The more marketers spend time optimizing a website or eCommerce store, the more their efforts revolve around the minutia. Change this color, alter that headline, and manipulate the verbiage to make the sale. Most marketing or eCommerce information resources revolve around split testing minor things in order to increase revenue, but many are missing out on a gold mine.
Transparency and authenticity builds trust in an era where few retailers are trustworthy. When starting my eCommerce brand in the supplement space, I was able to charge twice as much as the competition and still grow 400 – 600% every month all because my customer base trusted our products.
Why Does Transparency Matter?
Most eCommerce professionals focus on features and the resulting benefits that a potential customer might find without taking into consideration a basic tenant of psychology. According to Daniel Kahneman’s 1984 research, people have a tendency to prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring the equivalent gains.
This phenomena is referred to as “loss aversion” and it is why, on average, transparency matters more than all the benefits you might be pushing on prospective customers.
When a potential customer finds products that they desire and there is transparency to build the requisite trust, it is far easier for them to justify making the purchase. They feel more trust and assume they are less likely to lose anything.
Starting my supplement eCommerce business revolved around transparency to grow. Major companies selling supplements in Walmart and Target got busted for fake products and trust for the supplement industry as a whole has never been high. What’s worse, the nootropics and smart drug industry has grey areas that make it even less trustworthy.
To gain the trust of my customer base, I decided to reference scientific studies via research databases and provide third-party testing of all the products.
Even though we were selling commodities that users could find anywhere, we were allowed to charge 210% more than our competitors and still grow 400 – 600% month over month. All because we were transparent about what we were selling, which built requisite trust.
Adding Transparency to Your Business
The next time you dedicate resources to increasing the conversion rate of your customer base, try to focus on transparency and building trust. Here are a few ways you can do so:
Seek industry complaints
When people do not like something, they are usually pretty vocal about it online. This is a gold mine where you can extract information about customers’ desires. If you have been in business for a while, you might have a few bad reviews of your products to find opportunities. Seek competitors and similar products on Amazon to see what people complain about.
Tell people how you operate
Even if you don’t find your operations to be very exciting, there are people who want to know what goes on behind closed doors. They might not really care what goes on so long as you are being open about it. Simply showing people where you work can be a form of transparency that makes users feel more connected.
Canvas your manufacturing process
Assuming you are selling a hard good via eCommerce, you can canvas the manufacturing process to provide transparency about your business. This might include doing a visualization practice where you look at each process required to make your product. You can see each step of the way where there might be a piece of information you can share with your audience. For example, one part might be made in China and you can take a picture of their working conditions so people know you aren’t employing sweat shops.
Transparency and Trust: Your Next Frontier
Building eCommerce platforms and brands often requires time and patience. Changing the color scheme or split testing ad-copy might help at the margins, but the biggest shifts in your business will come when all of your potential customers feel trust. The best way to build that trust is through transparency in all of your business practices.