as customers will take their first impressions from the look of the site. If it looks cheap and nasty, then chances are they'll hit the back button instantly.

    For instance, this site, with Google ads all over the product page and a ghastly green colour scheme, doesn't inspire confidence:

    Cheap TVs

This site, by contrast, has a more professional, clean design and is much more credible as a result.

Flat TV Company

  • Display contact detailsThis is a no-brainer. Many consumers will simply not shop with a website that doesn't display these details, and rightly so.

    A contact telephone number is essential, while the company address and email contacts will go some way to assuring the customer that they can trust your website.

    Better still, display a contact number prominently so users don't need to hunt around for it. This may help to clinch a sale if customers require extra information.  

  • Make room for both good and bad reviewsReviews are an excellent way to make your site more credible to shoppers as they can show that others have successfully shopped at your site and have been happy with the experience.

Amazon reviews

Your credibility will be further enhanced if you are prepared to showcase negative as well as positive reviews, as with Amazon in the example above.

This will show the customer that you are open and honest and the bad reviews will have the effect of making positive reviews more believable.

  • Show server security/trust logos

    Having third party certification of a site, such as VeriSign, ISIS or HackerSafe, is usually persuasive evidence that the site can be trusted. Online shoppers are used to seeing these symbols on other sites and will wonder why your site doesn't have them.

    You should display more than just the logo though, and ensure that it links to further information about the validity of the certificate.

Next - VeriSign

  • Don't give customers any surprises

    Be upfront about any extra charges for accessories, or the delivery costs before they reach the checkout. Finding out at such a late stage will infuriate many customers.

    Also, if you need to take any personal details, explain to customers why these are necessary.

Related research:
Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2006  

Related stories:
Trust in online shopping improving - study
Internet crime feared more than burglary in the UK  

Graham Charlton

Published 20 February, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Kaya PPC, Internet Marketing Manager at Optimised Media

The way you would improve perceived credibility of an e-commerce site compared to an information based site is very different. In terms of search results have a presence in both paid and natural results also enhances this credibility.

Kaya, Optimised Media
Internet Marketing

over 8 years ago


Daniel La Porte

I agree with the previous comment. While all of the points raised are true of an e-commerce site, only a few would hold relevance for the perceived credibility of an information or services based site. It would be interesting to hear your views on how the credibility of a site that does not sell products, can be increased through more than just the appearance and / or content.

over 8 years ago



After reading this posting it brings to mind my local team's website which I had a look at earlier in the week and everything I saw upset me about usability. First of all when you visit the homepage you get an ad before reaching the home page!

Then once you enter the site there is so much content it is confusing and then when I went to have a look at their premium TV section it took me several minutes to figure out where the form was:

It would be interesting to see a usability expert have a look at this site as it annoyed me and didn't establish its credibility.

over 8 years ago


Julie Power

A very good SEO expert told me that putting hacker safe on your Web site is like waving a red flag in front of a bull: Just asking a hacker to gore and bloody your site ... How often do you hear of sites being hacked after putting those sorts of seals up? I do know from my readers that they see conversions rise when they have a seal in a prominent spot above the fold.

over 8 years ago


Rapid Share

Credibility is essential in order to make people: register, click on your ads, download software, resort to your services and so on. Therefore, website credibility can be identified to some extent with the idea of a successful business. Credibility is vital in order to make users return to your page. On the other hand, when talking about this matter, it's worth mentioning that credibility is quite a general term comprising many factors like: usability, accessibility, security, search engine ranking etc. Very few people take credibility for a specialized issue to deal with; they concentrate their attention rather on the above mentioned factors, most of the time resulting in a failure to complete all the requirements for a credible website. This is an excellent article and is very helpful to me as a new e-commerce owner.

almost 7 years ago


search engine

You offered good ways. I advise to see new ways to improve credability on http://searchizz.com. I think after reading you will add new ways))

almost 6 years ago

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