Ecommerce Guidelines: Content Menu (credibility)

Guidelines 47-50

Ecommerce Best Practices » Homepage & Sitewide » Credibility » Content Menu

The content menu is an important area for credibility. Users access this menu when they need help. If your site doesn’t provide the help or information customers are already worried about, you can expect them to leave your site for another one that will answer their questions.

There are certain features in a content menu that are particularly important for credibility. Some of these specific features are simple links that can be provided for customers. Other features, like live chat or FAQs, need to be monitored.

4 guidelines for ecommerce content menu:

  1. Shipping, return, and refund policies should be visibly displayed; links should be easy to find.
  2. Show the “real” organization behind your site; show full office address, phone number, staff.
  3. The content menu (think footer or top menu) should provide the familiar basics, and be consistent throughout the site.
  4. Use live chat, and display it on the bottom right corner.

Guideline #47. Shipping, return, and refund policies should be visibly displayed; links should be easy to find.

Back in 2008, UPS and Forrester conducted a joint study on return policies, and found the following:

  • 81% of participants agreed with the statement “If an online retailer makes it easier for me to return a product, I am more likely to buy from that retailer.”
  • 81% agreed with the statement “I am more loyal to retailers that have generous return policies (e.g free return shipping, ability to return any time for any reason).”
  • 73% agreed with the statement “I am less likely to buy in the future from an online retailer when the returns process is a hassle.“

Refund policies are game changers. Offer a generous, easy return policy and display it on the homepage.

This is less important for well-known brands, as people will be familiar with the return policy or assume that there is one. For unknown retailers, though, customer trust is an uphill battle. A website needs to be apparent about its return policy, especially when competing against ecommerce giants like Amazon and Zappos.

How to do it RIGHT

Home Depot

Already a well-known and trusted company, Home Depot clearly states their shipping and return policy on the Homepage.


On a UX benchmark analysis, Home Depot ranked at the very top with a 97% score on the UX dimension “Credibility”.

Guideline #48. Show the “real” organization behind your site; show full office address, phone number, and staff.

Anonymity is a luxury for well known brands.

This follows Cialdini’s 7th Persuasion Principle: Using Unity in Online Marketing..

The Unity Principle is the shared identity the influencer shares with the influence. A visitor has way more in common with an actual human being than an online storefront. Looking at the big picture, it’s about humanity and the natural desire to connect with others.

People need to know you’re a real company. So if you don’t have any photos of real people, or of your office, or of anything that substantiates your existence, how are they to believe you?

Customers will be more willing to buy and revisit your site if they experience that connection. Find creative ways to ‘humanize’ your business homepage.

How to do it RIGHT

Drs Foster and Smith

This website shows a picture of two veterinarians, leading to think they’re seeing a picture of the company’s founders (may be its really them, who knows).

On a UX benchmark analysis, Drs Foster and Smith ranked at the top with a 78% score on the UX dimension “Credibility”.

I would buy from this site because it seems very credible.. The picture of the two founding doctors, as well as their in-store brand, made everything seem very reliable.

User quote on Drs Foster and Smith

Guideline #49. The content menu should provide the familiar basics and remain consistent throughout the site.

This guideline focuses around prototypicality and customer expectations.

An ecommerce site should provide consistent, reliable global navigation. If a user becomes familiar with the search bar in one corner, they’re going to be confused and frustrated when it’s no longer there on a different page. The links in your navigation menu and footer should remain the same on every page of the site.

At minimum, consistently provide footer links to: the return policy, customer service, shipping, and privacy pages. It can also be helpful to organize the links into conventional column groups.

Whatever links you have in your navigation menu and footer, have to be the same on every page of your site.

I liked that there were “live chat” and “feedback” buttons on every page.

How to do it RIGHT

Vitacost

This homepage uses the prototypical column format for footer links and provides ample information for all types of questions that may come up.

On a UX benchmark analysis, Vitacost ranked with a 57% score on the UX dimension “Credibility”.

How NOT to do it

Pequannock Feed

This site doesn’t offer links in their footer, or the rest of the homepage, to shipping, returns, or customer service.

On a UX benchmark analysis, Pequannock Feed ranked at the very bottom with a 3% score on the UX dimension “Credibility”.

Guideline #50. Use live chat, and display it on the bottom right corner.

Live chat is becoming increasingly common as a customer support channel. In fact, Zendesk’s newest report found that “In Q1 2015, live chat led all other channels in customer satisfaction at 92%.”

In fact, a Forrester study from 2010 found that “many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”

Companies are using live chat to solve some of the things marketers worry about most, like:

  • Cart abandonment.
  • High traffic, high bounce rate.
  • Lead generation.
  • Having an unclear picture of the target audience..

I loved that I saw a chat option. Often I will use a chat feature on a website.

When asked what they liked about a website: “ability to talk or chat with an expert.”

When asked why they would buy from this website and not a competitor: “I can talk to an expert.”

When asked what they would change about a website: “Maybe have an online chat available for customers.

How to do it RIGHT

Drs Foster and Smith

This homepage displays multiple methods for getting in touch with customer service including live chat.

On a UX benchmark analysis, Drs Foster and Smith ranked at the top with a 78% score on the UX dimension “Credibility”.

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Ecommerce Best Practices » Homepage & Sitewide » Credibility » Social Proof