Trust Badges 101: How to Build Trust and Boost Ecommerce Conversions
Ecommerce businesses have the potential for great success, but they have a problem: potential customers are reluctant to purchase from businesses they don’t know much about, no matter how amazing the product sounds.
It’s understandable — 35% of Americans have experienced credit card fraud at least once. As consumers become more aware of online shopping riks, they’re more inclined to play it safe. They’re not sure which sites they can trust — maybe they’ll just stick to Amazon and Walmart!
That’s where trust badges come in. They’re a great way to signal to your customers that your business is legitimate and their information is secure with you.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the types of trust badges and exactly how you can use them to boost your business’ sales.
What Is a Trust Badge?
A trust badge is a symbol placed on a website to let visitors know that the brand is legitimate and trustworthy. You may also hear them called site seals or trust seals.
They’re crucial for sites that collect personal or payment information, like ecommerce or membership websites. Potential customers are easily scared off by sketchy sites that do not indicate that their data is secure.
Third parties create many trust badges. They agree to let you use one on your site when you’ve met their standards, which could mean anything from purchasing an SSL certificate to undergoing a review of your business practices.
What Do Trust Badges Look Like?
Trust badges are usually icons with a name and logo indicating the provider of the badge.
Here are a few examples:
You’re most likely to see them on the homepage or on any page that asks for a credit card number or personal information.
Some badges are just images. In other cases, when you click on the badge, it will show you a pop-up or page with more information about the site’s certification:
Why Your Website Needs a Trust Badge
Trust badges help convince customers that they can trust your site with their personal and payment information.
For ecommerce sites, shopping cart abandonment is a significant source of lost conversions. 17% of people who abandon a shopping cart do so because they don’t trust the site with their credit card information:
A trust badge displayed at the right point in the checkout process indicates that their data is secure.
For membership websites, the same trust issues around payment will apply. If you have a free version or free trial, you may still need to ensure users can safely enter their personal information at registration. A well-placed trust seal can do the trick.
Do Trust Badges Work?
Can one little icon influence customer behavior?
It might sound unlikely, but we have evidence that trust badges work, thanks to the Baymard Institute’s ongoing Checkout Usability Study.
The study found that the average person’s trust in a website usually comes down to gut feeling rather than technical knowledge. And that gut feeling is highly influenced by how visually secure a site looks.
It turns out that adding any visual icon to a website increases the user’s level of perceived security. That’s true even if the badge has no real meaning — in the study, a generic seal created by the researchers still increased user trust.
We don’t recommend using anything generic, though. The trust badges that had the most considerable effect came from providers with recognizable names.
Where Do Trust Badges Go on Websites?
Here’s something else interesting about Baymard’s study: They found that depending on the website’s design, users perceived some parts of a page to be more secure than others.
It matters where you put your trust badge.
You can put a trust badge anywhere on your website. Still, it’ll probably have the most significant impact in places where the buyer questions the site’s security, like a checkout or registration page. Let’s explore some popular placement options.
A trust badge right on your homepage starts building user trust immediately. Many companies have a trust badge above the fold on their homepage, but others feel it detracts from the homepage design.
Trust badges on the homepage should be visible but subtle. If you don’t feel like your site seal works with your page design, there are lots of other places you can put one.
Putting a trust badge in the footer is one of the simplest ways to spread it across your site. Adding it to your website’s footer means it will appear on every page, including the homepage.
That probably shouldn’t be the only location you choose, though. Many customers will never look at the footer, particularly when they’re deliberating whether to enter their credit card number into a checkout form.
You also don’t want the footer to get too crowded with multiple site seals, social media icons, and other information.
A typical place to put trust seals on a product page is right by the “Add to cart” or “Buy now” button. It gives the customer an extra boost of confidence before they head to the checkout.
The most important place to put a trust badge for most businesses is the checkout page or form.
You want users to see that seal of trust at the exact moment they’re questioning whether it’s safe to enter payment information.
Types of Trust Badges
A trust badge can be any website icon designed to give your site visitors a sense of security. Here are a few of the most common types.
SSL Certificate Badge
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a protocol that encrypts and authenticates data sent between two applications, like a browser and a web server.
TLS, short for Transport Layer Security, is the newer, more up-to-date version of SSL, but SSL is still the more common term. While some providers refer to SSL/TLS certificates, others will use SSL to refer to both protocols.
You’re probably familiar with the little padlock next to a URL in your browser indicating a secure connection (or the warning message that your connection isn’t private). Those are based on having a valid SSL certificate.
Many SSL certificate providers also offer a trust badge to put on your website.
SSL site seals aren’t the only badges you can get to show that your site’s trustworthy.
Some providers set their standards for the security features you need to obtain a badge. For example, TRUSTe grants businesses a trust badge based on their adherence to international privacy standards like GDPR.
Accepted Payment Badge
You’ll notice that in the Baymard Institute study above, 7% of respondents abandoned shopping carts because of a lack of payment options.
Consumers generally want to see payment choices with brand recognition, like Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal. A site feels more secure and legitimate when the shopper can use their usual method of payment.
An accepted payment trust badge advertises to your site visitors that you accept those methods and work within those payment providers’ stringent security requirements.
These badges are usually free and easy to get from the payment card or online payment companies. You can visit their websites to find out more.
Third-Party Endorsement Badge
There are a few trust badges out there that endorse your business as a whole.
An impressive but challenging to obtain badge is the one provided by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You’re allowed to display this badge after receiving BBB accreditation. Applying for accreditation will cost you $75. Suppose the BBB looks into your business practices and finds you meet its standards. In that case, you’ll pay at least a few hundred dollars annually to maintain accreditation, depending on the size of your business.
You can also get an endorsement badge for free through Google Reviews. This badge displays your seller rating as long as you have at least 100 reviews from the past year. All you have to do is comply with the Google Reviews terms of service.
The BBB badge will impress your older customers. However, if your site audience comprises Millenial and Gen Z shoppers, Google will have more brand recognition.
Guarantee badges are a bit different than the other types of trust seals we’ve talked about.
They usually aren’t provided by a third party, nor are they dependent on a certification process. They’re simply an image indicating a promise by your company to your customers.
A few standard guarantee badges include:
- Free shipping
- Free returns
- Money-back guarantee
These badges are essential because data security isn’t the only concern customers have about ecommerce. They also want proof that you’ll provide a smooth shopping experience.
Guarantee badges work. One website saw a 32.57% increase in sales from adding a simple 30-day money-back guarantee badge.
Best Trust Badges to Boost Ecommerce Conversions
The safer your site visitors feel, the more likely they are to convert.
Start with an SSL badge. Having an SSL certificate is critical if you’re running an ecommerce business or collecting personal information. And if you have the certificate, why not let your customers know about it?
Accepted payment badges are free, discreet, and easy to add to your site, so they’re an excellent ecommerce choice as well.
Beyond that, the badges you choose depend on your business and your audience. The boost from a BBB accreditation might be worth the hit to your budget for some customer groups. For others, it won’t be significant.
If you’ve got policies you’re proud of, like a money-back guarantee, it could be valuable to design your badge to advertise what you offer.
One factor to consider is name recognition. While any badge can inspire trust in your customers or members, the badges that have the most significant impact are the ones with names we all know: Symantec, Google, the Better Business Bureau, and McAfee.
Where to Get Trust Badges
You can see the value of trust badges. But where do you get them?
Like a “free shipping” icon, some trust badges are just images you can create yourself. But most require the permission of a third party.
SSL Certificates for WooCommerce
If you’re using WooCommerce on your WordPress ecommerce website, it’s essential to secure it with SSL. Website owners always had to pay for SSL certification in the past, but you have some free options these days.
If Kinsta hosts your site, we provide free Cloudflare SSLs with wildcard support for all websites through our built-in Cloudflare integration. Cloudflare offers trust badges on its website.
Another popular free SSL certificate offered through most hosts is Let’s Encrypt. However, note that while Let’s Encrypt is an excellent option for security, the company explicitly does not allow trust badges using the Let’s Encrypt logo.
A few paid SSL providers that do grant site seals include:
Other Badges for WordPress
Many trust badges can be easily added to your site using plugins for WordPress or WooCommerce.
One option to consider is the Customer Reviews for WooCommerce plugin. This plugin enhances the standard WooCommerce reviews with extra features, including trust badges that you can add to your website. The badges show a summary of verified customer reviews.
For any trust badges we haven’t mentioned, check out the website of the provider. Most will have instructions for receiving the badge.
How to Add Trust Badges to Your Website
Putting a trust badge on your website doesn’t require much technical expertise. Plenty of them can be added using the basic WordPress editor or other easy methods.
WooCommerce Checkout Templates
The default WooCommerce checkout form already displays accepted payment icons, serving the same purpose as a trust badge. But it can be advantageous to add other trust seals to your checkout page.
If you’re comfortable with coding, you can add elements to the page yourself using action hooks. The ones you’ll need are:
For a more basic customization method, browse the many available WooCommerce themes and find one that allows you to add images in your trust badge location of choice. It doesn’t offer as much flexibility as custom coding, but it’s simple.
There are also WordPress plugins that allow you to display badges on your checkout page and elsewhere.
There are endless options for adding seals to your site using WordPress plugins. We’ve already mentioned a few badges for customer reviews: Google Reviews and Customer Reviews for WooCommerce.
Other plugins, like YITH WooCommerce Badge Management, let you create badges in various styles to add to your product catalog. This kind of badge plugin is ideal for those “free shipping” or “free returns” badges.
Finally, some WordPress security programs, like SiteLock, offer site seals if you use the plugin. TrustedSite is a plugin that allows you to earn a series of certifications, complete with trust badges.
Your trust badge can be as simple as an image added to a WordPress page. Simply upload the image file and place it strategically on the page of your choice.
Some trust badges provide source code to insert the badge onto your website. It’s common for badges that include links or pop-ups to information about the certificate.
You can add these badges to the header or footer of your WordPress theme.
Other Ways to Build Customer Trust on Your Website
First impressions are critical. If your website looks unprofessional or has technical issues, a customer’s first inclination will be to get out.
It’s like stepping into a brick-and-mortar store and seeing flickering lights and trash on the floor. Do you want to shop there?
Trust badges are one way to achieve a professional, trustworthy appearance, but they’re not the only option. Try these methods as well to build consumer trust in your website.
Professional Website Design
An amateur appearance on your website leads customers to doubt that you have security measures in place. Luckily, even if you’re not an experienced designer, a sleek WordPress theme can give you a professional look.
The design you choose should be mobile-responsive. Nothing screams “out of date” like a site that doesn’t display correctly on a customer’s smartphone.
Make sure to avoid any layout errors at checkout, such as overlapping text. The same Baymard Institute study that examined trust badges found that these small design mistakes significantly eroded customers’ sense of security:
Consumers will also quickly get frustrated and lose faith in your company if your site doesn’t function well. Make sure your site speed is excellent, and visitors aren’t encountering any concerning errors or glitches.
Your business has something great to offer customers — but don’t expect them to take your word for that. These days, most people turn to online reviews to evaluate a company or product.
77% of consumers see customer reviews as a deal-breaker or deciding factor in their buying decisions. And they’re used to those reviews being readily available, as they are on the product pages of major ecommerce sites.
Putting reviews on your site builds trust through transparency. They help customers make a purchasing decision while proving that you have nothing to hide about your product or service.
Social Media Presence
If you already have a website, you might not see the need for social media pages as well. After all, maintaining multiple profiles is extra work for a busy small business owner.
But these days, customers expect to find their favorite brands on social media. Interacting with users there helps build awareness of your company, and they’ll have more confidence in you when they can see a community of people who use your website.
You may even gain social proof by joining the 25% of small businesses that work with social media influencers.
Social media icons on your website can serve as a type of trust badge — they show that you’re active in spaces your customers frequent and ready to engage with them.
Your site visitors are cautious, but you can win them over.
You’re a busy business owner, and your time is valuable. Adding small badges to your website might not seem the highest priority, but the data shows that they can increase conversions. Plus, many are free and easy to put on your site.
Looking to go beyond trust badges? Read about even more ways to recover abandoned shopping carts.
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