The Two-Minute Guide to Trust Signals

The Two-Minute Guide to Trust Signals

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Trust is a big deal in eCommerce.When you think about it, your customers are essentially handing over their hard-earned pennies on a wish and a promise, hoping that you’ll deliver like you say you will.

They’re not going to reach for their wallets unless they trust you – but you’re a faceless stranger on the other side of a computer, how are you going to make them do that?

The answer is simple: Trust signals.

“Of course!” you might be thinking. “Now if you could just point me in the direction of some of those I’ll be on my way…”

Woah there cowboy! It’s not that simple. Online, like in life, trust has to be earned. There are, however, a few things you can do to speed up the process, so don’t panic just yet.

What are Trust Signals?

Before they buy from your website, your customers will scrutinize every last inch of it, even if they’re not aware they’re doing so. It’s up to you to create an environment that indicates you’re reliable, and trust signals can help you do that.

Think social proof, contact details, security seals and transparent policies, even the odd photo of your lovely employees to prove they actually exist; trust signals are these small yet significant elements that can significantly impact your ROI.

Each of these things is a small piece of evidence that shows your potential customers that you’ve not only got the competence to perform in the way they expect, but that you do so with integrity.

Your trust signals are, in fact, showing your customers that you perform so well that hundreds of people before them have trusted you and will carry on doing so, so they should too.

(Image: Pimkie under CC BY 2.0)

Do They Actually Work?

Of course they do. And in the immortal words of Jennifer Aniston for L’Oreal circa 1999, “here comes the science bit – concentrate!”

When you make a decision, you use experience-based mental shortcuts to help you arrive at them more quickly. These are called heuristics, and examples include the fact that our experiences lead us to believe that:

1. If an expert believes it, so should we.

2. If other people are doing it, we should too.

3. If we’ve done it before, we should do it now.

4. If something has been viewed as bad by others, we should avoid it (and vice versa).

Including evidence on your website of expert and peer endorsement, therefore, helps your customers to make up their mind about you.

Trust signals, in effect, serve to reduce (in the mind of your customers) the risk involved in purchasing something online by chipping away at one of the more significant barriers to conversion.

Here are some stats and facts to back this all up:

  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews (CompUSA and iPerceptions).

  • 61% of respondents didn’t purchase something online because trust logos (SSL seals) were missing (Actual Insights).

  • 47% of shoppers use ‘clear contact numbers and address details’ to decide whether to trust a website (Econsultancy/Toluna).

  • Having a facial photo of a real representative is a strong indicator of trust (Aldiri 2008).

Brands Using Trust Signals Well


Topshop are a great example of a brand using social proofing well. Each of their products can be reviewed onsite, whatever they may be.


ASOS are a big brand that get trust signals just right – they include a prominent security seal on their checkout pages, and they also offer free returns.


We’re not just a faceless company, you know. In fact, here’s a little intro to the people behind the magic. You trust us more already, right?

If we could sum up this whole post in one sentence it would go something like…

Trust signals improve trust, which increases conversions, which is why we’re all here, so let’s invest in trust signals.

If we’ve managed to convince you at all, then we can go home happy. If we could encourage you to read our recent post ‘How to Improve Trust in Your Website’ then we may never come back to work again, as we’d consider our job done.

Just kidding. We’ve still got thousands more high-quality eCommerce stores to build to help our customers achieve more online. So, if you want to extend your business capabilities, or just want to chat about how we can help you achieve your goals, get in touch. We’d love to help.

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