Most marketing is positive. You tell your consumers how your business can help them, not the bad things they’ll avoid by buying your products.
There are a few reasons for this. One is, consumer attention is limited, so it makes sense to lead with value. Another is, paradoxically, denying something tends to strengthen belief in the claim being denied. It’s why political myths—no matter how outlandish—are difficult to debunk, why a person who “protests too much” looks guilty, and why you’d probably balk at buying peanut butter labeled “not poisonous.”
So how do you address legitimate consumer concerns around site security, payment processing, and business integrity without accidentally undermining trust in your business? You might use a trust badge, which can help you build customer trust and potentially increase conversions and sales. Here's how.
What is a trust badge?
A trust badge (or trust seal) is a digital icon business owners display on their websites to signal reduced purchasing risk—and, ideally, motivate purchasing behavior. Displaying a trust badge can reassure customers you have a secure and low-risk online shopping experience. Security trust badges, payment badges, endorsement badges, and policy-specific badges are all popular types.
To obtain trust badges, you first research and choose a reputable provider known as a certificate authority (CA). Once you sign up with a CA, verify your website and add the generated badge code to your website's HTML. Displaying the trust badge prominently can help boost user confidence in your website's security and credibility.
Why should you use a trust badge?
Trust badges can build an online shopper’s trust in your business and increase sales and conversion rates. Here’s how:
- Improved trust in your business. A trust badge allays specific ecommerce customer fears without employing language that might accidentally reinforce their fears. A customer who is worried about falling for a scam might be reassured by a Better Business Bureau badge, while a security trust badge might reassure a customer concerned about data security.
- Increased conversion rates. Research shows that almost 70% of shopping carts are abandoned and that 17% of shopping cart abandonments are due to concerns about online security. Based on these numbers, eliminating security concerns could lead to more sales. Free shipping and return badges can further lower the barrier to purchase, and potentially boost conversion rates and sales.
- Policy clarity. Trust badges are an efficient way to communicate key purchasing information, such as the payment methods you accept and your shipping and return policies. These badges fit neatly on your online store's checkout page and can replace the paragraphs of text otherwise required to communicate the same information.
4 common types of trust badges
There are many trust badges available. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular types and where to place them:
1. Security trust badges
Website security trust badges tell your audience that making a purchase from your online store is safe and that their personal data is secure. They don’t need to worry about identity theft or other complications related to a data breach. These types of badges are often known as safe checkout badges, secure payment badges, or secure checkout badges.
Many security badges indicate that a site has a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, meaning it abides by the complex web security measures required to securely handle customer data. These badges are also known as SSL badges or SSL trust badges.
If you don’t implement SSL protocol, a widely used cryptographic protocol that provides secure communication over a network, you’ll run into trouble long before your customer makes it to checkout; most common browsers warn users not to visit a site without SSL encryption. If they choose to visit your site anyway, the browser will replace the lock icon that displays next to an encrypted website’s URL with an alert icon and the words “Not secure.” It’s not a good look for your business.
To obtain a secure checkout badge, choose a reputable CA—DigiCert and GlobalSign are popular options—and purchase an SSL certificate from them. Once installed and authenticated, the CA will provide you with a trust badge or site seal that you can prominently display on your checkout page to provide customers with an extra layer of reassurance during the critical conversion stage.
2. Payment badges
Accepted payment trust badges serve two functions: They provide your customers with important information about accepted payment methods, and they align your company with trusted brand names, effectively communicating an endorsement from companies as large and established as Visa or PayPal.
Accepted payment icons are an example of a free trust badge. Because payment providers have something to gain from validating your site, they’ll typically provide this asset free of charge. Look for free trust badges for every payment method you accept. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal badges are all popular options. If you have a Shopify store, you can choose which credit card icons to display.
Ecommerce sites typically display accepted payment trust badges on checkout pages near credit card detail forms or other payment fields.
3. Endorsement badges
Endorsement badges are granted by recognized third-party brands as a recognition and approval of your business.
The Google Verified Customer Reviews badge and the Better Business Bureau Accredited Business badge are two popular third-party endorsements badge options. To earn these types of badges, you typically need to submit an application to the endorsing entity and wait for review and approval. Once approved, you receive an icon to place on your website.
Because endorsement badges signify wholesale approval of your company, many businesses place them in their website footers instead of reserving them for the checkout process.
4. Policy-specific badges
Policy-specific badges can include free shipping badges, free return badges, and money-back guarantee badges.
These badges typically do what you’d expect. A free shipping trust badge reassures customers that they won’t face prohibitive shipping costs after they enter payment details, and a money-back guarantee badge signifies a low-risk purchasing opportunity by telling customers that they have little to lose if a purchase doesn't work out.
This badge type is free—and unlike others, they don’t require third-party verification. This is a claim that you can reliably make about your own business. The purpose of the badge is to provide a convenient graphic shorthand to accompany the claim. You can easily install one of these icons with a trust badge app.
Ecommerce businesses may display badges of this type on checkout pages, About pages, or in a website footer.
Trust badges FAQ
What is the trusted badge icon?
A trust badge icon is a website graphic that validates your site’s security and your business’s reputation. It may also advertise specific policies or services, such as payment types accepted or a money-back guarantee.
Are all trust badges equally effective in building trust?
No. Trust badges depend on brand recognition. Generally, the more widely recognized a trust badge, the more effective it can be in increasing customer trust.
Where should trust badges be placed on a website for maximum impact?
Trust badge placement depends on badge type, but online retailers generally place trust badges that validate overall business reputation in a website footer. You typically find trust badges addressing specific checkout or purchasing concerns—like accepted payment badges—on an ecommerce store’s checkout page.