eCommerce buying guidelines in 2017

You can trust me

You can trust me

Know, like and trust are terms relative to – sales, and not just in face-to-face meetings with a sales representative, but also on the Internet. Billions of dollars are spent online every year, much of that with businesses you’ve never heard of, so those three attributes need to be addressed in your marketing strategy.

Social media sites – most noticeably Facebook, use the “like” button to convey trust, but most business websites rely on professional design, value-add solutions content and competitive pricing to carry the day. And this is where online buyers can sometime get into trouble.

Trust in know, like and trust

Trust in know, like and trust

The ‘lock’ icon and https: lend credibility – to the security of financial transactions, but even fraudulent (or less than honest) businesses can obtain SSL certificates. There are things to look for on sites that imply trust, like a brick and mortar address and phone number.

It’s amazing how many ecommerce sites have NO contact information other than a general email address, or contact form. Plus, some use Domain Privacy Protection to hide ownership information about the site itself.

Would I do business with ecommerce sites that hide their identity? Never, but they’re still out there taking people’s money. I cannot reinforce this strongly enough – you need to be careful when you’re purchasing anything online. The Internet is littered with scammers.

Testimonials convey trust – but not so much if only first names are used, or if the hyperlink points to the site you’re presently visiting. Case studies convey way more trust than testimonials, unless of course those are video testimonials.

I do remember years ago, where a web hosting provider mailed video cameras to a number of their clients to record their own video testimonials. I believe that was back in 2008. Today, everyone and their brother carries a computer and camcorder in their pocket or purse. It’s called a smartphone.

video testimonials

Video testimonials

Clients don’t need a recording studio to film a testimonial for your business, nor do they need expensive video equipment. In fact, video testimonials produced by the clients themselves go over far better than professionally developed videos.

Why? It’s word of mouth, it’s down to earth and it conveys truthfulness. And when those are combined, it presents an extremely powerful incentive to buy.

I once visited a site where the owner was inquiring – how to improve his ranking on Google. One of the first things I noticed on his site was that it had two testimonials from different individuals, but listing the same URL for each.

The first testimonial raved about a service they didn’t even offer on their site, which immediately seemed strange and raised lots of red flags.

The second raved about their customer support. I was curious, so I did a WHOIS on the URL that was listed on the testimonials, and it turns out that domain has never been registered, and the site I was on has only been online for four months.

Trusted

Trusted

Would I trust my credit card with that business – not in a million years, and not because the site itself wasn’t professionally designed, or offered solutions that matched my specific requirements, or were even attractively priced. Their trust factor had been compromised.

I, like many others, don’t put a lot of faith in text testimonials, just because it’s so hard to know if they’re real or not. I want to see specifics, not just that they did a fantastic job. And it doesn’t get much better when you search for reviews online.

For web hosting reviews – most of the top ten review sites are simply advertising venues, where positive reviews from affiliates flood the site. Worse yet, many of the brands found on these sites have the same parent company and share a central support facility.

The service and pricing from one provider there may be more appealing than another, but it’s the same company – just different branding. Bottom line is that there is no one best web hosting provider, only the one that is best for you.

A word of caution – unlimited is not actually unlimited. Check each of their Terms of Service for their respective resource limitations. You will be very surprised. You’ll either be limited by number of inodes, percentage of CPU in a specific period of time or one of a number of other limitations.

Red flags

Red flags

Beware of red flags when – pondering whether to share your credit card info with businesses online. The Internet is littered with scammers like a minefield. Be careful where you step.

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Steve

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