Customers are known to trust each other far more than they do brands. It's the reason online reviews are so popular, but even that's becoming controlled by companies with paid reviews.
Therefore, customers are always looking for ways to find credibility in the online world. There's far too much fraud, too many sites that aren't secure, and too many companies that are trying to scam customers out of their money.
What are the customers supposed to do?
Well, this poses a problem, and an opportunity, for us ecommerce professionals. The consumers don't want to trust you, therefore you're stuck trying to figure out how to become trustworthy. On the other hand, if you provide full credibility in some way, then you're already way ahead of many of your competitors.
One of the ways to show that credibility is to become a Google Trusted Store.
Keep in mind that this name has changed a little in the recent past. Google still refers to a part of this program as Google Trusted Stores, but the primary arrangement has recently been moved to a program called Google Customer Reviews. So, we'll be referring to it more frequently as Google Customer Reviews.
What's So Special About Being a Google Trusted Store?
Whether you call it a trusted store or Google Customer Reviews, it basically means that Google has run a test on your store to ensure that your shopping experience is within its standards.
If you get past the screening, you'll be able to show a Google Customer Reviews badge on your website.
You'll start by applying for the process and waiting for Google to review your site. Customers who buy from your shop are sent surveys to tell Google about the experience. If Google thinks the reviews are good enough, they'll grant you the badge.
But what's so great about that?
- Customers know that other customers like you – It's all about social proof since anyone who knows anything about Google Trusted Stores realizes that it's not necessarily Google making the call. This isn't a badge that you can make yourself and add to your site. It's consumers who have given their honest feedback to help other customers.
- Your store qualifies for seller ratings – Seller ratings are a huge part of getting more customers through Google. Since the Google Network has tools like Google AdWords and Google Shopping, you can include the ratings on your ads and shopping posts. As rich snippets have shown us, revealing ratings with search results is essential for getting more clicks.
- Your status is shown on ads – Not only can you show user ratings on your ads, but a little Google Certified Shops tag will pop up when you advertise on Google AdWords.
- Give purchase protection to your customers – This is possibly the most important aspect of this program for shoppers. As I mentioned earlier, consumers don't trust companies with their personal information. Therefore, all certified shops can give out free purchase protection for up to a certain amount of money if they opt-in during the checkout process.
- Show off your status on-site – We talked about this briefly, but there is a little badge that goes on your website as well. Therefore, you can compete with larger brands like Amazon throughout the entire selling process-from the SERP ad to your website.
How to Become a Google Trusted Store (Or Join Google Customer Reviews)
If your store was part of the Google Trusted Stores program in the past, there's no need to worry. You've been migrated automatically. If you're not seeing a Google Customer Reviews badge on your website or in your ads, try to contact Google and get things squared away.
Otherwise, you can walk through the following steps to try to get your badge and make your online store more appealing to all customers:
Step 1: Go to Google Merchant Center and Either Sign Up or Select a Program
The first step is to open up the Google Merchant Center. If you already have an account with the Google Merchant Center then you can log in and get the ball rolling right away. If not, you'll have to walk through the signup process which should only take a few minutes.
Once you have your account, take a look at the dashboard to familiarize yourself. There are several other tools included that allow you to make the most of Google.
But right now, locate the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. Click on that to reveal a drop-down menu.
Select the Merchant Center Programs option.
Step 2: Choose Customer Reviews
As mentioned, there are several other programs for things like shopping ads, product reviews, dynamic remarketing, and much more.
We encourage you to explore all of these. However, for this tutorial you should click Enable under the Customer Reviews one.
Step 3: Read and Agree
The Customer Reviews program agreement is displayed before you move on. Make sure you read this since it actually has quite a bit of useful information in it.
Then, select that you have read and agreed to the document. Click on the Save and Continue button.
Step 4: Paste a Survey on Your Website
Afterwards, you'll receive a bit of code to insert on your website. Google guides you through that process, but the code is for displaying a survey reminder to customers who might want to give their feedback.
As talked about above, this feedback is accumulated and used to see if you qualify for the program.
Step 5: Display Your Badge!
In the past, the evaluation process has taken around 60-90 days, but that seems to vary depending on the merchant. Regardless, you'll eventually get an email telling you whether or not you've been accepted.
If you have been accepted, Google provides a Google Customer Reviews badge for you to embed on your website.
Are You Ready to Sign Up For Google Trusted Stores (Google Customer Reviews)?
Walking through this process is fairly easy, but turning your shopping process into a fluid one is the tough part.
Warning: Google Has Some More Requirements That You Should Meet
Check out the Google Customer Reviews Guidelines page to make sure you check all of the boxes. For instance, you won't be eligible if your checkout process ends up at a third-party domain.
Once you've handled all of these requirements you should be well on your way to becoming a Google Customer Review member/Google Trusted Store.
Feature image by Khuram