Trust is always a big hurdle to overcome in eCommerce. How to dispel those nagging doubts in the mind of a shopper who hasn’t done business with you before, so they finally have the confidence to click on the ‘Pay Now’ button?
If you could speak to them you’d tell them about all the other people who have bought things from you and been delighted with your service. How the goods were exactly as described, in A1 condition and delivered on or ahead of schedule. But this is the internet, there’s no opportunity to do that. And whatever goes through somebody’s mind in an instant is what will probably determine whether they complete the purchase or not.
People who could become your new customers are always looking for reassurance. That’s why independent review sites like Trustpilot and Reevoo have such influence. It’s somewhere people can go and get an unbiased view of your business from real customers. Those views count, and if the ratings and reviews are positive you can expect to get a positive influence on your conversion rates.
Google Certified Shops
And now Google is getting in on the act with the UK piloting and probable 2014 full launch of Google Certified Shops. In many ways it’s a natural extension of the Google ‘experience’. If people are going to use the search engine to find products and businesses, providing an easy way for Google users to see ratings based on the real performance of those businesses is going to improve that experience.
The Google Certified Shops programme is based on the Trusted Stores certification that has been running in the US for two years. The concept is extremely simple and highly successful; your customers rate your delivery performance and your service based on whether there were any issues and how quickly you resolve them. Additionally, Google is monitoring data about your business to get a statistical view of your order processing and shipping performance.
Weve observed and measured the positive effects of linking eCommerce sites to reputable independent review sites many times. Adding a recognised name like Google to the mix together with purchase protection and support can only add to the effect.
If you meet or exceed Google’s standards you get to display the Google Certified Shops badge on your website. Customers see your performance ratings as percentages when they roll their mouse over the logo. And they have the added reassurance of up to £1,000 of purchase protection and Google’s promise of help if they have an issue.
A small version of the badge will also show on your PLAs (Google Product Listing Ads). Initially, at least, this could help you stand out from your competitors until it becomes more saturated.
Schuh is one of the first stores in the UK to display this Google Certified Shops badge which can be seen sitewide here:
Now imagine what impact this might have for your online shop.
Google provides a collection of success stories on its website. It’s no surprise to me that businesses report significant increases in conversion rates and average order values. We’ve observed and measured the positive effects of linking eCommerce sites to reputable independent review sites many times. Adding a recognised name like Google to the mix together with purchase protection and support can only add to the effect.
Is there a downside?
Google Certified Shops is a data-driven initiative. To participate you’ll have to authorise Google to collect a lot data about your business concerning total shipments, time to dispatch and total delivery times as well as customer emails and feedback. This is the price of entry. There will be inevitable questions about what Google might do with all this data.
Based on experience with the US programmes, Google also require a high level of technical expertise from the eCommerce business. This may make the programme prohibitive for businesses without a competent development team.
On the other hand, will the benefits mean that businesses that don’t want to commit to data sharing become the minority of businesses who don’t have the certification? What happens if yours is the only one of your competitors not displaying the Google Certified Shops badge?
Additionally, Google Certified Shops is only concerned with your overall delivery and service record. We also know that providing ratings and reviews of individual products helps with conversion and sales. You would still need to provide a way of recording and displaying independent product reviews to get the full benefit of customer feedback on conversion rates.
What should you do?
While the programme is piloting in the UK, Google is taking expressions of interest from businesses. You can sign up by following this link, which means you should be among the first to know when the programme becomes open to more businesses.
In the meantime, if you’re not already taking advantage of third-party reviews on your eCommerce site it’s a good time to talk to your developers about getting it set up. Sharing the experience of other shoppers is the best way to build the confidence of potential new ones.