Building trust: How to use common and not-so-common trustmarks on your Shopify theme

by Michael P. Hill

Building trust: How to use common and not-so-common trustmarks on your Shopify theme

“Trust” is a big — and important — word in the world of ecommerce and Shopify themes. So important, in fact, that there’s a word for any type of logo, icon or symbol that helps reinforce that concept, the aptly named “trustmark.”

In a general sense, a trustmark can be any visual cue that helps build trust with shoppers — and hopefully turn browsers into buyers.

Often trustmarks blur the line between marketing too, such as ones that emphasize free shipping or other special offers.

However, since these types of imagery ultimately are designed to help build buyer confidence and interest, they can be categorized under the realm of trustmarks.

Nontraditional, but valuable trustmarks

While the word “trustmark” is often used more in relation to logos and “seal” designs, it’s worth noting that there are other types of trustmarks that can be added to your Shopify theme — and they are often easier to add.

As we discussed, the “Powered by Shopify” link alone can be a good way to build confidence with online shoppers who might be unfamiliar with your brand since it shows that you’re using a respected and secure ecommerce platform.

In that sense, while not a traditional trustmark, having a “Powered by Shopify” link or text on your page can have a subtle but strong effect.

In addition, Out of the Sandbox’s Turbo premium Shopify theme also features another subtle but powerful trustmark — the option to add a “lock” icon to your “checkout” button.

According to a PayPal study, adding just this icon can increase conversion rates up to 17% — impressive potential for something that takes up about 50 square pixels of screen space.

Other easy to implement trustmarks include Shopify’s built-in payment icons, which supports both major credit card brands and accelerated checkouts such as Shopify Pay and Apple Pay.

Similarly, the latest version of your Shopify theme should be compatible (all Out of the Sandbox themes are) with dynamic checkout buttons, which are another form of trustmark since these buttons prominently feature well-known branding.

Some Shopify store owners want to customize the look and feel of these buttons.

However, not only is this an advanced customization, but tinkering with these too much will lose the familiar colors and logos that these buttons feature by default — and therefore could make them less recognizable.

This ultimately could make them less effective as trustmarks since users won’t be able to spot, for example, that familiar yellow-orange Amazon Pay button.

Stretching the definition of trustmarks to include text statements can also be quite effective, whether you use the promo banner included in most Shopify themes, content areas on mega menus or sections to display text and imagery.

Adding custom traditional trustmarks

Although these options give you the flexibility to take advantage of these nontraditional trustmarks from within your Shopify theme — typically without customization, many store owners like to implement other trustmarks.

Often these take the form of icons, “badges” or “seals” that emphasize:

  • Secure checkout or other security features
  • Guarantees
  • Endorsements
  • Free shipping
  • Certifications (such as organic or gluten free)
  • Membership in industry organizations
  • Compliance to certain standards (such as “UL listed”)
  • Compatibility with third party products (such as bags or cases for certain phone brands and models)

Because of the wide scope of trustmarks that store owners want to implement, most Shopify themes don’t include built-in features to add these through the theme settings — instead they will typically require customizations.

Often creating these types of trustmarks requires creating a custom image or icon.

For standard trustmarks, it’s often easy to find quality stock imagery at reasonable prices if you can’t design your own.

If you need a less common trustmark, however, you may need to hire a designer to create one for you.

In general, adding a trustmark to your page typically requires uploading the image to Shopify and then modifying HTML and CSS code to output the images where you want them — whether it’s on your cart page, product pages, footer or elsewhere.

If you don’t know enough HTML or CSS to do this, it’s generally a pretty simple task that can be done affordably by most Shopify customization services.

In addition, it’s very easy to use your Shopify theme’s sections feature to easily add existing trustmark imagery to your homepage, product detail pages or content pages.

Logo lists are typically well suited to display trustmarks — and you can also use other sections to create ones that are more dynamic.

It’s also worth noting that, as announced at Shopify Unite 2019, sections will soon be available on every page — which will likely make adding trustmarks easier.

Things to consider

When creating and adding custom trustmarks, there are some important factors to consider:

  • In general, it’s not a good idea to combine multiple trustmarks into a single image. Although it’s an “easier” way to add trustmarks, it’s difficult to link each trustmark to a different URL and this approach typically doesn’t work well on mobile.
  • Some stores will make all trustmarks “monochromatic” — turning them all a shade of the same color to better match the look and feel of the store. While this can still be effective, it’s also important to consider the role color plays in helping shoppers recognize the brand or icon in question.
  • Further, if you’re using a trustmark or logo from a third party, be sure to check if their branding standards allow you to change the color or, if you do, what the guidelines are.
  • In some cases, particularly with third party “seals,” you may be required to use code provided to you. In these cases, you’ll typically need to edit code or hire someone to help out — or check if the seal provider can install it for you.
  • Whenever you add custom trustmarks (or other code), be sure to have your developer check how things look on mobile. With trustmarks, it’s easy for them to become too small to be effective or “push” content farther down the page — so be sure to consider, plan and test for all scenarios.
  • As with anything, it’s very easy to “overload” your visitors with too many trustmarks to the point where it may even affect the ability to add items to the cart or checkout. Weigh your options carefully.
  • Some user experience experts point out that having too many trustmarks can also have the exact opposite effect of what they are designed to do — and actually decrease trust in your page. This can be the result of an often subconscious notion that a page with too many trustmarks is “trying too hard” to look legit. Again, it’s balancing act.
  • That said, prioritizing the most persuasive “traditional” trustmarks blended with “nontraditional” approaches mentioned above can be quite effective.
Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.