by Deepak Gupta
Who knew that a tiny virus could dramatically change life as we know it? The entire world is grappling with the health implications of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as its tremendous impact on the global economic landscape.
Businesses around the world are quickly trying to upgrade their online presence and prowess, as social distancing has become the new normal. More consumers are also moving towards online shopping than ever before.
How Are Online Businesses Responding
Online shopping is one of the most popular activities worldwide. According to Statista, in 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 3.53 trillion U.S. dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022.
Naturally, the trend mentioned above has encouraged ecommerce companies to put their best foot forward and attract as much traffic as possible. Apart from planned targeting, ecommerce companies are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to creating a UX that will earn both customer trust and approval.
As more consumers are going online to shop for essentials and luxuries, they are exposing themselves to cyber frauds and threats like identity theft, phishing, and scams. In fact, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that retail will be one of the top 10 most attacked industries during 2019–2022. This is why online merchants need to maintain that perfect balance between UX and online shopping security in order to sail through COVID-19 without many scratches.
Cyber Attacks in The Ecommerce Landscape
In May 2020, according to Seqrite, a new version of Adwind Java Remote Access Trojan campaign was detected. This cyberattack was aimed at cooperative banks in India, with the intent to steal customer data and SWIFT logins. Around the same time, the British supercomputer ARCHER became vulnerable to a cryptojacking attack. A ransomware attack was also targeted at Texas’s government transportation agency recently.
Now, with COVID-19 ushering in a whole lot of uncertainty, the situation has become more ideal for cyber attackers who are resourceful and opportunistic. Lately, the number of phishing emails has spiked especially. Cybercriminals are manipulating the pandemic fear in people, who are ending up downloading malicious applications on laptops and mobile devices.
According to a report by Cyber Security firm Sophos Labs, more than 42,000 websites have been created with domains that are named after COVID. These sites are sending phishing emails in large numbers, and this is how it works:
- Such emails are mostly related to the information or stats about the coronavirus and contain malicious attachments or embedded links.
- If one clicks on such a link, the malicious software gets automatically installed in the email recipient’s system.
- By using the application, cybercriminals can control your system and steal your personal information such as passwords, operating system data, phone numbers, emails, and even your credit card details.
Here are some more common security threats that are arising in the time of COVID-19:
- Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
- SQL injections
- Credit and debit card fraud
- Malware (Ransomware attacks)
- Brute force attacks
- Bots attacks
- Trojan Horses
Naturally, it has become essential for online shoppers to be alert. For that, they should be aware of ecommerce security best practices, for securing their personal data.
Security Best Practices for End-Users
- Use a strong and unique password, with at least eight characters, and containing uppercase letters, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers.
- Beware of credential theft and do not share critical personal information like OTP or credit card pins.
- Always login to SSL secured ecommerce sites.
Security Best Practices for Ecommerce Businesses
- Use safe and secure web hosting services.
- Promote good password hygiene.
- Do not save or collect customer data that is not required in order to complete a purchase.
- Use security plugins and keep them updated all the time.
- Follow PCI DSS Security Standards.
- Develop a cybersecurity plan.
- Backup and restore important data.
- Implement security awareness training on social engineering/account takeover for employees and customers.
- Implement additional authentication factors like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), 2-Factor Authentication (2FA), or 2-Step Verification (2SV).
Importance of The Right UX During COVID-19
During a crisis, maintaining transparency and empathetic interactions can win you brownie points from your customers. Through the right UX design, ecommerce businesses can reduce confusion and panic among shoppers. The aim should be to meet their needs rather than selling your products for profit.
Also, the UX should have the right information and reach the end-user at the right time. For example, explaining how shoppers can receive essentials with minimal or zero contact and what precautions they should take after delivery can increase your brand value. Graphical representations of steps to follow from ordering to unpacking the products might help too. In other words, assurance is key.
UX Best Practices During COVID-19
Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there is a lot of noise and fear among consumers. Hence, a proper messaging technique should be in place by using a well-crafted UX strategy. The strategy should be focused on keeping customers aware of secured online buying and the delivery of products. Here are some of the UX best practices to follow during COVID-19:
- Make customer service easily accessible.
- Make sure that the user’s data is secure by adding additional layers of encryption.
- Show how you are following WHO guidelines.
- Add customer service response times.
- Provide any information that a customer may need to know while placing orders or contacting you.
Remember, for your business to be successful during these tough times, empathy is a must, apart from innovation and technological and marketing upgrades. A satisfying UX can be achieved by informing end-users about all that you are doing to make the experience safe during this pandemic.
Explaining possible types of frauds, password strength, login rules, and making the checkout convenient can work wonders. Better security can be ensured by upgrading software, adding more authentication measures, and following international standards. All in all, sticking to best practices will take your ecommerce venture far.
Deepak is the CTO and co-founder of LoginRadius, a rapidly-expanding Customer Identity Management provider. He’s dedicated to innovating LoginRadius’ platform, and loves fooseball and winning poker games! Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.