The internet is a double-edged sword. For one, almost everything is readily available in just a few clicks and buying things online is the norm nowadays, with more goods being sold by the minute. However, the convenience of online shopping can also be afforded to hackers, causing people to have doubts in the safety of doing business online.
Trust plays a major role not only in eCommerce, but in all forms of businesses. In a study that measured online shopping behavior, over 70% of shoppers would cancel their orders online just because they didn’t trust the website. In order for your business to survive online, you have to understand how trust works online. It’s not a choice; it’s an underlying psychological state that you can change or influence. So in order to influence the trust of your target market, you have to remove their doubts by keeping your website secure. One way you can do this is by displaying a trust seal on your site.
Definition of a Trust Seal
A trust seal, sometimes called a secure site seal, is something you’re likely already familiar with if you’ve ever noticed small badges displayed on a website, particularly on store or payment pages.
The function of most trust seals will depend on the company who vetted or granted its use. Some of them reveal trust scores or sales stats of the websites that show visitors how safe their business is. Others indicate the presence of SSL/TLS, meaning the site connects over https and data transmitted between a visitor’s browser and the server is encrypted.
Trust seals come in all shapes and sizes, some of which even have animations. An example of a good trust seal displays an organization’s identity information upon clicking it.
Example of the identity information presented when you click on a GlobalSign SSL trust seal.
Why Every Business Website Needs a Trust Seal
Place your feet in a customer’s shoes for a minute. You want to buy a sophisticated art set for Artsy Freelance Work. The thing you need is in another state and you don’t want to waste gas just to buy it, but it’s also important for your work. So you decide to buy online. Easy, right? The thing is, you’ve heard so much about online fraud these days that you’ve already heightened your guard. You now search for the art set online and after much deliberation, you’re down to two relatively affordable art sets from two online shops. Let’s call them ArtShop1 and ShopArt2.
ArtShop1 has a clean layout. You can see the product in all angles and it has good reviews below the item. You head to the checkout page and right below the payment forms, you see a small badge, a trust seal. You click on it and a pop-up window appears, displaying the company’s full profile and contact details. The URL of ArtShop1 also begins with https so you know your payment information will be encrypted when you submit it. You’re already set to transact with ArtShop1, but you have to check ShopArt2, just to be sure.
ShopArt2 also has a clean website with ample images and reviews of the product. However, there are no trust seals in sight, just a plain, blank payment form. Also, the website URL begins with http, which gives you the final judgement that it’s not safe to enter your credit card information and this site shouldn’t be trusted. You immediately close this website and go back to ArtShop1, place your order and wait for your art set to be delivered, no harm, no foul.
This security conscious mentality was evident in a survey where 48% of potential shoppers said the presence of trustmarks, such as seals, would dictate if they’d trust a website. Now in the example above, ShopArt2 was also a legitimate online shop. Maybe it’s just as honest as ArtShop1, but given the lack of security indicators (no trust seal with company identity information, no https), it wouldn’t be trusted by any cautious online shopper.
SSL/TLS Certificates and Trust Seals
If you’re a ShopArt2 type of business (meaning your website is lacking some basic security features), you should take steps to improve your online security immediately. An essential component of this is SSL/TLS, which, as mentioned above, encrypts information submitted to your website to protect it from eavesdropping and interception by malicious parties. Many TLS Certificate providers also offer trust seals for sites using TLS.
Trust seal available for sites using GlobalSign SSL/TLS.
Sites using TLS connect over https:// and display a padlock in the URL bar, which, in addition to trust seals, are security indicators that help increase visitor trust in your site. To further enhance trust and add credibility to your site, you can use an Extended Validation (EV) TLS Certificate. EV SSL Certificates bring your company’s verified identity front and center by displaying your company name right in the URL. This shows visitors that your site is legitimately operated by your company and isn’t an imposter or phishing site.
Example site secured with EV TLS.
Visitor trust is essential for any company with a web presence, but especially for those that rely on online sales. Trust indicators, such as seals, https and the URL padlock, can make all the difference between someone choosing to do business with you versus a competitor. Try to look at your site from a stranger’s perspective – are your trustmarks prominently displayed?