Building trust without customer reviews

The opinions we find most compelling are always our own.

This is true for you, and it’s true for your customers. It’s far easier to give people the information they need to reach their own opinions than it is to convince them to agree with your opinions.

High performing e-commerce sites give customers the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

In e-commerce, sharing customer reviews is one of the most effective ways to offer information. Retail giant Amazon is probably the best example of the power of customer reviews, and the success that can come from leveraging them well.

But customer feedback is not the only way to win buyer confidence. There are several ways you can establish trust as a fresh upstart and grow your e-commerce business.

In this post, you’ll learn 7 strategies to win customer trust and start growing your e-commerce business from the ground up.

Lead with objections

This one may sound like crazy talk, and successful execution may require you to fight against every sales focused atom of your being, but stay with me, there’s a method to this madness.

Reading a glowing review of anything, it’s human nature to consider the other side. In a situation where we know we are being sold to, this is especially true and our minds will search for every possible catch or hidden objection.

So don’t hide the objections.

If there’s a possible negative with your product, announce it immediately. Stop the customer’s mind from searching for possible objections and flip it into searching for positives.

Stella Artois is a European strength larger which is more expensive in the UK than competitor products because the UK government charge a greater duty on high alcohol content beverages. This duty is unavoidable, and in the early 80’s it was killing UK sales for the brand.

To deal with this, Stella Artois made its biggest customer objection into its biggest selling point, using the phrase “Reassuringly Expensive” as its campaign slogan from 1982 until 2007. This unashamed acknowledgment of price objection took away customer’s need to contemplate it and created a massively successful campaign which saw sales rise throughout the period it ran for.

Give Detail

There’s no such thing as too much detail in a product description, only poor delivery.

Customers want to know as much about a product as possible so that they can decide if it is right for them. Use bullet points to give an overview of key facts and features, then have a more in-depth product description. Be sure to include measurements and photos of items from all angles.

Video is the perfect method for giving customers lots of information without exhausting them.

Without customer reviews to rely on, you need to try and answer questions yourself. Look at similar items online that do have reviews and note what the customer felt was relevant to comment on. If you’re selling a weekend bag, don’t just have pictures of the bag and measurements. Many customers probably don’t really understand what a 20L capacity bag even means. They just want to know how many outfits they can put in the bag. So, say “ The 20L capacity is ideal for a change of clothes, a pair of shoes and a washbag.” Even better, have a short video and show a person putting clothes into the bag.

Don’t Be Faceless

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for love on a dating site or shopping for a new sofa on an e-commerce site, the scariest thing on the internet is always that you don’t really know who you’re talking to. Show potential customers that you’re not an e-commerce catfish by being open about who you are. Your about page is important for this. Talk about who started the business and what inspired it. Put a visual to your business with a photograph of your brick and mortar store if you have one, photos of pop up events and photos of staff.

Be Available

Make it easy for customers to speak with you. Your phone number and email address should be easy for customers to find, and email replies should be fast. A live chat function within your site will allow you to answer customer questions directly, in real time, and is probably one of the most solid trust indicators you can give to your potential customers. To show that there is an actual live person on the other side of the website, a person the customer can easily contact if they need to is very powerful.

Keeping social media regularly updated and interacting with customers on social media is also a powerful factor for encouraging trust.

Be Secure

Any website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate will now show as no secure in Google and most other browsers. This is obviously unsettling for a customer, especially if they have not purchased from you before. BigCommerce and Shopify sites have security issues such as this automatically addressed for them by their hosting provider, but for people going it alone in e-commerce, ensuring that your website and all links are https secure should be an immediate priority.

Security of payment is still the top priority for customers online. Merchants with Shopify or BigCommerce stores also have a head start on this, as both platforms come with enterprise standard fast, secure checkouts.

Display security badges and offer a range of ways to pay. PayPal in particular has built a strong customer following based on trust and paying through them will give customers confidence that their details are safe and the transaction is protected.


With such informative product pages, you shouldn’t be getting many returns, but there’s always the worry for customers that a product will arrive and it won’t fit, or it won’t look right, or the quality will be nothing like in the pictures.

Show confidence in your products and offer a generous returns policy.

Sales Require Trust

People only buy from sites they trust.

Every business has to start from zero, with no sales and no social proof. With these strategies in place, you’ll be in a strong position to win your first few sales and work your way up to a reputation that continually inspires trust from a growing customer base.

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