Looking to grow your business globally? Start with country-specific trust signals
To grow in new territories, businesses must build faith with new target audiences, says Search Laboratory’s Nicola Winters. Trust signals are key to transforming anonymous global users into loyal customers.
Trust varies from country to country - and so should your website's trust signals, says Nic Winters of Search Laboratory / FlyD via Unsplash
When a business is ready to expand internationally, establishing reputable online security is vital. Users want to know that all their data, especially financial data, is effectively protected online. With vast diversity in security standards across territories, online businesses in different regions have their own ways to gain credibility from target audiences.
This can cause challenges for companies looking to move into new markets.
Trust and quality seals, throughout Europe
To reassure customers across the globe, scattergun trust signals are inadequate; a country-focused approach is far more reliable. Locally known visual quality seals, accreditations, and certifications allow businesses to convert anonymous or dubious users into loyal, trust-filled customers.
For example, in Europe, credit cards are a robustly popular payment method. But the ways European users assess online trust signals before carrying out card payments vary drastically from country to country. For example, many German websites pre-empt any risk aversion by using quality marks to reassure customers, including TÜV: the ‘safer shopping’ certificate. In Italy, by contrast, user comments and reviews are major sources of trust. Opinion management services can collect these for businesses, but while positive comments are great, strangely enough, too much positivity can create a sense of doubt, and can lead consumers to question the legitimacy of products.
Then look at Spain, where both quality seals and user reviews are commonly used. This can assuage any discomfort with entering personal details for online payments – as can any opportunity to see and feel potential purchases before buying online.
Sometimes a country’s own legal requirements can act as a trust signal. In Germany, a website must display an Impressum page (a statement of ownership) in the footer; not doing so can severely affect conversions and increase bounce rates. Although this is not a legal requirement in Spain, France, or Italy, sites in those countries can all see increased conversions by including Impressum pages.
No matter the territory, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to trust signals. Secure sockets layer (SSL) certifications are some of the most recognized trust signals and give websites an essential layer of authenticity. These trust signals are an excellent method for informing customers about the presence of data protection procedures and the safety of online purchases.
There are two main ways to spot a website with an SSL certificate: the ‘lock’ symbol, and the ‘secure site’ symbol. In Europe, French websites strongly support SSL certificates to help reassure customers that their online transactions are fully protected.
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There are a number of varied SSL certificates – whichever you select, look for a suitable pair-up with a company and its industry sector.
Alongside SSL certificates, visual badges, and local reviews, the business’s successes and customer considerations (to suit local users) are also trust signals that resonate strongly with international users. Gaining and displaying industry-specific awards and certifications from your home market in a new territory can speak just as loudly to customers as traditional trust signals. In B2B especially, displaying successful company work (in the form of case studies) can be a goldmine for legitimizing your business to a new target audience.
From a logistical point of view, setting up localized, on-the-ground methods that enable users to contact you directly can make all the difference in supporting your potential new target customers and their unique needs. Whether it's Europe, Asia, Africa, North or South America, or Oceania, gaining the faith of your customers through the most appropriate trust signals allows businesses to successfully grow and take their online offerings to the next level.
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