Trust is the most important thing in any relationship, including between business owner and customer. When you met your customers solely face to face, it was easier to build a relationship; you knew them, and they knew you.
Business is more anonymous now, and instead of your customer base coming from the neighborhood, they can be from all over the country or the world. They interact with you primarily through a website. Your job is to understand how to get customers to trust your website, so they return. That starts with getting them to trust you.
Research company Nielsen Norman Group developed a Pyramid of Trust to facilitate that need, explaining, "Establishing trust, whether with a stranger or with a website, is gradual: as the relationship progresses, skepticism is overcome, the comfort level increases, and new demands can be made. The relationship evolves through different stages of commitment, each built on top of the previous ones."
How to build trust on your website is done in small ways at first. One simple, early step is to create a secure URL with HTTPS. The first thing security-aware customers look for is the sign that shows their transaction is conducted securely on your end, and if you can't provide that, they might move on to someone who can.
Make sure your customers know you. Even if you can't do business in person, they should know who they are dealing with. Adding a "who we are" section to the website, with pictures of the leadership team, the company's history and a mission statement, lets customers know they aren't dealing with anonymous robots. And if your site does use chatbots, getting customers to a real person as quickly as possible when the bot can't provide a helpful answer helps you with building customer trust online.