Authority makes you look reliable and trustworthy. And this makes your customers want to listen to you. But how?
The authority principle is an example of how people tend to use judgment heuristics or simple strategies that allow us to quickly form judgments and come up with solutions to problems, according to Nielsen Norman Group.
And the assumption under the authority principle is that as those in positions of authority may have more knowledge, wisdom, and power, falling in with their views and decisions will make decision-making easier for someone and is more likely to lead to positive outcomes.
This is why authority figures appeal so much to consumers and leveraging them in your eCommerce strategy is so effective.
How to show authority on your website
1. Use the “About Us” section.
This is where you tell your company’s story, let users know why you are the expert in the industry, and show who supports you and works with you.
2. Display your badges, awards, and nominations.
If your company is awarded in the industry, make sure that is prominently displayed on your website. Be proud of your achievements and let your audience know about them!
3. Showcase all media attention.
Not all your customers will see press articles where your company is mentioned and praised. Make all these mentions and recognitions accessible to your website’s visitors.
4. Make it known that you are highly recommended in the industry.
If your product is recognized and recommended by your industry’s leaders and professionals, flaunt it! Display recommendations from authority figures in your industry.
5. Show proof that you are backed by science.
If your product or service is backed by science and research, that’s a lot of authority points for you. Feature that on your website and make sure nobody can miss it. All research evidence will assure users of your authority.
6. Leverage the “white coat effect.”
Many studies have shown that people tend to trust those in uniforms just because they look trustworthy. This is why you will see white lab coats in all medical service ads and websites.
Examples of how the authority principle is used by eCommerce companies
A very popular way to show your authority is to display badges. And companies often display their awards badges on their homepages. In this example, Lokalise also displays them on their LinkedIn page. These badges allow users to immediately see the company’s competencies and make them more likely to accept the company’s authority in what it does!
Do conversion strategists really wear lab coats when they go to work? Anyhow, Conversion Sciences was able to find an excuse to make the “white coat effect” work for their branding. (And a really clever one, actually).
Klarna is a very smart brand and we can see that on their “About Us” page.
First, they display logos of the investors who have backed them. If Visa is backing them—being a multinational financial service known all over the world—they must know what they are doing.
Second, they know how to praise their CEO and their copy is simple but powerful. Their confidence in stating that they “revolutionized Swedish e-commerce” gives the reader that sense that the company must indeed be an authority in the field.
Lastly, they do not forget to mention that the people working at Klarna come from some of the best companies in the world, which implies that they are experts in the field.
Users are so used to the generic “Customer Support” and “Customer Service,” but then there’s Apple who doesn’t shy away from giving their team a name that easily positions them as experts—Apple experts. It effectively communicates that when you’re dealing with Apple, you are dealing with experts. That’s a very smart move!
See how Headspace introduces their company’s story. Their founder was an actual monk. What better authority figure can a meditation service have than a monk?
Headspace also neatly shows that their service is backed by research and science. But in case users need more convincing, they have a separate “Press” section where users can see all their publications. Making all these resources available to your audience is an effective way to help them recognize your authority.
Now, it’s time to review your own platforms and see if you are making the authority principle work for your brand. Take to heart these examples of how successful eCommerce companies leverage this principle and start positioning your own as an authority in your industry. We’re confident that you’ll see a positive response from your audience when you do.
If you liked this post and would like to know more about other eCommerce strategies you can apply to your business, shoot us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to tell you more. Our Growth Team can help you match your goals with the best strategies that are proven to work.