Why join Google Trusted Stores?
Google Trusted Stores
As customers abandon physical stores in favour of online shopping, the importance of maintaining a creditable store with good customer service grows. However, one of the core difference between the online and in-store retail experience lies in the consumer’s confidence. It is often more difficult to communicate and demonstrate the quality and integrity of your store in a digital environment.
Google Trusted Stores is just one solution to addressing this problem. In an attempt to help customers distinguish reputable online stores, Google introduced their ‘Google Trusted Stores’ program. While the Google Trusted Stores certification offers a significant advantage over your competitors, there are some eligibility requirements:
- +200 average monthly online orders
- No restricted products or services (e.g. weapons, tobacco)
- Customer support response (to escalations) within one business day
- Accurate estimated delivery dates (for non-backorder items)
- Shopping basket pages hosted on same domain as store
- Checkout pages are encrypted (i.e. only accessed using HTTPS)
Google also requires you to commit to certain guidelines in order to maintain your Google Trusted Stores certification. However, since the majority of these guidelines are focused around delivering a positive customer experience; committing to them shouldn’t be a significant hurdle for your store.
Google Trusted Stores is a certification program that aims to connect quality retailers with online shoppers. Once your online store has been certified with Google, a badge will be displayed on your website, demonstrating the positive reviews of your business. This helps to communicate to shoppers that you provide reliable shipping, good customer service and an overall enjoyable shopping experience. The Google Trusted Stores badge is an effective means of increasing customer confidence and consequentially conversion rates.
Google Trusted Stores further increase this confidence by providing free ‘purchase protection’ for shoppers who opt-in after making a purchase. This purchase protection covers all eligible orders through your website (up to AU$1,000.00). Google collects customer feedback about your online store, which is then contributed to aggregated reviews to determine your ‘seller rating‘.
When a customer completes the checkout process with a Google Trusted Store, they’re given the option to opt-in for the free ‘purchase protection’. This protection offered by Google is limited to AU$1,000.00 in lifetime claims, which includes the entire order amount, the included tax and the shipping costs. Google notes that there are several limitations to the ‘purchase protection’, including:
- The merchant’s return policy and terms still apply
- Purchase protection is not a product warranty
- Purchase protection does not cover rebates or other discounts
- Google does not evaluate or endorse specific products sold by stores in the program
- Purchase protection does not apply to lost or stolen items
- Purchase protection is limited to the item you purchased; it does not apply for identity theft or credit card theft
The ‘purchase protection’ expires sixty days after the order was initially placed, and is a warranty for the store’s service (not the product itself). Google outlines the following eligibilities for the ‘purchase protection’ offer:
- You fail to receive the correct item
- The item is not in the promised condition
- You are billed an incorrect amount
- The item is not shipped in a timely manner
- The store does not honor their return policies>
Google Trusted Store Badge
The website badge is added for all certified merchants in the Google Trusted Store program. Confidence building badges such as these typically perform best when they are supported by a widely-recognised brand name.
Since Google is perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the world, the benefits of the badge are obvious.
This badge can be positioned on your website to suit your design, but will float in the bottom right corner by default. When users hover over the badge, they are presented with several additional confidence triggers, including the ‘purchase protection’ previously mentioned.
In addition to the protection, hovering over the badge will present the store’s ‘seller rating‘. This rating is the result of aggregated ratings through Google Trusted Stores, Google surveys and several other independent data providers.
If users choose to click on the ‘View details’ link next to the rating, they will be taken to a page displaying all relevant reviews for your store. If you’ve committed to delivering (and maintained) a positive shopping experience for your customers, this page is a great tool promoting your store.
Furthermore, with the hover pop-up branded around Google, you are further enforcing the credibility of your website by leveraging off of their reputation.
Search Engine Optimisation
While there’s limited information about the search engine benefit of the Google Trusted Store certification, there are obvious direct benefits for click-through-rates, customer confidence, and conversion rates. For instance, the Google Trusted Store badge has been shown to increase conversions by up to five percent; a huge benefit for any online store and at a relatively inexpensive price.
Although there’s little information available, the Google Trusted Store certification is likely to influence rankings in either organic results or Google Shopping listings. The certification demonstrates a much higher likelihood of a positive customer experience, which should be the primary goal for the Google search engine.
Search Engine Marketing
One of the core benefits of the Google Trusted Store certification is obviously the increasing of customer confidence. The beauty of the program is it’s integration with other Google services – like Google AdWords. The example to the right demonstrates how your ‘seller rating’ can be reflected in each of your Google AdWords text ads.
The ‘seller rating‘ for your website is not only reflected on your website’s badge, but also within your Google AdWords text ads, and Google Shopping ads. Similar to other ‘Ad Extensions’ offered from Google AdWords, the ‘seller ratings‘ are an effective tool for increasing your ad performance. A Google Trusted Stores certification will help in improving not only the click-through-rate of your ads, but also your ‘Ad Rank’.
Applying For Google Trusted Stores
The application process for the Google Trusted Stores certification involves three core processes:
This step involves the initial setup of your Google Trusted Stores account. You will be required to verify your website’s eligibility, review the relevant agreements, and submit the primary contact information for your business. In addition, you will need to provide store-specific information for at least one of your stores.
Secondly, there is additional technical integration for the order confirmation pages. On this page, you will need to communicate several order details to Google, which will be integrated with your Google Trusted Stores account. The order details that will need to be communicated to Google and unique for each order, including: order id, order total, tax, shipping, shipping date, delivery date and more. In addition, you are required to communicate the relevant product details for the order, including: product name, price, quantity, and more. Essentially, this will allow you to manage and monitor any customer service issues within the Google Trusted Stores platform.
With the code integrated, you will need to place three test orders through your store (on different web browsers). These orders will need to be validated with Google Trusted Stores using the ‘confirmation module’. Once the technical integration has been completed, and confirmed within the ‘confirmation module’, your store can enter the qualification period.
During the qualification period, the Google Trusted Stores badge will not be visible on your website. However, customers who complete a purchase on your website may be invited to opt-in to a survey on their shopping experience. Google utilises this data (and feedback from other sources) to determine your store’s eligibility for certification. In this process, Google will also be reviewing your website’s customer service, delivery and returns policies. This qualification period can take between one and three months – depending on the volume of monthly orders. For instance, if your store processes a thousand orders per month, the qualification period may only take one month. If your store processes three hundred orders per month, the process can take up to three months.
We at Kook were lucky enough to be involved with Google Trusted Stores before it was offered to all stores Australia wide. We integrated the Trusting Store Program for a large online retailer with very promising results. The online store’s conversion rate increased from 0.57% to 0.7%, and while this may not seem like a huge jump, it represents a 20% increase. In addition to the growth of conversion rate, the revenue through the store increased by a huge 43.5% (as demonstrated below).
The benefits from the Google Trusted Stores certification are clearly evident in both consumer confidence and return on investment. Whilst we cannot guarantee you that your online store will be accepted into the program, we have witnessed its effect first hand. If your online store meets the criteria above – we strongly recommend that you apply, as it can have a massive effect on your sales.