How to build your ecommerce trust funnel

Profile photo of author Tracey Wallace
Omnichannel marketing
October 12th 2018
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Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: consumer expectations are shifting and there’s no single type of funnel that’s going to convert everyone. What really works is creating personalize experiences that focus on the micro-moments within the shoppers journey and using those to influence and capture the customer.

This has something to do with the current state of ecommerce. Every day, consumers are introduced to a plethora of new brands, with market newcomers like Warby Parker or Away or Wone disrupting and displacing the success of legacy brands. Additionally, the buyer’s journey is becoming more omnichannel — meaning that you have to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right experience in order to actually make a sale!

By combining an organic content strategy with your ecommerce sales strategy, you can cut through the noise by winning trust and visibility.

The secret to your success with these tactics? Building a trust funnel.

Ready to start creating an omnichannel journey? Consider Klaviyo as a solution.

Your business should function as a consultant—help your customers

The first step to any relationship is building trust. In an online world that is done through content. Think of content as the first touch a customer has with your brand. By providing legitimately valuable content, you can build trust before selling.

The key is to focus primarily on being educational, not transactional. Part of this has to do with the organic advantage that comes with being known as a high-authority industry resource.

Additionally, educational content provides a much more effective way to connect with millennials and Gen Z. Neither likes the hard sell associated with traditional advertising. They’d rather build a relationship with the brands they want to buy from.

Learn how Living Proof, a DTC brand, grew with an organic content strategy

If this is your audience, look to Warby Parker as a great example of a brand who’s successfully built trust with Millennials and Gen Z. The brand encourages customers to share photos using Warby Parker products on company social channels. This user-generated content strategy helps prospective customers see products in use while also building social proof.

However you plan to deploy it, when coming up with a content strategy, think about how it can help you to build community around your brand. When attempting to measure your success, don’t get stuck on vanity metrics (like time on page, bounce rate, etc.): judge your success by actual sales.

Create a unique and personalized customer experience

Amazon is the business that created a new standard for instant gratification in ecommerce. It focused on customer experience at the expense of profit, and disrupted the digital market by offering a prime member initiative that businesses still find hard to follow.

Not every business could or can keep up. The good news is that customers have taken one step further, they now want efficiency but not at the expense of individuality, sustainability and brand trust.

If it doesn’t make sense for your business to offer two-day shipping, then execute on your best version of instant gratification.

It starts with a focus on your brand’s unique offerings or story (or both!). In order to grab attention (and convert sales), your brand has to be memorable and make shopping convenient.

It’s important to realize that your sales and branding efforts don’t stop when the order is shipped. So, aim to impress people when they get your package.

It’s the small things that will make them want to tell a friend about their experience shopping with you: things like handwritten notes and unique promo codes in the package they receive.

No matter the specifics of your logistics, know that honesty goes a long way. Be transparent about shipping and return policies. Then, deliver on your promises.

You’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating again here: don’t over-promise; over-deliver instead.

Communication is key: including what you say on your website and any follow-up communications after an order is placed. On that note, customer service is important. According to Gartner, when it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers find the customer experience to be more important than price.

In fact, US companies lose an average of $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. Just a moderate increase in customer service can yield an average $823 million increase over a 3 year period for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.

For inspiration on improving your customer experience, there’s a lot to learn from these brands:

  • Dazadi: With items so large they can’t realistically offer express delivery, this brand makes up for slower logistics with high-effort when it comes to the actual delivery. Their “incognito Santa support” allows you to surprise someone with a ping pong table that includes in-home setup!
  • Jeni’s Ice Cream: Jeni’s ships their imaginative ice cream flavors in a box with dry ice. Customers love their on-point branding and are willing to wait for longer ship times to receive their ice cream via mail.
  • Packed Party: Items take a relatively long time to ship but the company makes it worthwhile by including extra freebies and samples in each package.

Top email marketing automations that help engage users throughout their journey

The first-mover advantage: leveraging smart channels

In the past Facebook, Google, Amazon were all racing to see who could gather the most useful data. Acting on this data helped build trust. However, with the introduction Apples privacy constraints with iOS 15, and Google’s third party cookie regulations, ecommerce businesses need to start putting their own channels first.

Previously, the suggestion for marketers was get into these channels and start selling on their platforms.

Are you using these platforms for your business?

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Amazon Advertising
  • Shoppable Instagram feed
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Google Home and Amazon Echo makes it possible to buy stuff online without using a device with a screen.

However, there is new advice in the market-start using your own marketing channels to ensure that you own your data and have the highest ROI. Marketing is becoming more restrictive due to privacy laws and issues. To success marketers need to own their data and use channels they can control like email marketing and SMS marketing.

Power your owned marketing channels for future growth

Build an experience-driven website

One of the most effective paths to a sale is to make shoppers feel something.

The easiest way to achieve this? Building an experience-rich website with an enjoyable browsing experience. Part of this includes a focus on fast page speed.

Another aspect of an experience-driven website is personalization. You might opt to add personalization according to personas (like your most loyal customers), geographic location, or specific search queries. Localization is another form of personalization, with an increasing amount of searches containing the suffix “near me”.

The benefits of website personalization:

  • It can help increase a business’s profits by 15% on average.
  • 75% of customers are most likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name and recommends products based on previous purchases.
  • 93% of companies see a rise in conversion rates after implementing personalization.

These brands provide a great example of an experience-driven website strategy:

  • SkullCandy: Employs personalization based on localization, with seven international website versions.
  • Zenni Optical: Users can upload their photo to see how they look with this brand’s glasses.
  • Bohemian Traders: Offers a VIP loyalty group where the brand alerts them first about new launches. In return, Bohemian Traders gets an idea of what items their customers like, using this information to decide if they should order more inventory.

Start personalizing your website experience and recharge your marketing strategy

Create a mobile experience for your website customers

People always talk about how important the mobile experience is and it’s more than just making sure your site is navigable:

Furthermore, Google’s mobile-first index made mobile responsiveness a search ranking factor. The implications are clear: if you want to rank in relevant search, your website must scale nicely for mobile devices.

If you need help designing your ecommerce mobile experience, these brands can be a source of inspiration:

  • Rollie Nation: Their hero images are actually videos. They’ve also simplified and reduced the clicks required to choose sizes and proceed to checkout. They provide a great example of creating a great mobile experience for brands with large product catalogs.
  • Natomounts: The website is made up of just a few simple pages and the checkout process is simple and quick!
  • Zyppah: This brand sells just one product—the homepage is also the product page.

Final thoughts: how to build your trust funnel

Ecommerce is developing at a faster pace than anyone could have expected and is leveling the playing field. Whether you have an established business or are thinking of starting one, the best way to differentiate yourself isn’t through ads or crazy gimmicks. Consumers are smarter than that: you have to focus on building trust to find success with Millennials and Gen Z.

In a nutshell:

  • Create helpful content and optimize it to appear organically in relevant search queries.
  • Take your business to your customers: don’t wait for them to come to you. Sell on multiple channels and become a first mover when social platforms introduce a relevant new feature.
  • Aim to overdeliver, especially when it comes to customer service.
  • Create a good website experience in terms of navigation, page speed, checkout, and mobile.
Check out how to build more high-converting customer experiences.
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Tracey Wallace
Tracey Wallace
Director, content strategy
Tracey is the Director of content strategy at Klaviyo. Previously, she has led marketing teams for early stage start-ups from $0 to >$10M in revenue, and was the former Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce, where she grew organic content sessions to 1M monthly and 20K monthly content downloads. She started her career in journalism at and, later, Mashable.