12 Website Must-Haves To Win Over New Customers

This Storbie article originally appeared on The Register

What do you do when you search online for a product and land on a company’s website? Whether consciously or subconsciously, we all perform checks on the company before considering purchase. It makes sense that we want to make sure this company we haven’t dealt with before is trustworthy, before punching in our credit card details. A great product alone isn’t going to instantly make us part with our hard-earned cash. We need to know who we’re buying from, that they’re reputable, and be assured we’ll receive the product and appropriate service.

So what things help us as online shoppers to tick the boxes? There’s some really simple, but extremely valuable, information that all online businesses can include on their website to help potential customers overcome that first barrier to buying online from a business new to them.

Here’s a list of 12 must-haves for your online store to build trust, with examples from some of the most successful Storbie ecommerce stores. Cross these 12 things off the list and you’ll know you have a great basis for winning over new online shoppers.

1. A detailed ‘About’ section that includes (but is definitely not limited to):

  • What year your company was established in
  • How many years overall experience you have
  • Meet the team info – photos, descriptions, quirky facts, anything that adds personality to your business and website. Customers will be happy to know who they are buying from.

Husband and wife duo, Miles and Janet King, from Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese share a window into their tasty world, with detailed information about themselves, their farm, sheep, cheese-making team and processes.

Kingsmeade Artisan Cheese About

2. Full company contact details

This may seem like an obvious thing to have, but you’ll be surprised how many websites don’t list a physical address. You may think that if you only sell online, you don’t need to list an address. In fact, customers want to see that you have a physical address so they know that you’re legitimate, and in case they need to return any products. Remember to also include a phone number and contact email address. Rich Nutrients have made sure to include all three and a handy contact form. If you’re a small business and can’t be near a phone all the time, the easiest thing to do is set up a phone number via Skype with a voicemail. Skype will then email you when someone leaves a message and you can then call them back.


3. Notable Clients and Testimonials

Display honest feedback from your customers to create an authentic insight into your products and services. You can ask customers for this feedback, whether they send it to you directly or post on a social platform such as Google+ or Facebook. You can also take the chance to show any recognisable companies and/or people that already trust you. Reading customer comments about Wellington jewellers The Village Goldsmith and seeing some of the big names they’ve worked with really helps to build their credibility and reputation for extraordinary products and service.

The Village Goldsmith jewellers testimonials

4. Delivery information and returns policy

Two things that every shopper looks for to be sure that their product will actually arrive, and whether they can send it back – make this information super-easy to find and simple to understand. The Hammock Shop explains the delivery process in detail, offers guarantees on their products and a returns policy — nice!


5. Details of your premises

If you also run a brick-and-mortar shop, let everyone know – take a video walk-through, show pictures, describe your store to entice people to come in (and purchase!). CSA Surfboards do a great job of this, with shop photos, workshop videos, and enticing surf beaches on their doorstep.

CSA Surfboards shop and workshop videos

6. Strong social media presence

If you’re active and popular on one or more social networks, show it! Encourage people to join you on these networks and offer them a benefit of doing so, for example, exclusive sneak peeks of new products, and fun competitions. Being on social media means you aren’t afraid to share information in the public domain, and allow other people to do the same. Love Lis have links to their Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts in multiple places throughout the site and also encourage people to email or send a message via Facebook.

Love Lis social media links

7. Regularly updated blog or news

A regularly updated blog or news section can show you’re passionate about what you do, you actively want to provide useful information for your customers, and it means your site doesn’t look stale. Inspired Jewellery have been blogging for 8 years, their posts range from interesting jewellery-related articles written by the team, to showcasing the latest engagement ring designs and sharing press features in Forbes!

Inspired Jewellery blog

8. Any mentions of your company in popular press publications/media outlets

Press features show that you’re recognised by the media as the go-to experts in your industry and help build your credibility. Wilshi – The Proposal Ring have a raft of press mentions, especially from when their product was launched. They share videos and quotes on their homepage, including one from Dan Carter, their first customer!


9. Associations, accreditations, certifications, qualifications and regulations

Not just a list of long words – it’s important to show you’re qualified, reputable and knowledgeable in your field. Le’Esscience make sure to tell customers they’re buying “100% natural & vegan products” from a “qualified Clinical Aromatologist with a certificate in AromaScience, NZQA recognised qualification, fully approved by the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA)”.


10. Show off your other, more established sites

If you’ve launched a new site and have had successes with other more established sites, say so – people like to know you have a reliable track record. Monomoko is a new online art and apparel store by Tim Christie, the designer also behind Wellington t-shirt company Very Well. Tim provides a link between these and his other websites to show off his full design repertoire and talent.


11. Terms & conditions and privacy policy

Internet sites that gather information about their visitors are expected to have a privacy policy which lets visitors know how their information will be distributed and managed. This should be written in plain English so customers know what they’re signing up for! Luckily for Storbie users, we have set up a default privacy policy which you can use or change as necessary. Likewise you may have terms & conditions which customers need to be aware of or explicitly agree to in order to purchase from you. Naked Vapour, who sell e-cigarettes, have both these items displayed in the footer of their site.


12. Speak in a candid voice

Remember you’re not speaking in front of an audience, you’re speaking to one individual at a time. A genuine story helps win people over. Here’s a great example from The Stitchsmith.



  1. Great article and advice as always. I do just want to challenge what you say about having to have an address and phone number. My main reasons for having a solely-online business is flexibility and privacy/security. That is not consistent with having your address available to the world at large. I can (& do) operate my business from anywhere in NZ, without being tied to a physical address. And unless your phoneline is 100% manned during your stated hours customers not being able to reach you by phone can be very damaging to business. And it also means you need to be constantly available to your customers, instead of when it suits you. Yes, you need credibility but this can be achieved in other ways eg trademe feedback, paypal buyer guarantee and of course using a platform like Storbie

    1. Hi Jack, thanks for the feedback, glad you found the article useful. Agreed, different things work for different businesses but we generally suggest to offer all contact details, especially if your online business is your full-time job. I like how you clearly explain why you don’t and alleviate any concerns on your website FAQs.

    1. Thanks Ginelle, I’m glad you found the article useful and thanks for commenting! Let me know how you go and if you have any questions 🙂

  2. I never realized how important a terms and conditions page was. Thanks for the insight, we will work on implementing some of these on our page. Gave you a follow via WordPress. Keep up the good work!

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