Saturday, 3 December 2011

Website Security–Making it Obvious

It doesn’t matter how much you’ve spent on your beautifully designed, gorgeously stocked website, unless you’re obviously secure you’re going to lose orders.  Website security has always been an issue, and as the number of e-commerce sites grows like topsy one of the ways you can differentiate yourself from those who aren’t aware about just how important this issue is, is to make it as obvious as you possibly can that you are a trustworthy merchant. 

In essence, you may know that you are completely honest, but how do you expect the rest of the world to be assured of that as well?  The web has made it possible for every store, large and small, to open it’s virtual doors online, most honest, a few unscrupulous.  What are you doing to make sure that everyone knows you are safe to buy from?

This is an example from the home page of  Zappos in the US, well known, with an enormous range which started with shoes and has now branched out into fashion, beauty, accessories, kids – you name it, Zappos probably sells it.  If it’s important enough for them to display security and review badges, then it should be for you as well.
Zappos security links
Most online shoppers will have not problems in ordering from a household name, such as John Lewis, Selfridges or Debenhams.  These are huge, multi channel retailers they will almost certainly have shopped from offline, so there’s no reason not to do so online.  Then there are those with a large online presence (some of whom are now venturing into bricks and mortar) such as ASOS, Boden and The White Company, again we’ve all shopped from them enough to know that they are trustworthy.

The retailers I am talking about are usually small to medium sized, frequently with very attractive websites, and products that are different enough from the run of the mill that customers will be interested in buying from them.  These are the ones where, if they don’t demonstrate that they are secure, will lose out.  Here are two examples of smaller retailers who have done the right thing, Accessories Online, and The Wychwood Deli.

Accessories Online Website Security Wychwood Safety Banners

You need to display clearly, on your home page, the payment methods you take, plus accredited retailer security badges such as ISIS, by IMRG (Internet Shopping is Safe) which is without question the one I would go for first, and you can apply to join here.  As you grow you should also offer independent customer reviews.  Not those where anyone can put up a review, but where only customers can review the products and services they have purchased.  As Social grows swiftly alongside the web we listen more and more to what other customers have to say, and so showing customer reviews will become the standard, not the exception.

You should also give clear contact details in your ‘contact us’ section, not just offer a form for customers to fill in.  Address, Telephone number and email address are best practise. 

I suggest that you don’t waste any time in shouting out that you are a trustworthy place to shop from, and if you need any help you can contact me at phd@thesiteguide.com.
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