Customer Spotlight–The Sunglass Fix | How trust helped this ecommerce trailblazer achieve global success
Trust is the foundation of every successful ecommerce business. When trust has been earned, prospective buyers become loyal customers. But when shoppers don’t trust a site, they simply won’t convert.
Earning the trust of your customers is easier said than done. Especially with all the changes that COVID-19 brought, navigating customer trust through the evolving ecommerce landscape has become an even more difficult task.
To give you insight into how to implement a successful ecommerce trust-building strategy, we’re showcasing a TrustedSite customer that has done just that.
Meet The Sunglass Fix, a global sunglass lens replacement retailer based out of Australia’s Gold Coast. When CEO and Founder Craig Anderson started the business back in 2006, lens replacement wasn’t a widely available option in the marketplace. Faced with the hurdle of introducing consumers to this concept, Craig anticipated that trust-building would be critical to his success.
Fast-forward to 2021, The Sunglass Fix is now a widely successful global business that’s not only saving damaged sunglasses but saving the planet as well.
We sat down with Craig to learn how trust played a key role in his company’s success. Watch the interview above or continue reading to hear his story.
The Sunglass Fix
Byron Bay, Australia
Eyewear, lens replacement
TrustedSite Certified Since
Featured trust signals
The Sunglass Fix does an outstanding job of including trust signals throughout their site to increase customer confidence. Here are some of our favorites.
TrustedSite floating trustmark
Featuring the trustmark across every page of the site in the bottom right-hand corner shows shoppers that a third party has verified and monitors this site.
Trustpilot star rating
Showcased in the site header so that shoppers on any page can see the excellent rating The Sunglass Fix has earned from previous customers.
Help & FAQs and How To’s
Because they offer a unique product, The Sunglass Fix knows shoppers have a lot of questions that they need answered before making a purchase. They make their support resources super easy to find by including them in the header.
The Sunglass Fix is committed to excellence, and they’ve been rewarded for it. Displaying the awards they’ve earned gives shoppers confidence that this business will treat them fairly.
Sustainability is a core value of The Sunglass Fix. Providing information about their commitment to maintaining a minimal carbon footprint shows customers that their purchase is good for the planet.
Hi Craig, thanks for speaking with us today. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your site. What do you sell and who are you selling to?
Hi, I’m Craig Anderson and I’m the CEO and founder of The Sunglass Fix. The Sunglass Fix is an ecommerce business with a fairly complex international setup. We've got customers in over 150 different countries and operate in multiple languages. Our primary goal is to help customers keep their favorite pair of sunglasses when they scratch or damage the lenses by offering replacement lenses. We've got over 250,000 high-quality replacement lenses available on our site, the largest selection in the world by far. We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the correct lenses they need for their sunglasses so that they can repair them, rather than throw them away or buy a new pair.
Our customers are really just everyday consumers of sunglasses, especially those that have a problem such as scratched, damaged, or broken lenses. We try to provide a lot of information about sunglasses, installing lenses, and sustainability because that's a big push for us. We operate a very environmentally sensitive company, we produce more power than we consume through green energy. I think that whole repair concept instead of throwing away and buying new is what we're trying to drive home.
It’s awesome that you get to help your customers and the planet at the same time. Why is building trust with your customers so important to your business?
From the get-go, when I came up with the idea for the business, a lot of people looked at me and thought I was going absolutely mad, or going through a midlife crisis, because I was starting a sunglass lens replacement business when nobody had done it in the past. Optometrists had been doing it, but not in an economically viable manner, they weren’t using the internet to reach customers from around the world. I think if you talk to 100 people today and ask them “Can you replace the lenses in your sunglasses?” 99% wouldn't have even heard of the concept. So when somebody lands on our site and is looking for a solution, building trust is the most important thing that we have to do, and we have to do that right off the bat.
What has been your strategy for building that customer trust?
There are lots of ways that we've tried to achieve that. Having a well-functioning website that gets customers to the products they need extremely quickly and easily is very important from an internal aspect of building trust. With 250,000 models of sunglasses, it can be quite overwhelming for customers if they have to go page by page to try to find their pair. Having a good search mechanism and ways that they can narrow it down helps a lot. Good photos and things like that also help, but I think the external tools are very important.
Using TrustedSite to be very confident that the customer's information is secure, and showing that to the customer is extremely important to us. Having the TrustedSite badge which customers can click on, read about what sort of security we have on the site, and learn that we're constantly monitored also helps to build trust.
Showcasing our awards is another strategy of ours. We won the Platinum Australia Customer Service Award three years in a row. I think we're still the only company that's done that. That one is important because it shows that we do take care of the customers after the sale if there is any sort of an issue. We recently won the Australia Exporter of the Year Award which shows that we operate on a global level, exporting right around 70% of our products to customers around the world. It’s important for us to be able to tell customers in Europe or United States that we ship there all the time, orders will get there, we stand by our product, and we stand behind our delivery.
Having unmodifiable reviews out there is important to us too, so we can get feedback and use it to improve ourselves and to share with those that are contemplating a purchase with us.
With Trustpilot, we're basically asking for honest feedback about our services from everybody that we sell to, and that stuff's untouched. We can respond to them, but if somebody gives a bad review it's there.
I think also the warranty policy is very important in our industry. We have a very strong 6-month no-questions-asked return policy and one of the top manufacturer defect warranties. Just having that quality product so when people get it they just go well these are actually as good or if not better than the original lenses that I have. Getting that sort of feedback and having it available for people to see helps build trust. So those are some of the main strategies that we use to try and build trust.
What does trust mean for your business from a global perspective?
From a global perspective, being in Australia is tough. It's far away from everything geographically and a lot of people just aren't familiar with the fact that Australia is a great country with good manufacturing. I think there is kind of that question of would I buy something from overseas when I'm shopping on the internet. So it is important to build that trust and to build that global presence and confidence. We want customers sitting in New York or London to know that it's not going to be a three-month wait to get your product. So we need to instill that trust upfront with the buyer to build that global customer base and make them feel comfortable with their purchase.
When and why did you decide to try TrustedSite?
About five years ago we were looking for better tools to scan our site and make sure that things were as secure as possible. I think we knew of McAfee from the PC days and we were just looking for a partner in this. TrustedSite seemed to have a really good facility for the internet that translated from probably the PC knowledge that they had. The badges that went on and it seemed to me that TrustedSite would just be a great partner because we could sit back and focus on our business more than focusing on the site security and preventing breaches that could potentially impact our customers’ private information. Even though we don't store any sort of financial information, we still don't want emails or addresses to leak out, so it's very important for us to get security right. I think just having TrustedSite shows our customers that we care and shows that we're partnering with probably one of the biggest and best in the industry. That has obviously increased in our conversion rates, which has translated to better sales and more trust with our customers, which means a better global expansion of our business.
Can you speak more to the impact that TrustedSite had on your site and business?
We've had so many system changes that I couldn't pin the exact increased conversion rate, but I can tell you one thing. Our conversion rate in Australia alone is over 10%, and the global industry standard is below 2%. So I think that gaining trust with customers through TrustedSite has certainly helped push those numbers up. And they're constantly going up, not down, so that's a positive thing. On an international level, we still operate in the 4-5% range for conversion rates which is pretty phenomenal for an ecommerce company, especially with a product that's brand new. Like I said, I don't know if you guys knew about lens replacement before you were introduced to our company, but most people don't. So a lot of people are coming to the site and are really wondering “Can I do this at home, am I able to replace the lenses if they send them out to me,” and I think through a combination of a good website and partnering with TrustedSite we've been able to push people over the line. So I'm certain that having the TrustedSite partnership has helped with that conversion rate increase over the years.
What’s your favorite feature of TrustedSite?
I just like the fact that we can put something on our site that says we have this. It's not a config server background batch job that spits out a report once a month. While it has that sort of feature, we're able to actually present to the customers that we're actively trying to make sure that the site is secure, and we've got somebody that's monitoring us and holding us accountable. PCI Compliance has been a big thing for us as well, knowing that we're going through the absolute most rigorous test possible. The last PCI report I got was over 500 pages long. When we first started that journey with TrustedSite, we had almost a four-month process of development work required in order for us to achieve those results. It was a learning experience. I think that TrustedSite had taught us an awful lot about ecommerce and how to make sure that your site's still usable yet secure. From a business perspective, it’s very, very important and the PCI compliance has probably been what has provided us the most value internally, but externally the branding and that seal of approval is probably what has provided the best customer appreciation and confidence builder.
You mentioned earlier that you use Trustpilot, one of our partner integrations. What has been your experience using Trustpilot?
Trustpilot has been a really good experience for us in a lot of ways. We've always been open to customer feedback, good or bad. The good is very nice to hear and it builds that confidence level for future customers, but the bad is also a very important learning experience. If you don't hear about the bad experiences customers have, you can't really improve yourself. Trustpilot is fairly easy to integrate and execute. It’s automated so we don't have to think about it a lot, but we do have to make sure we get out there and respond to customers.
I think one of the things that we found as a positive experience is displaying our star rating to help build confidence immediately. People can click on the star rating almost anywhere on the site and read about what other people experienced, good or bad. And if it is bad, we get to at least say something back about what went wrong and what we're going to do to try to fix it for our customers.
The first time we hear about somebody having a problem is often the review, so it does give us that ability to reach out to the customer. Also, many times it's our last ability to get that lifelong customer, which is what we want. We don't want a one-off customer, we want somebody that's going to replace their lenses for the rest of their life, hopefully as long as they have that frame, and then hopefully with frames in the future. So I think it does build that last ability for us to reach out and solve the problem, if there was one, for the customer.
Thank you, Sunglass Fix!
We’d like to thank Craig and The Sunglass Fix for sharing their story with us. We hope their journey has helped you understand the importance of building trust, and has sparked new ideas for how to accomplish that on your own site.
If you’d like your site featured in our Customer Spotlight series, please get in touch!