How to build a trusted site, as told by two successful eCommerce merchants

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
How to build a trusted site, as told by 2 successful eCommerce merchants

This is a guest post from Alysse Phipps, Copywriter at TrustedSite.

With the help of the powerful website builders available today, launching an online business is easier than ever. But getting your first sale? That’s a different story.

First, you have to get your products in front of the right audience. That’s no easy mountain to climb, but let’s say you dedicate hours of your time and energy into creating an impressive paid advertising campaign and start getting some traffic on your site. After all that hustle, you expect to see the sales rolling in, but visitors just aren’t converting.

That’s because even with a kickass marketing strategy, you’re still only halfway up the mountain.

Consumers are savvy these days. They know scammers are out there just waiting to steal their personal information, so they don’t give it out to just anyone. In order to get up and over the mountain top to that closed sale, online businesses need to earn the trust of their customers.

It takes a lot of thought, planning, and strategy to build a website that consumers feel comfortable making a purchase from. When you’re a new business without established credibility, that may seem like a monumental task, but we promise it can be done.

At TrustedSite, like our partners at Trustpilot, we work to help eCommerce businesses create confident customers with powerful trust-building tools.

But it's not as simple as throwing up a trust badge or review widget and calling it a day. Friction can arise and cause doubt at many points throughout the customer journey, so trust must be built from the moment a customer lands on a site, all the way through to the order confirmation page (and even after that).

One of the best ways to learn how to build a trustworthy customer journey is by studying other sites that have done just that.

So without further ado, meet two sites that are absolutely crushing it in the trust-building department: The Sunglass Fix and Holabird Sports. Even though they sell completely different products to different audiences, they have one thing in common: they’ve both been able to achieve awesome conversion rates with the help of trust.

Let’s take a look at each of these sites and find out what elements they have included to their journeys in order to grow consumer trust.

Trust signals on

Born on Australia’s Gold Coast back in 2006, The Sunglass Fix helps customers around the world replace broken or damaged sunglass lenses, a less expensive and more sustainable alternative to buying a brand new pair. Here’s a list of all of the trust signals we could find on their website, built on OpenCart.

Site header

Sunglass fix homepage 1

A ton of punch is packed into the header. Since it follows customers throughout their journey, it makes sense to include lots of trust signals here.

Starting on the left side, we see the Trustpilot reviews widget, which shows that the site has earned a 4.5 star rating from over 5,000 reviews. Impressive. Next, they’ve included everyone’s favorite message: free shipping! Finally, on the right side they link to their Help & FAQs page so customers can easily find support when they need it.

Site footer

Sunglass fix footer 2

Shoppers often look to a site footer to find more information about a business, especially when it's a new one they haven’t purchased from before. The company phone number and email address are listed here, which helps to build trust by showing that real people are working behind the scenes. They also display links to independent reviews sites, like Facebook, Google, and Yelp, which shows they are confident that customers are sharing positive feedback around the web.


Sunglass fix about 3

Floating trust signals are useful because like the site header, they follow customers throughout their journey, providing reassurance along the way. The Sunglass Fix displays TrustedSite’s floating trustmark in the bottom right corner, which when clicked opens a modal that shows the site has earned certifications like Verified Business, Certified Secure, and Issue-Free Orders from an independent source.

About pages

Sunglass fix about 4

The Sunglass Fix shows they are truly an open book by sharing their history and values in the Our Story, Sustainability, and Awards pages. Here you’ll find info about their commitment to maintaining a low carbon footprint, along with awards for Outstanding Customer Service and Advanced Manufacturing.


The checkout has all the information a customer would need to feel comfortable making a purchase, from the order summary and total to the accepted payment methods. They’ve also clearly called out that due to covid, shipping times are now longer. This helps to set the customer’s expectations for when their order will arrive, so there are no surprises after they complete the purchase.

Sunglass fix checkout 5

Trust signals on

Since 1981, family-owned and operated Holabird Sports has specialized in running and racquet sports equipment. Here’s how they use social proof to build consumer trust throughout the buying journey on their webstore built on Shopify.

Site header

holabird sports homepage 1

Like The Sunglass Fix, Holabird Sports knows the way to our hearts is with free shipping, so they let us know they offer it with orders over $49 in the header.

Site footer

holabird spots footer 2

In the footer, they increase transparency in multiple ways. First, they display their excellent TrustScore of 4.8/5, along with a selection of verified customer reviews. They also display their business contact information including phone number, email address, and physical address, along with links to their social media profiles. Finally, they include accepted payment methods and TrustedSite’s Certified Secure trustmark, to reassure customers that their personal information is safe on the site.

In the footer, the TrustedSite floating trustmark is displayed in the bottom left corner to ensure that customers feel safe throughout their shopping journey.

Product pages

Product page Holabird sports 3

If a customer had any doubts before landing on a product page, they certainly won't afterwards. Complimenting the crisp, clear photos depicting exactly what the products look like, icons calling out free shipping and returns are displayed, along with links to their official shipping policies so that customers quickly know what to expect. They also list detailed product descriptions that are extremely easy to read and display customer reviews as well.

Shopping cart

holabird sports checkout 4

The cart calls out important information that customers need to know before they checkout. A note about shipping informs customers when orders go out, and that delivery dates aren’t guaranteed because of delays caused by COVID-19. There’s also a note that taxes and shipping are calculated at checkout, so the customer knows to expect an increase in their order total. They also display the TrustedSite Secure Checkout trustmark which informs shoppers that with their purchase they will receive $100k identity protection in the event that information is stolen within the next 90 days.

In your own words, how do you build trust?

To give you more insight into the trust-building strategies that these sites have put in place, we interviewed Craig Anderson, CEO and founder of The Sunglass Fix, and Brian Hirshfeld, owner of Holabird Sports.

Why is building trust with your customers so important to your business?

The Sunglass Fix: “When I came up with the idea, a lot of people thought I was going absolutely mad because I was starting a sunglass lens replacement business when nobody had done it in the past. I think if you talk to 100 people today and ask them “Can you replace the lenses in your sunglasses?” 99% probably haven’t heard of this concept. So when somebody lands on our site and is looking for a solution, building trust is the most important thing that we have to do, and we have to do that right off the bat.”

Holabird Sports: “I think it’s important to build trust with customers because there are a million and one options out there for people to shop and spend their money. Although we have been around for 40 years, many people may come across our website and have no idea if we are a “legit” business or not. With so many massive websites out there selling similar products, we need to ensure our customers feel safe shopping with us, and that we’re doing everything to protect their information and offer the most secure shopping experience. We also want to make sure they know that our customer service will be second to none and are 100% satisfied with their experience.”

What has been your strategy for building customer trust?

The Sunglass Fix: “There are lots of ways that we've tried to achieve that. Using TrustedSite to be very confident that the customer's information is secure, and showing that to the customer is extremely important to us. Having the TrustedSite badge which customers can click on, read about what sort of security we have on the site, and learn that we're constantly monitored also helps to build trust.

Showcasing our awards is another strategy of ours. We won the Platinum Australia Customer Service Award three years in a row. That one is important because it shows that we do take care of the customers after the sale if there is any sort of an issue.

Having unmodifiable reviews out there is important to us too, so we can get feedback and use it to improve ourselves and to share with those that are contemplating a purchase with us. With Trustpilot, we're basically asking for honest feedback about our services from everybody that we sell to, and that stuff's untouched. We can respond to feedback, but if somebody gives a bad review, it's there.”

Holabird Sports: “We have always believed in being on as many review websites and platforms as possible. Having unbiased and real customer feedback proves that we offer a great shopping experience that is hard to beat. We work to ensure all our customers have a great experience and will follow up with all reviews to check if there ever was an issue, and if so, we learn from it and improve.”

What has been your experience using Trustpilot?

The Sunglass Fix: “Trustpilot has been a really good experience for us in a lot of ways. We've always been open to customer feedback, good or bad. The good is very nice to hear and it builds that confidence level for future customers, but the bad is also a very important learning experience. If you don't hear about the bad experiences your customers have, you can't really improve your business. Trustpilot is easy to integrate and execute. It’s automated so we don't have to think about it a lot, but we do have to make sure we get out there and respond to customers. When we receive a negative review, we get to at least say something back and talk about what went wrong and what we're going to do to try to fix it for our customers.”

Holabird Sports: “We have always used Trustpilot as a review partner. The ability to promote reviews and share people’s comments and feedback is presented nicely on the platform, and we have been happy with their services and platform.”

When and why did you decide to try TrustedSite, and what has the impact been on your site?

The Sunglass Fix: “About five years ago we were looking for better tools to scan our site and make sure that things were as secure as possible. TrustedSite seemed like a great partner because we could sit back and focus on our business while also focusing on the site's security and preventing breaches that could potentially impact our customers’ private information. Having TrustedSite shows our customers that we care and shows that we're partnering with probably one of the biggest and best in the industry.”

Holabird Sports: “We had always used McAfee for our website, so when presented with the new TrustedSite platform a few years ago, it was intriguing. At first, we were skeptical of a potential impact on business, but TrustedSite worked with us and provided an amazing experience with A/B testing to provide data that could not be argued. I think overall the impact on our business has been positive. I think it provides another level of protection and a feeling of security for customers who want that when shopping with new and unknown (to them) websites.”

Wrapping up

There’s no single way to make your site a trusted site. It takes a combination of multiple trust signals placed strategically throughout the customer journey to ensure that customers feel comfortable making a purchase on your site.

Now that you’ve seen some great examples of sites that have implemented a successful trust-building strategy, consider how you can achieve the same. Start with simple trust signals, like displaying your contact information in your site’s header or footer, and work your way up to things like using an open review platform, and earning awards or certifications. With added trust, you’ll be well on your way to increasing sales.

As a copywriter at TrustedSite, Alysse works to communicate the importance of building trust on eCommerce websites.
Alysse Phipps
Alysse Phipps
Copywriter at TrustedSite

Check out more of Alysse's work here.


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