Cyber Monday Sales Increase – 5 tips that increase trust

Cyber Monday topped previous records, slowed only by the consumers need to sleep. It’s robotic staff working tirelessly pushing those cyber shopping carts around each e-commerce site.

ComScore Inc, an analytics firm, said U.S. online sales rose 17.3 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, outpacing sales growth at brick-and-mortar stores. ComScore forecasts a 16 percent jump in online sales for the season, helped by greater use of mobile devices.

The National Retail Federation projects overall holiday sales will grow 3.9% in 2013, but online shopping will grow 13-15% by comparison.

So, the public trusts online shopping more than ever, right? That’s the only logical conclusion, right?


Associated Press (AP) writer, Connie Cass, reports  that in a just completed 2013 General Social Survey, a full two-thirds of Americans say “you can’t be too careful ” when dealing with people. The article suggests that this may be due to technology. People watch TV and text instead of joining bowling leagues and Elks lodges. Another possible problem Cass points out may be the increasing gap between the haves and the have nots.

Who do you trust more with your credit card info?

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Why do I care as a communications and business consultant? Well, “dealing with people” suggests communications doesn’t it? People don’t trust people they meet while traveling (78%).  75% mistrust auto drivers. And, I assume you all know some favorite communications between dissatisfied drivers.

Just the other day, I was decorating our living room and Christmas tree when the doorbell rang. A cheery woman greeted me as I opened the door. She said she was “in the area” with a company showing off their superior carpet and furniture cleaning service. She volunteered to clean two couches just inside the door for free to show us how impressive their work is. She took my last name and phone number and said her crew would be by in about an hour and a half. Then, she bid us adieu and left. It bothered me slightly that she had no flyer or card to leave, although I had declined her offer to give me her phone number.

I trusted her.

After hours passed and no team showed, I started re-thinking my trusting self. Was she really a set up for a scam team? Perhaps she was scoping out the place for later pillaging. She didn’t look like a viking or a gang member.  I called my neighbor just in case. He had the same lady pitch the same pitch about the same time. However, she called him back to say they were running behind and might not make it that day. He had her phone number. Phew! My overactive fear factor was told to stand down.

So, whazzup with cyber sales growing while people trust people less? I may have found an answer.

Wait for it…wait for it…

The study mentioned above suggests that 67% distrust the merchant (cash register person) swiping their credit card when they buy something.  I should probably get more paranoid in this department, because I strike up a conversation with every grocery store, retail or restaurant cashier taking my credit card. Maybe, I think subconsciously that they won’t rob me if they like me.

Back to the ranch. Here’s my epiphany! My magic hypothesis! In my best Malcolm Gladwell cerebral moment:

Perhaps we’ve reached the Tipping Point where we trust the online shopping cart robot more than the human cashier!!!!

Wow! Maybe now my Gladwell Outlier 10,000+ hour business acumen is paying off.

This tipping point idea makes sense–to me at least. If I’m right, online retailers around the world must rejoice this season to know their computer in the cloud is more highly respected than human employees. Wait! I’m a human. I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on me and hope my 200 LinkedIn endorsements still carry some weight.

What do you think, my fellow human?

Shopify offers these 5 tips to increase shopper confidence on your e-commerce site:

  1. Make it personal – give it a human feel
  2. Make it professional – use best practices for FAQ, customer support etc
  3. Show that others trust you – testimonials & 3rd party validation
  4. Show your site is secure – SSL, encryption etc
  5. Lower customer risk – shipping & returns policy up front


About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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