eBay asked buyers in countless focus groups this question:
Which factors affect your decision to buy something on eBay?
The answers have changed over time, as you might imagine, but trust was always at the top of the list.
In this post, I’m going to share eBay’s findings about how to earn trust, accompanied by our own insights.
9 Trust Signals We Used to Win eBay Customers
1. High quality, professional photos
I write about this a lot – your product’s photo is the first thing your shoppers see. There is no second chance for a first impression. If your photo is fuzzy or dimly lit – it gives shoppers a taste of an unprofessional seller, and they are likely to stay away from such a listing altogether.
Here are item photo samples from two sellers on eBay. Who scores higher on the trust, A or B?
It may be my subjective opinion, but seller A conveys – “I’m organized and professional” while B is “I’m lazy, just wanna get rid of this shirt on eBay asap”.
So that’s about the quality of the photos, but quantity matters as well –
A research done by vouchercloud showed that offering multiple product views and other alternative images led to 58% more sales.
eBay’s own stats show that adding just one additional photo increases the chance of a sale by up to 3%.
Conclusion – it’s statistically proven that it’s good to showcase your item in all its glory, from every angle, with high quality photos.
2. Thorough listing descriptions
eBay’s advice: “Don’t overcomplicate your listings. Buyers have confessed that animated GIFs, large wonky fonts, or a long list of the do’s and don’ts for buying from you, turns them off. It sends an early warning signal that the transaction might be difficult.
Also, you probably know this, disclose all flaws. Hiding them only has a negative ripple affect in terms of trust, feedback and repeat business.”
CrazyLister users will notice that the templates in the app are never overcrowded with design visuals, they never include animated gifs or other distracting elements. The aim is to introduce the shoppers to the competitive advantage / value you bring with your item and business as fast as possible. Balance your listing descriptions so they have just enough information to make the shopper buy from you.
For example – Don’t add scans of user manuals to your listing description unless they’re absolutely necessary. Make your listings clean, clear and thorough. This will win you trust points.
3. Fast Handling
According to eBay stats – 43% of shoppers have abandoned their carts based on delivery times.
That’s almost half of the shoppers who have already clicked on the glorious “Buy it now” but then abandoned their cart because of a long handling time.
Pick and pack as fast as you can – this is a strong indicator of trust. A professional business should be able to pick, pack and dispatch items fast. For the vast majority of items, anything but “same day to 1 day” handling time is conceived as “too long” and unprofessional.
Even if you’re selling unique collectible items, your customer is willing to wait the extra few days it’ll take the item to arrive with regular mail, but he will expect you to do your part as fast as possible – dispatching your orders within 24h will give you a major boost in trust.
4. 11% increase to sales with fast n' free shipping
According to eBay - Listings with the Fast 'N Free logo result in up to an 11% increase in sales.
eBay: Free shipping and fast delivery are often the final purchase considerations for buyers.
To put these sales-driving services front and center, eBay displays the Fast 'N Free logo when:
- the listing offers free shipping
- both the buyer and the seller are in the US
- there is a high probability that the item will be delivered within 4 business days or less
Bonus – automatic 5 stars for shipping:
When the Fast ‘N Free logo appears and your item is delivered on or before the last day of your stated handling time plus the carrier’s maximum published time-frame, any lower buyer rating for shipping time is automatically converted to 5 stars.
We always offer free shipping for the specific country we list on.
For example, when we list on eBay Australia, we offer free shipping for Australian customers. This helps build trust and boost rankings on search results.
- For heavy items it’s not always possible to offer free worldwide shipping, so we offer free shipping for local customers, and charge a fee for international ones.
5. Offer easy returns
Shoppers will not trust a seller who accepts no returns, period. Many things may happen, shoppers want to know they can trust the seller to take responsibility and replace / restock a product if anything goes wrong.
eBay: "Nobody likes returns. Not even buyers. However, many shoppers will purchase the same item from another seller (and pay a little bit more) if it means they won’t be stuck with something that doesn’t fit. That’s why it’s no surprise to learn that return policies really just serve to bolster your credibility."
Our strategy has always been – Reputation first. We were going out of our skin to make customers happyIt meant accepting painful returns many times. It really sucks, not only losing the order, but also wasting time, energy and money on arranging the return. But! As long as we stayed professional and friendly while facing the customers, we were slowly but surely building authority and reputation. More and more customers learned that they could trust us if anything went wrong with their items – surprisingly enough, that’s actually not that common among sellers, with many who mainly think about the current dollar, and are more willing to harm their reputation rather than to lose some cash.
6. Seller status
eBay: “Buyers have also indicated that once they’re drawn in with stellar photography, clear details, quick handling times, and free shipping, they tend to check your seller status for trust cues.”
The rule of thumb is that there’s a big leap in trust when you cross the 100 feedback bar, there’s something magical to a 3 digit number of customers who testify in favor of your business conduct.
There seems to be a bigger boost in trust between 70 and 100 feedback, than between 700 and 1000.
These are great news for all of us small and medium sellers – reaching a 100 feedback from customers is possible for anyone who’s serious about their eBay business.
7. eBay profile page
“Profile pages take a nameless eBayer and form a human bond. Best of all, the friendly tone of the page makes you feel that you are a friend, and people love to buy from friends!”
eBay is a highly competitive marketplace. We decided early on that we would harness every possible advantage, however small it may seem.
eBay has a “profile” section where you can tell something about yourself and your business. While it may seem as a non significant way to increase trust and sales, this is exactly one of those things that add up – It’ll take you 5 minutes to set this up, and even if it just helps convert one or two more customers a month – it will be well worth it. Don’t leave anything on the table, use any possible advantage!
8. Communicate trust
eBay: "Customers inevitably have questions. They might even ask about things you’ve covered in your description. Consider this an opportunity to establish a personal rapport with your potential customer (please don’t block them for asking questions). Shoppers have told us that sometimes, especially when shopping for expensive items, they just want to get a better feel for the human on the other side of the computer. You can’t blame them. Consider this a trust exercise."
I have discussed this concept in this blog before - you should THANK customers who bother to invest the time and energy to send you questions. They help you learn what's unclear about your listing description, and it's a great opportunity for you to close a sale.
We’ve noticed that whenever we communicated with a potential customer, nearly 50% of the times – we were able to make a sale. Realizing that some customers just need the little human communication to make a deal, we made quickly responding to customers a top priority. eBay shoppers don’t expect to get an answer within 15 minutes of their question – and when they do… it’s a done deal most of the times!
9. Brand as a sign of trust
eBay: "Nothing shows that you have your selling act together more than projecting a cohesive brand"
When your listings look professional and have a consistent brand look & feel across all products – it conveys trust.
Here’s a quick test for you to see if you’re earning trust points here –
Say, a customer who purchased a product from you 2 weeks ago now lands on your listing, looking for a different product – will he realizethat you are the same seller he has already purchased from before and whom he can trust based on the look & feel of your listings?
A word about charity
We didn't have much success with building trust through this tactic, but I have heard about some sellers in specific categories who were able to increase trust and sales using charity.
According to eBay: "Not surprisingly, buyers have confessed that they feel good about purchasing an item that also benefits a worthy cause. As a result, the eBay for Charity ribbon that accompanies your listing, serves as yet another visual badge of trust for shoppers. It all but says “I’m a compassionate human being.” Priceless."
eBay is one of the worlds’ most competitive marketplaces. Realizing this, we decided early on to use every possible advantage to win customers.
The above list is comprised of both big and small impact trust signals, try to include as many as possible – there’s no such thing as “too much trust”!