Almost two billion people shop online each year.
This demand has created opportunities for millions of entrepreneurs who profit from this online exchange from goods and services.
Of course, the online market is by definition online. You often can’t experience these goods or services for yourself prior to purchase. This raises obvious issues.
If you are running a company that few people have heard of — it’s natural that customers will have doubts about your service. It’s normal for them to worry about credit card details being stolen or that the goods & services they paid might never be delivered.
As an online business owner, what are you to do?
To address their worries, you need to provide assurances that you will deliver. One of the best ways to generate trust and increase sales is to add trust badges to your website.
Today we’ll be looking at why trust badges are important in increasing conversion rates and how to use them for your own website. This guide will review how websites use trust badges for data security and payment assurance. We’ll then go on to cover how to use trust badges to increase interest in your online products or services.
How to use trust badges to increase sales
According to a 2018 Statista report, 74.6% of potential customers who visited an e-commerce store abandoned their shopping carts.
There are many reasons why this might happen. As you can see from this study by the Baymard Institute, the most frequently cited reason is the site wanted me to create an account.
In fifth place, 18% of respondents, or roughly one in five people, cited security concerns as a reason for not making a purchase. That’s a high percentage. An ounce of doubt could immediately have your visitor running in the opposite direction, which is a problem if you want to make money blogging or profit from an online business.
Trust badges are a popular method of addressing these security concerns.
What is a trust badge?
A trust badge is a logo or a symbol that you display on your site to assure a visitor that your business is legitimate. It verifies to a stranger that they can (and should) entrust their personal information with you. Payment trust seals are especially important for small businesses that don’t have brand recognition like Amazon and Walmart do.
When used correctly, trust badges can have a big impact on conversion rates. In a Blue Fountain Media case study, they conducted an experiment on how the addition of a trust badge to a page affected the conversion rate of their forms.
In the experiment, they replaced a Privacy Note assuring the customer’s data is safe and secure with the website with a VeriSign trust badge. Although the change was minimal, the results were significant.
By simply adding a Verisign trust badge in the checkout page, Blue Fountain Media’s form conversion rate increased by 42%.
This is a good illustration of how trust and sales go together. When buyers feel they can trust your website, they are more likely to make a purchase.
In a survey conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna, 48% of the participants indicated that trust badges or trust marks were one of the most important things they considered when shopping online.
Which trust badge should you choose for your business?
While it should be clear at this point that trust badges do in fact work, the problem you will encounter is that there are many different options to choose between. You need to choose a trust badge that your customers quickly recognize and trust.
There are actually two overlapping industries that provide trust badges which can improve conversion rates: software security and payment platforms.
Software security badges indicate your website is secure. Examples of trust badges for this sector include SSL certifications (that padlock on a URL that many people take for granted) and trust badges from well-known antivirus software providers such as McAfee or Norton.
The other sector that provides trust badges are the payment platforms. Trust badges for this vertical come from online payment processors like Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard. These add free trust to your site.
But they still inspire trust in the transaction because customers commonly use these payment platforms — and trust the brands. If you use your Visa card frequently and trust their cardholder guarantees, you’re probably more likely to trust a site that features their logo.
Today, there are a lot of trust badges to choose from. Fortunately, Actual Insights has statistics on which trust badges people are most widely recognized:
And in 2013, the Baymard Institute conducted a study that asked respondents, “which badge gives you the best sense of trust when paying online?”
Here were the results:
Then in 2016, they conducted another survey and received similar results. Norton still topped the list, taking 35.6 percent of the votes. However, McAfee rose up to the second spot with 22.9% of the votes:
CXL also conducted a similar survey and had a slightly different conclusion:
According to the CXL results, PayPal is perceived as the most secure among all the trust badges (with 63% saying it “adds a lot of security”). This is followed by Norton (with “49% saying that it “adds a lot of security”).
“Customers seek security through familiarity. If they recognize the brand or product/badge name or look they will be way more likely to engage. Our research and testing has shown that increasing trust through prototypically and brand awareness/familiarity increases both perceptions of security and ultimately conversion rates.”Ben Labay, CXL
How do you take advantage of this correlation between trust badges and conversions? We’ll be taking a closer look at in the next section.
How do you promote your trust badge?
Once you have decided which trust badge you want to include on your site, it’s time to identify when and how you use it.
As I mentioned earlier, trust tends to waver when a customer is about to make a purchase. This is the point at which a trust badge can be reassuring to a customer. The trust badge helps convince a person that your website can be trusted and that their information is protected.
You can see this in the way people scan down and across during checkout page. According to CXL, customers observational patterns on a website when preparing to make a purchase are quite similar. They search for reassurance.
If you look closely, you can see how the customer takes in the trust badge as they prepare to make the purchase. And regardless of the badge, the customer continues to follow a similar eye path.
This means you have to make sure the trust badge is easy to see.
You can do this by adapting the design of your checkout form. A nice example of how you might do this is through the visual mockup outlined below.
You can see how simply moving a trust badge and changing the background color draws your attention to the section where you input your credit card details. It’s a simple change that immediately reassures a person that the transaction is secure.
How to use niche-specific trust badges
Trust badges do more than promote online security, they can also provide confidence in the quality of the product or service. You can achieve this by creating user review-based trust badges.
One of the first companies to develop these types of trust badges was TripAdvisor. They leveraged the online ratings users were generating about local businesses and turned them into trust signals. Tripadvisor trust badges are now utilized within the website design of hotel websites, and travel agencies across the globe.
It was a great growth strategy that helped TripAdvisor emerge as a leader in online travel.
Companies leverage the reputation of the larger business with these third-party badges to assure clients about the quality of their service. These user rating trust badges can have a significant positive impact on a company’s bottom line.
A study conducted about Yelp found a one-star rating increase could result in a 5-9% increase in revenue.
The success of this model has resulted in imitators springing up across different niches. In the online software niche, the two dominant players are G2 and Capterra. You can find their trust badges on the homepage of software businesses across the Internet.
By adding G2 trust badges on the homepage, Chartio leverages the reputation of G2, a larger and more-trusted brand, for themselves. This is also the case for SignNow, which uses third-party endorsements to boost reputation.
Adding both trust badges and reviews to your site provide your potential customers with a preview of your standard of service. By associating your business with a reputable and larger organization, you give the people the reassurance that you can be trusted.
The relationship between your business and your endorser does not benefit one party alone. While your webpage leverages from the reputation of the larger organization, the larger organization improves its own reputation by being heralded as an “impartial” judge of your specific niche.
Trust your trust badges
Two of the most important factors for a customer to consider when making a purchase are the quality of the products or services provided by a company and the security of a transaction.
A well-designed payment form that incorporates trust badges can significantly improve the conversion rate. In much the same way, user review trust badges used on the landing page of a website can help generate overall trust and goodwill for your company.
With this in mind, it is worth reviewing how you are using trust badges across your website. Split test your checkout pages to discover if there is the opportunity to leverage trust badges to improve your conversion rates and increase company revenue!
Nico is an online marketer and the founder of Launch Space. He’s worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups helping them develop content marketing strategies that align with their business goals. Every week he shortlists the best lifetime software deals on the net.