According to a 2015 Gallup poll referenced on MediaPost.com, the most feared crime in the United States is having your credit card information stolen through a store purchase transaction. 69% of people polled fear identity theft the most, more than other tech crimes and more than crimes such as having your home burglarized or having your car stolen. These fears are even more pronounced in Baby Boomers and Seniors than younger generations. This makes sense, as finances become more important, and therefore more worth protecting and securing as we age.
As an ecommerce retailer, of course your online store has to be secure. However, being secure is not always the same as appearing secure. Use the following tips to maximize your online integrity and boost shopper confidence in your security practices:
Blatantly display any security seals or assurances about the safety of personal information on your site. Most major ecommerce platforms provide retailers with secure checkout servers using secure sockets layer (SSL), which encrypts data between the web server and the browser. SSL certificates are an industry standard, and most online shoppers look for them before making a purchase.
A secure website will have “https” instead of just “http” in their web address, and will also display a padlock in the address bar. Having this security function is important. However, if having SSL is not possible through your website, show a recognized badge on the homepage and checkout pages for the security measures you do have.
People, particularly Boomers, trust people more than computers. They want to know about the person and company behind the website from which they are purchasing. Having an “About Us” page will go a long way in establishing credibility. To go above and beyond, include a “Meet the Team” section with employee photos and short biographies. Putting a face behind the purchase helps customers feel like their money and information is in reliable hands.
To add even more of a human element to your online store, include customer testimonials or employee picks throughout the site. Especially if you do not have a lot of posted customer reviews, testimonials allow shoppers to read other people’s comments about having tried your products, and can attest to their quality. Ultimately these testimonials help make consumers feel better about not being able to physically touch them before buying.
The slower your checkout process, the more doubt shoppers will have. Fewer steps and faster load times allow customers to remain confident about the quality of your website. Offer the option to create an account or to checkout as a guest. Forcing shoppers to enter their personal information early in the process can lead to cart abandonment, however not providing the option can make their experience seem impersonal.
In addition to having an efficient checkout, your entire website should have a clean design and be easy to navigate. If a website has a lot of visual clutter, or if customers have to click through several pages to find what they are looking for, there is a good chance they will leave your site before even making it to the checkout process. Ease of use assures customers that the retailer cares about the customer experience.
Make sure all the information on your website is correct. Whether contact information, shipping policies, return policies, or out of stock items, everything the customer sees on your site should reflect current reality. Outdated or incorrect information can be a huge red flag for consumers, and in extreme cases can cause them to feel misled.
Connecting your social media presence to your website will show consumers that you are engaged with your business and its fans. Active Facebook or LinkedIn accounts show that you are invested in communicating with customers.
Also, if your company or products are highlighted on a news site, blog, or other media outlet, showcase that on your website. If a reputable source took the time to feature your company that is something potential shoppers would want to know.
Have phone numbers and email addresses displayed throughout the website. Consumers want to know that if anything were to go wrong, someone will be available to help them. Having a generic “Contact Us” message form is not enough. A phone number with a person behind it and an email account with fast responses are critical to maintaining trust. In general, Boomers prefer dealing directly with people; so it’s important to have that option available.
They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. Just as a customer would judge a physical store based on its cleanliness, attentiveness, and quality, customers judge your online store based on its apparent credibility. It only takes someone a few seconds to determine if they want to stay or leave your website. Utilize these tips to present your company as a reliable business, and calm any security hesitations.