How to Inspire Customer Confidence in Times of Uncertainty

By Margo Ovsiienko - October 21, 2020
6 mins read time
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The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the growing popularity of online shopping. In the U.S. alone, eCommerce sales increased by 30 percent between the first and second quarters of 2020.

Conservative shoppers, who usually choose to buy in physical retail stores, are now being forced to shop online more often.

How can you make sure your online store builds trust among more skeptical users who can abandon their cart in just a few clicks of a mouse? Moreover, what can you do to get them to spend more money with you in the times of economic turbulence?

This article will dive deeper into the strategies for building trust with online shoppers and inspiring confidence for purchasing in your store.

How to build trust with online shoppers

You can make more sales by implementing these seven smart strategies for instilling trust among online shoppers.

1. Improve your page performance

Make sure your page loads fast as online shoppers hate to wait! Pages that load longer than five seconds increase the bounce rate by 90 percent. The faster the page is, the better it is for user retention on your site. However, anything below three seconds would work well.

Make sure you offer online shoppers the client experience they deserve in 2020 and beyond—seamless, user-friendly and intuitive.
So how can you check if your page has significant performance issues?

Head over to free sites, like GTMetrix, and paste your website URL to get a performance report that will tell you what needs to be fixed to improve page speed.

Also, consider using heatmaps to identify where your users find your store experience confusing.

With heatmaps, you can track customer behavior better to understand how users interact with your website and what causes them to abandon their carts. Consider implementing short surveys on the website to understand the reasons behind certain actions your customers take.

Once you have identified the reason behind bounce rates and shopping cart abandonment, you can now develop a plan to introduce improvements to your online store and start getting more purchases.

2. Enhance communication on returns

Business owners hate returns and refunds! Don’t you agree? However, making them an easy and effortless process can build trust with your shoppers for long years to come. In fact, the ease of refunds contributes to customer satisfaction by a whopping 58 percent.

Just think about it! Perhaps, your client made the wrong choice with a shoe size or color. As a result, they decided to return the product. By making returns difficult and unclear, you will only cause your customer to air their disappointment on social media and leave you bad reviews.

On the contrary, showing a customer a simple return process and having them experience it will help users finalize a purchase in your store faster.

To get those who have returned goods back to your store, implement smart retargeting ads on social media platforms and Google. When you hook them with some product, they won’t hesitate to buy it as their latest experience with your store was positive and they had no past problems with returns and refunds.

For example, Zappos offers free return shipping and 365 days to return unwanted products—a killer offer!

3. Engage customers on product pages

Consider using live chat software and automated chatbot messages to support users with more information throughout their buying process. Build dynamic chatbot scenarios to provide users with recommendations, offer complementary products and upsell more.

Don’t leave your customers alone when they need a final push to make a decision—make sure your customer service performs well and supports your marketing efforts.

Educate your customers and provide them with all the necessary information about the product. Write detailed descriptions that not only include product specifications and interactive product videos, but also communicate value.

For example, show how your product can be put into action to resolve a specific need your target customer is dealing with.
Here is how the Away online store helps travelers choose the most optimal option for a suitcase. Make it easier to decide what product your shoppers need and, as a result, finalize a purchase faster.

4. Boost trust with influencers

Ninety percent of marketers experience better ROI with influencer marketing campaigns than with other channels.

With the impact influencer marketing can have on your sales, you should consider running a couple of tests with this channel. Partner up with the people who have already built connections with your target audience and could share their clout to help strengthen your brand awareness.

Prepare exclusive discounts or time-limited offers as an incentive to try out a new product and get influencers to show them to their followers. Remember to make cooperation profitable and enjoyable for your partners as well by paying upfront or offering a commission on sales.

You have probably heard about the success of Daniel Wellington’s watches and the brand’s influencer marketing campaigns that went viral on Instagram.

The company, which was once a $15,000 startup, transformed into a dynamic brand reaching $220 million in revenue by 2015. All this in just five years without any investment in traditional advertising channels—just a strong focus on influencer marketing campaigns.

So how can you prepare a successful influencer marketing campaign? Incentivize both an influencer and convert their audiences into your loyal customers. In most cases, an influencer receives a commission on the generated sales, while a customer gets a discount.

5. Include product reviews

Product reviews are a powerful mechanism to build trust. A whopping 92 percent of buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. What if your business has some negative reviews you would like to hide?

That should not be the reason for worrying. Sixty-seven percent of users perceive reviews as more trustworthy if they see a mix of both positive and negative reviews.

That is why you should focus your effort on getting more reviews from customers and integrating them on product pages. Getting reviews can be a time-consuming process, but in most cases, you can get them relatively fast if you act with a strategy.

Check out how Barefut managed to increase product reviews by 581 percent in just four months by sending drip campaigns with a request for a review. Here is how they integrated customer reviews on their webpage for each product.

Authentic and in-depth reviews help customers decide about purchasing a product and set the right expectations.

Harness social listening tools to catch any mentions about your brand online and react fast by responding to negative reviews while, at the same time, using positive ones for your brand’s advantage.

6. Feature security certificates

There are multiple reasons why shoppers abandon carts: they vary from shipping costs and taxes to return policies. However, a big chunk of abandonment—19 percent—is caused by security concerns.

To build more trust with online shoppers, you should implement high-security standards and acquire certificates and trust badges. Show trust badges to the shoppers who are thinking of buying your products. Consider incorporating them on a checkout page as well.

So what are the most popular certificates you should consider using?

Conversion XL has conducted a study to identify what badges inspire more trust among consumers.


It turned out that Paypal, Norton and Verisign ranked the best. To sum up, the more familiar the badge looks to a consumer, the more secure they feel when paying for products. It means you should consider using a more recognizable trust badge on your website in favor of more affordable badges no one knows about just yet.

7. Implement a referral program

By introducing referral programs and loyalty rewards, you can turn your current customers into your most powerful sales engine. What makes a referral program effective? The right incentive for both a customer who recommends your online store and their friend who decides to use the offer.

For example, WoolOvers have designed their program to focus on the outcome—the first finished purchase. A customer who refers a friend receives £50 off the next purchase only when a referred friend buys products, while the referred friend is incentivized with 20 percent discount on the first purchase. Not only does this program help attract new customers, but it also encourages current clients to buy more and, as a result, helps increase customer lifetime value.

Wrap up

Even though people are less likely to spend money in a crisis, you can leverage psychological mechanisms, which will help better connect with customers, establish trust and convince them to buy in your store.

To wrap up, you can use multiple smart tools for eCommerce and the following elements to boost trust in times of uncertainty:

  • Improve your page performance
  • Enhance communication on returns
  • Make product pages more engaging
  • Kick off influencer campaigns
  • Collect and show product reviews
  • Incorporate trust badges
  • Create an effective referral program

Note that you can start with just one growth marketing strategy and proceed with the others later—one step at a time!

Margo Ovsiienko

Growth Marketing Strategist. She creates content that converts website visitors into paying customers for SaaS companies and tech agencies. Learn about Margo's hands on experience in marketing on her personal blog, Margo Leads.

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