Trust Elements

Trust elements are content and image material on a website, which is supposed to strengthen the level of user trust in the website or online store. Trust-building actions are intended to ensure more sales in the medium term and long-term customer loyalty. Common trust elements are seals or testimonials (references).


In contrast to over-the-counter retail, the online trade is still a very young field of business. Due to the lack of direct contact to sellers or consultants, customers often have trouble distinguishing legitimate from unreliable online retailers. The trust required for the purchase or contract conclusion is missing. This is where trust elements come in because they can significantly influence the number of conversions.

Store operators or even just young startups are therefore well advised to work with trust elements in order to bring about purchases and/or desired visitor action in order to achieve higher conversions in the long term. The relevance of trust signals could also be demonstrated in the context of neuromarketing investigations.

Possible trust elements[edit]

Trust elements can appear on websites in many different facets. Here is a brief overview:

  • Customer opinions: people are often guided by other customer opinions when making their purchase decisions. Customer feedback from various serious providers can be integrated into the website as trust elements.
  • Integration into social media: many websites advertise with the number of their fans on social media portals. This “social trust” is built using widgets and boxes on the site. The prerequisite for this is, of course, a large fanbase.
  • Positive test results: buyers rely very much on objective test results for shops or products. Webmasters often use these trust elements on their websites. A popular example is the products tested by the Stiftung Warentest.
  • Quality seal: with appropriate seals websites can prove their quality. The TÜV seal is a popular trust element. In order to get this, online stores must not only fulfill many criteria, but also pay a multi-digit euro amount for the inspection.
  • Testimonials: what is important in conventional marketing also counts online as a trust element. Whether TV stars or athletes, testimonials strengthen the confidence of online users in a shop or a specific product.
  • Facts and figures: Statistics can also act as trust elements. These elements may be made up of the total number of visitors or the number of newsletter subscribers.
  • Technical seals: Buyers pay particular attention to security with payment transactions. Such security can be demonstrated by appropriate seals as a trust signal.

Placement of trust elements[edit]

Trust elements should be clearly perceived by visitors, but should not distract from the overall appearance or corporate design. It is therefore recommended to place trust elements on the homepage and across all pages of the website. Confidence-creating elements are important especially in the shopping cart and during the payment process in order to provide the buyer with a secure feeling, but trust elements can also be used in e-mails or invoices.