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Online Businesses: How Can You Look More Professional To Clients and Customers?

When you walk into a physical store or a business such as a laundrette, printing shop or florist, you don’t doubt that it’s a professional business. With a nicely laid out storefront and shop floor, staff that you can see in person and customers coming in and out, you have absolutely no reason to doubt the legitimacy of the businesses. However, online it’s a different ballgame.

When anyone with basic computer knowledge can whip up a convincing looking website, people are naturally cautious about scams and fraud when shopping online from companies they’ve never used. While it can be difficult in the beginning to build up that trust, there are things you can do to put people’s mind at ease and help to sway those potential customers that are on the fence about ordering. Here are a few ways you can go about it.

Build Your Brand

People have confidence in brands. This is because when you buy a brand, you’re not simply paying the extra for a logo or slogan. You know that the company is reliable and trustworthy, their products or services are well researched and of a high standard. Building your own brand will mean potential clients are far more likely to trust you.

Start by working out your target audience and how you will appeal to them. The trick isn’t just to sell them things. Instead, you’re selling a concept or a lifestyle. Are you selling the idea of a fun-filled, party lifestyle to students or the idea of a super organized office to entrepreneurs?

Are you helping busy parents feel like they really can do it all? Spend some time really thinking this through and getting it right.You will need to work with a designer to create your logo, which will be consistent across your website, app and any documents you print or send (such as email confirmation and receipts). You also need a catchy slogan which sums up what your brand is about.

Define what the main qualities and benefits your brand offer, this will help to set you apart from your competitors. What exactly is your unique selling point?

Do you offer special payment plans? Do you specialize in very high-end customers or those on a tight budget? If you study other similar businesses, it should give you a clue on where the market is currently lacking, allowing you to find your niche.

Get Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are invaluable to business. When potential customers can see positive reviews from real people, it can instill a lot of confidence in them and help them to trust your brand. Facebook business pages give customers the option of leaving reviews, and it allows you to click through and see the profiles of the people writing them it shows others that they’re from real people.

Third party review sites such as Reevoo and Trustpilot are also extremely useful. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to offer incentives in return for reviews, but you could always send a polite follow-up email after a purchase giving people the chance to have their say.

Be aware that just as good reviews can hugely boost business, bad ones can damage it massively. Be sure that you’re providing every customer with the best service and being honest and understanding when things (as they sometimes will) go wrong.

Manage Your Social Media Accounts Well

If people are unsure about whether a business is reliable and trustworthy, one of the first things they will do is head over to the site’s social media accounts. Seeing that you have a good following and are responsive to messages helps to show them that you’re not simply going to take their money and then disappear of the face of the earth.

Building up a loyal following can take time, but keep putting out a good service and people will come. Make it worth people’s while following you. Perhaps you could share exclusive discount codes or run competitions? Customers are far more likely to follow you if there’s something in it for them.

Have Clear Contact Details

One thing customers who are iffy about making their first purchase with you will want is to know that they can get in contact if something goes wrong. Clear contact details on your website are an absolute must. If you run your business from home, how about paying for a ‘virtual address’? These give you the physical address of a nice professional looking office block and will forward any mail onto you to.

Instead of just redirecting paperwork, many will actually scan and email you documents you receive making it really easy to manage your mail. A landline telephone number, a professional email address and a live chat service are other things that will build trust. Customers know that should anything happen and their transaction goes wrong they can get hold of someone who can put it right.

Use Paypal

Entering your payment details into a site you’ve never used before is enough to make anyone feel anxious. Even if you’re pretty certain the site is legitimate, it can be enough to make some people have second thoughts and click out before completing their order. However, Paypal can come to the rescue. Everyone knows how safe and reliable this service is, and it not only protects the buyers but you as a seller too.

When customers know that should anything go wrong with their transaction Paypal will sort it, they’re far more likely to bite the bullet and go for it. It only takes a few minutes to sign up for a business account, and there are lots of gadgets that integrate easily into any website.

For a brand new online business, things can be a little slow at first. But do what you can to prove that you’re a professional, reliable and trustworthy service and you will soon gain momentum.

Have you had any trouble with untrusting customers as a new online business?