┐by: Julie Martin
Shopping online can be a very scary experience for some consumers. Every day they are barraged with commercials about stolen identities, news reports on Internet company fraud and worries about their personal information being sold to the highest bidder. In order for your company to stay afloat, you are going to need to build online credibility.
The first step towards credibility is making sure your url and your site have a professional appearance. While the free hosting sites are terrific, they usually offer second level domain names, or www.webhost.com/yourcompanyname. It makes a much better impression if your url says www.yourcompanyname.com. There are several domain registrars that offer domain registrations for as little as $6.95, which is money well spent. A professional look to your website will also instill consumer confidence. Make sure your graphics are kept to a minimum and the overall design of your site is uncluttered and easy to navigate.
A visible or easily accessible link to a physical address and contact information is an absolute must for any business website. If you can afford a toll-free number, it┐s a great idea to invest in one. It gives the impression that you are serious about your business. If you can┐t afford one, it is still a good idea to post a contact number where your customers can reach you. There are a lot of fly by night operations in existence on the Internet and consumers will usually look for contact information to put their minds at ease.
If you plan to have a merchant account to accept credit cards online, you can sign up for Veri-Sign, which is an added security measure for commerce websites. Many consumers look for this on the sites that they frequent and it can make a real difference in converting window shoppers to actual buyers. Anything you can do to put your customer┐s mind at ease will translate into more sales for your company.
Offering a guarantee on your product or service can go a long way. For example, a simple 30-day money back guarantee can substantially increase your products selling ratio. If you can┐t afford to offer a money back guarantee and you are selling tangible items, you can offer an exchange of items or a store credit towards future purchases.
When you design your website, it is a good idea to make sure your policies are clear. Make sure that the information can be read before a customer purchases anything on your website. By taking steps before a sale to ensure the customer understands your policies, it will help clear up any misunderstandings before they happen.
The Better Business Bureau offers a program for small businesses to put up the BBB seal on your website. To many consumers in the United States, this can make all the difference. There is a charge for this service, so you will need to see if this program is feasible for your business.
Once you have taken care of these things, you will need to make sure that you keep in contact with your customers in some way. A regularly published e-zine is an effective way to reach out to all of your customers at the same time and still keep the relationship personal. By offering free information and helpful tips, you start to build a rapport with your customers and most importantly, you can keep them coming back for more.
There are many ways to build consumer confidence but the best method of all is great customer service. Going the extra mile for your customers, letting them know that they are always right (even when they aren┐t) can make you stand out from the crowd and create lasting relationships.
About The Author
Julie Martin is the publisher of ┐The Iscaweb eZine┐ a weekly eZine dedicated to increasing your online profits, no matter what you are selling. Julie also uses the ┐Plug-In-Profit┐ system to GREAT effect!
Julie also uses the ┐Plug-in-profit┐ system to GREAT effect.
To subscribe to the eZine, or to learn more about the Plug-In-Profit system visit: http://www.iscaweb.com