That little, white shield with an impressive blue ship was awarded to viewers who'd contributed worthwhile letters, projects or been lucky enough to appear on the BBC kids' show.
When trust badges emerged on the web, it was in order to build consumer confidence in the world of e-commerce amongst a rising worry about internet fraud and corruptible server connections. Displaying the signs that you are a trustworthy, reputable and safe merchant is vital to any business looking to convert visitors into paying customers.
Here are five examples of trust badges that convert more efficiently with some advice on how to implement them. Follow this advice and avoid looking like you're offering false promises, like when somebody offered up a Blue Peter badge a couple of days ago.
1. Use Well Known Security Company Trust Badges
A very widely quoted 2013 study by Baymard found that internet users associate particular trust badges with enhanced security and would be happier to purchase items from a site which displays these badges.
Unsurprisingly, the leading site certificates, in terms of which ones provide "the greatest sense of trust" to a user, were from probably the two most common anti-virus/computer-protection companies; Norton and McAfee.
For big businesses, or maybe even those expecting visitors to exchange a large amount of money, will benefit most from using one of the major security companies' trust badges. These badges will cost more but they will make your business stand out in comparison to smaller businesses, start ups and sole traders.
2. Maybe Use A Less Well Known Third-Party Verification
If the cost of using the bigger verification schemes makes them a non-starter, there are other more affordable services available. Many still offering the same secure connections (or verification that you're trustworthy) as the more widely known companies.
What needs to be balanced here is the saving of using a smaller provider compared to the risk of users being dissuaded from converting thanks to an unrecognisable trust badge reminding them that some websites are unsafe.
"Hey there, I know you don't know me but believe me when I say you can trust this guy that you also don't know!" is always kind of off putting.
3. Show Off Customer Feedback via Trust Badges
There's no greater advertiser than the old word-of-mouth. Using social proof - via the likes of TripAdvisor, Shopping etc - can allow users to see your previous customer's feedback about your business. In this ever increasingly informed era of internet shoppers, genuine customer feedback is becoming more relevant than paid-for verification schemes.
Obviously it would be even better to incorporate both, but there are instances when opting for social proof alone is best; especially for businesses which pride themselves on customer service, communication and user experience.
4. Become A Google Certified Shop
The use of Google shopping seems to becoming more widely popular - especially as users want ever faster experiences online. Becoming a Google Certified Shop is a great way to show that you are a reliable business from the view of a widely respected authority and an easy way of showing off some customer feedback too.
Doing this will harness the power of the search engine which has become a euphemistic prop-word meaning to look it up by searching for it on the internet; "just Google it!"
5. Or Just Make Your Own
At first I thought this was a little underhand. But when you think about it, this is the equivalent of your local, independent DIY store, which has been run by the same old bloke for nearly 300 years, saying to you, "Any problems with it, just bring it straight back and we will sort it out for you."
A self produced trust badge is your way of interacting with your visitors by subconsciously building a rapport and level of trust. You are consciously making a statement that, yes, I'm willing to put my neck on the line and say, "If you aren't happy, get in touch and you can have a refund or a replacement" or "100% Money Back Guarantee". You can't afford to let visitors on your site to just assume that this will be the case.
Another variation is to also liaise with other companies in your sector and display "partner" trust badges with each other. This is something I've seen used well in various industries, from construction to fashion.
Trust Badges Mean Higher Conversions
Implementing just one of these ideas has been statistically shown to improve conversion rates. And some of the actions are so simple, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner. The key is to keep testing and tweaking and finding the right balance for your site.
Here is an example of the trust badges we currently use on our homepage.
Look to cater to your buyer's preferences and be sure that you don't ruin your site's UX and end up losing potential conversions before they've even had chance to reach the checkout stage.
That being said, website trust badges (or seals of approval) are only one way to optimise your website for conversions. The rest? Check out these 40 Tried and Test Conversion Tactics (including trust badges) that'll help you get more from your website. Grab your copy below: