As long as the internet has been around, it has allowed us a certain level of anonymity. We can shop in
our underwear, flirt without makeup, work without commuting, and comment on political issues we
may not have broached "live."
But in this ever-faceless online world, we are on both sides of the mask of anonymity. We can enjoy being faceless, but we yearn for signs that we can trust the faceless masks on the other side of the monitor.
Internet users have been cheated, hacked, defrauded, and robbed of their identities. We are skeptical and cynical as shoppers and subconsciously scrutinize websites for security loopholes or verifiable identities.
In these uncertain times, we need assurances to build our confidence. We are weary of submitting our real email addresses for fear of phishing scams or being sold to third party spammers. We shy away from providing credit card information to unknown sites because we dread falling prey to hackers and identity thieves. We need a way to ease our panic about doing business with the unfamiliar. Enter, the trust seal.
Trust seals improve website conversion by adding a level of security that assures visitors the site is known, safe, and secure.
As consumers, we may not follow every news story about leaked private information. We may not understand the technical implications of how hackers get credit card information for the Target systems or how the NSA is snooping, but we know that these things are happening and we are sure that we do not want them to happen to us.
Trust seals that guarantee a website’s privacy have been shown to improve customer experience, that is – the feeling customer have while achieving their goal on a website. When a user is certain that their private information will remain private, they are less likely to abandon shopping carts or other conversions mid-process.
In a recent survey1, 61% of participants said they had decided not to purchase a product because it was missing a trust seal. Offering seals that ensure a website is free of vulnerabilities and security loopholes increases conversions. It allows users to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that viruses, malware, and hackers will not be able to reach them or their data.
With trust seals, we see trust levels raised and conversion rates increased while cart abandonment and bounce rates drop.
Customer experience analytics enables us to examine what users equate with credibility. There are the obvious web design elements, as Dr. Brent Coker observed, “as aesthetically orientated humans, we’re psychologically hardwired to trust beautiful people, and the same goes for websites . . . Websites that are more attractive and include more trimmings create a greater feeling of trustworthiness and professionalism in consumers.” So, invest in clean design, add contact information wherever appropriate, link to policies, show testimonials, and use trust seals.
How to measure trust seal effectiveness
When implementing trust seals, or any other new element to a website, it is critical to test the customer experience implications. By testing how different users experience the website on different platforms (mobile, tablet, and desktop) with and without the trust seals in place, we can assess the success of their effect.
We can also test placing the seals in different locations, using different kinds of seals, and optimizing their design.
About the Author
Sam Green is the Chief Content Editor for ClickTale, a technology evangelist in the growing field of digital customer experience. Sam has over 15 years of experience in developing thought leadership content and an MSc in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the University of Southampton.