Google recently offered guidance on how businesses can build customer trust through a document published on the Google Merchant Center.
The recommendations center on four primary areas:
- Establishing business legitimacy
- Being transparent
- Managing online reputation,
- Having a professional design aesthetic.
This article summarizes Google’s suggestions into an actionable checklist that business owners can use to enhance their credibility on Google’s platform.
Understanding What Customers Value
Before diving into the checklist, it’s crucial to understand what customers value when forming trust with a business.
The image that customers have of your brand is your business identity.
Keeping this identity consistent wherever your brand appears is vital. This means using the same business name, logo, colors, and other branding elements across all platforms.
Customers like working with companies that have a clear and unified identity. Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Official Business Name: Use the same official business name everywhere.
- About Us Page: Create an “about us” page on your website and share your business’ backstory and origins.
- Social Media Presence: Promote your social media profiles through links on your website.
Being upfront with customers can help earn their trust.
This means explaining how your company handles customer information and operates behind the scenes.
Some areas where transparency is critical include disclosing your data practices, shipping procedures, and return policies.
Here are some ways your business can be more open and transparent with customers:
- Detailed Policies: Explain your policies regarding shipping items, allowing customers to return items, and protecting customer privacy.
- Business Operations: Be transparent regarding your business model. Be open about your operational methods, like your supply chain, manufacturing process, or fulfillment systems.
The way your business is perceived online can affect customer trust.
You can manage your online reputation by closely monitoring reviews, testimonials, and other public references to your company.
Some tips for improving your online reputation include:
- Customer Reviews: Highlight positive reviews and endorsements from current customers.
- Badges and Seals: Display badges or certifications from reputable third parties.
- Customer Interaction: Providing details on how customers can get support if needed
- Blogs and Articles: Share blog posts and articles that educate customers.
The look and feel of your website can influence how much customers trust your business.
A site with a polished, professional design and simple navigation can help shoppers feel more at ease when buying from you.
Google has some suggestions on how to build a website that promotes trust:
- SSL Certificate: Obtain an SSL certificate to encrypt data and show customers their information is secure.
- Website Navigation: Ensure your website navigation is straightforward, easy to use, and free of broken links or unnecessary redirects.
- Avoid Placeholders: Populate your site’s text and image areas with actual content instead of placeholders.
Helping Google Know Your Business Better
The more Google knows about your business, the better it can represent it to potential customers.
To improve how Google represents your business, consider these steps:
- Business Information: Provide complete details about your business in the Merchant Center, including name, contact information, and product categories.
- Third-Party Platforms: Connect your Merchant Center account to any other platforms where you sell, like Shopify or Amazon.
- Google Business Profile: Make a Google Business Profile for your company and verify ownership.
- SEO Guidelines: Follow SEO best practices to make your website easy to find and navigate.
- Seller Rating Eligibility: Opt into Google Customer Reviews or other third-party review services to improve your eligibility for seller ratings.
Following the guidelines outlined in Google’s Merchant Center documentation can help business owners establish positive customer relationships.
Building trust is a gradual process, so companies need to dedicate time and effort to fostering strong bonds with consumers.
A good reputation is hard-won but easily lost, so businesses should focus on constructively engaging with their audience in the Merchant Center.
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