I recently came across an ad from a web design company that talked about how having a website increases a brand’s legitimacy because it makes the brand more reliable.
But now it’s becoming a norm that people can buy in Instagram stores or even Shopee or Lazada retailers, many of which don’t even have their own websites.
Now, companies can choose not to have a website for many reasons, such as getting a professional design it costs too much, or simply because they feel it is not necessary, and it is often argued that this unwillingness to invest in a website will cost them legitimacy.
But here are 6 reasons why we would argue otherwise.
1. Websites may have biased ratings
On a brand’s website, you are very unlikely to have a score below the 4 star rating by your customers on their products.
There is no way to explain whether these ratings are true or not and even whether they modified them to look like they were not perfect (5 stars), but good enough (above 4 stars).
Also, most of these ratings come from people you can’t verify were real customers (Amy S., who?), While compared to an e-commerce site, these ratings are mostly left by people with real accounts who you can do it easily. click on. On sites like Instagram and Facebook, you might also see angry comments or reactions if a brand has disgruntled customers and you can easily see fake comments (they’re usually too superficial and exaggerated).
While a marketer can fully control what and how they want their site to be presented, potential customers will be more interested in the way above. legitimate customers have rated these products and, realistically, not all will be in the safe range of 4.5 to 4.8 stars.
2. Customers like to compare products for the best deal
Consumers like options. The more options, the better. But comparisons do not stop at prices, brand, perceived product quality, and so on. We also like to compare reviews.
As mentioned above, consumers, especially if they are first time buyers, find it helpful to know more about what previous customers have said about their purchases.
If I am new to buying matcha powder, I would find it difficult to decide which brand of matcha powder to buy if I read reviews on their own websites, which are usually positive.
While in Shopee or Lazada, I would see unbiased reviews of different brands and products that will speak much more in terms of legitimacy. In addition, I can compare them based on the number of bad reviews each of them receives and whether they are repeated often.
3. A brand’s engagement on social media is transparent
For stores that only feature social media like Instagram and Facebook as an online presence, feedback, “likes” and any form of engagement is another way to measure a brand’s legitimacy and reliability.
While it’s easy to buy “likes,” it’s more complicated to buy reviews because it’s not too difficult to distinguish a real and fake account on social media. Also, a brand should be very desperate to create a lot of fake accounts to link to your page or bribe people to do so.
So seeing reviews (which aren’t necessarily extensive reviews of a product or service) and sharing real-world content on social media can increase my confidence in a brand, as it shows people how to brand enough to participate. thereby giving it more legitimacy.
Commitment does not always have to be positive. When people aren’t satisfied, they’re not afraid to let you know, especially online, so even if a brand’s page disables comments, you’re sure to see actions combined with nasty subtitles.
To add, if a website has received excellent reviews about their products, you can probably evaluate what their customers really think by taking a quick look at social media. If a brand isn’t actually much loved, you’re likely to see unhappy comments or little or no engagement (which would be weird if they had a volume of reviews on their website).
4. Product images on a brand’s website only show them to the fullest
On the brand’s websites, you could only see their products in the best, brightest versions. Let’s go back to the example of buying matcha powder. A site may show me the greenish color that its matcha powder lives, but will I get exactly what I see? Arguable.
However, in e-commerce sites where merchants have a review section, you can see images of the actual look of these products in their generally unedited forms. Who the hell would take the time to edit their photos wonderfully in a 5 minute review, especially if you are not paid to promote the product?
And even if someone posted a review with edited images, it’s likely that it was one of the few and most were unedited images, which will give you a more genuine impression of the product.
This is one of the advantages of e-commerce sites, as most branded websites do not allow reviews with attached images, which makes it harder to believe that reviewers make the purchase.
However, it is interesting to note that some of my colleagues do not think that these images are sufficient to assess the quality of a product. Things like furniture and clothing are some products that still prefer to feel physically before making a purchase, which is especially fair for sales where items are non-refundable.
5. Sales volume can also influence perceived legitimacy
One thing that websites don’t usually show is the volume of their sales. For those who do, they may claim to have sold the X number of their products or to have had a Y number of customers, but having full control of what they display, they can easily adjust them.
On the other hand, e-commerce sites like Shopee and Lazada actually show how many units of a product have been sold, and these statistics are not easily modifiable by a merchant. If a product listing has high ratings i with a large volume of sales made, customers are more likely to make the purchase.
6. Brand verification is a positive point for legitimacy
Another thing that trusts me more in a store (especially e-commerce sites) is the verification badge. It means that the e-commerce site relies enough on its quality of products and services to recognize the brand.
For example, in Shopee, the equivalent of this is the “Favorite Seller” badge you can find under a product. That insignia it is only given to merchants with a certain amount of net orders in the last 30 days, with a high frequency of chat responses, with a net penalty history, and more.
This is a legitimacy that the website itself cannot provide without impartiality, nor will a brand have the same level of responsibility from a third party as Shopee.
My boss understood this shared feeling about his experience by not getting any refunds for which he qualified, although the brand site promised full refunds for those who met the criteria and the product has already been returned to the seller.
I have also had a number of issues related to shopping for branded websites, such as when I got 2 items of clothing from a fast fashion company that featured different materials than what was claimed on the site.
I once bought a satin skirt that appeared with corrugated material on a brand’s website and couldn’t return it because the computer didn’t respond.
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With these arguments, I’m not saying that brands shouldn’t have any website because it doesn’t add anything to their legitimacy. It’s just that having one isn’t the the most important thing for a current brand.
Ideally, a brand should have a website to tell customers more about the people behind it and their history, along with social media pages to interact with their customers.
Does a brand need to have a website specially designed to look legitimate? We would say no, and there are many more affordable options that can work for growing brands through website creators such as Wix and Squarespace.
Of course, brands may start to see the limitations of these options once they reach a certain scale of operations, and perhaps this is when a bespoke website can be considered, as they would then have the capital to invest in it. too.
- You can read more opinion pieces we’ve written here.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post