Do I trust this website enough to buy something from it?
If your customers aren’t answering with a resounding “yes!” it’s probably time to evaluate how you present your business and the level of safety and legitimacy you’re providing visitors of your site.
Without placing business-consumer trust first, things like quality of product and marketing may have little impact. Here’s a few tips on how to ensure your customers trust their business with you.
1. Provide Pictures & Information About You and Your Business
Before I shell out my credit card, who exactly am I buying from?
When it comes to a fully-fledged online store, a simple bio about how you became a photographer or artist won’t always be enough.
Instead, show pics of your studio. Outside, inside, invite the customer into your space and allow them to glimpse the production at the receiving end of their information and money.
If you make your own prints, share pictures of your printer and someone in the middle of production. Explain your process. Not everyone will read all of the details, but they’ll be there for those that need them to feel comfortable making a purchase.
This is all doubly important if you’re looking to sell your work at high price points. Make sure the pictures are awesome! Having a professional site from head to toe will build a lot of confidence and trust with your customer, so that when it comes time to make that big ticket purchase, they won’t second guess it.
2. Provide Plenty of Pictures & Information About What You Sell
If I decide to buy this item, what exactly will I be getting?
The same concept applies here. Show pics of the different products you offer. Make it clear how they are made, and how they will arrive to the customer. Show off the packaging, and make an effort to show the customer you’re being upfront about the size, scale, and quality of everything sold on your store – it’ll go a long way in answering questions before the buyer asks them.
3. Make It Easy to Contact You
My time is valuable. So if something goes wrong with my order, will it be easy to deal with?
Make sure your phone number and support e-mail address is highly visible and available to the customer at any time. Typically this information can go in your footer and on your “Contact” page.
If the customer can’t reach you, make sure you have a professionally recorded voicemail for the business, not a home or cell messaging machine. Tons of services out there can handle this for you, such as Google Voice which is 100% free.
Throw up a contact form on your “Contact” page for customers that have a quick question but don’t want to call.
When you do hear from customers, take what they have to say to heart. Every question your visitors ask should trigger an alarm bell: “Was my website not clear enough about this topic?” Value all criticism and think critically about the questions you receive. Then, when necessary, make adjustments to your website that address them. Over time, this sort of commitment to fine tuning your Art Storefront will have a significant impact on your sales.
4. Clearly State Your Terms of Sale & Return Policy
What protection do I have if the product is not what I expected?
Do you offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee? Or, are you willing to compensate the customer in some way if they aren’t satisfied? What happens if the product gets damaged during shipping?
The higher the dollar amount of the items you sell, the more important this information becomes to a potential buyer. Therefore, provide all the details you can about what it means to buy from you.
Most photographers and artists that have an existing website fail to realize that they leave so many questions unanswered. In the business of eCommerce, unanswered questions are as good as lost sales.
5. Get a Logo!
Logos are easy to obtain, and are sort of a basic element of any business. Why doesn’t this business have one?
Everyone knows that a logo is easy to obtain and only costs $100-150 to get one done professionally. If you don’t have a logo, savvy consumers (especially the wealthier) will question the overall legitimacy of your business and will have a hard time buying from you.
Investing in a logo will make you look like a professional, trustworthy operation. Take this example:
In Summary: Portray Yourself as an Expert
You may be working out of your home, or in a less-than-glamorous studio, but that’s no excuse not to radiate professionalism and class through your online store.
If you feel your website is complete, why not ask a couple of friends or family members to pretend they’re a random visitor who just came across your website? Ask them if they feel they’ve found a trustworthy, professional business or whether more work still needs to be done.
Having an online business will require that you constantly refine your website’s products, information, and messaging. Being nimble and appreciating the dynamic nature of eCommerce is key. This is not something that you set and forget for the next 5 years. Be proactive, and always seek feedback. Doing so will ensure that your online store is constantly growing and improving, which is a recipe for success in any business.