Shopping online for a wide variety of products and services has become the new normal. Part of the reason so many e-shoppers prefer big name retailers is because of the highly secure, quick, and well-designed checkout processes they offer.
In this article, we’ll talk about why small and mid-size online businesses should up their game in terms of creating a better and more secure checkout experience for their customers. We’ll also discuss a new study that delves into perceptions of payment security and how the overall experience of the checkout process can affect consumer behavior.
Finally, we’ll provide some solid tips for eCommerce stores looking to create a safer online payment experience for their customers.
Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy – Oh my
According to a recent study by LexisNexis, 37% of online shoppers trust major brands like Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy to protect them from fraud, whereas only 5% trust independent online retailers.
This stat highlights why it’s imperative that small and mid-size businesses stay competitive by providing a seamless and safe checkout process for online shoppers. One cannot come at the expense of the other. In a world centered around quickness and convenience, creating a fast-loading and simple checkout process is vital.
eCommerce businesses must focus on cybersecurity and preventative measures but also have solid plans to create high levels of cyber resilience (or pre planned responsive measures that halt or slow down an attack as it occurs). With the average website attacked 62 times a day, cybercrime is not just a possibility but an eventuality.
How to make your customers feel protected
It’s clear that security and convenience will remain a prime focus for consumers into the future. The good news is that there are steps you can take to create an easier and safer checkout experience for online shoppers now.
1. Prominently display security certifications such as SSL and PCI compliance
Perhaps not surprisingly, the average number of successful fraud attempts has increased dramatically for American retailers among mid- and large-scale companies over the last year. Payment processing software should always come with PCI certification that will put your customers at ease and also protect you legally in the event of a security breach. This ensures the security of card data is kept in compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.
PCI compliance rules are implemented as part of a tiered system where businesses are assigned a merchant level based on their transaction volume and associated risk:
- Level 1: Six million card transactions a year
- Level 2: One to six million transactions a year
- Level 3: Twenty thousand to one million transactions a year
- Level 4: Less than twenty thousand transactions a year
Besides PCI, you can also utilize EMV enabled hardware that makes use of tokenization for encrypting credit card information. Tokenization itself is essentially a form of encryption that turns financial data, such as a credit card number, into an unrecognizable string of characters that will provide no value to the hacker even if breached.
2. Protect your website with SSL/TLS certificates
Seeing HTTPS in the browser bar is the best way to make a good impression on your web visitors from the get-go. While setting up SSL/TLS may be easy enough in the beginning, as your business – and digital real estate – grows, the challenge will be keeping up with certificate expirations and renewals. Without a proper certificate management solution in place, you are leaving your website open to hacking and unexpected downtime, which can be a disaster for customers – and your bottom-line. As Uptrends puts it, “Downtime means zero: zero sales, zero leads, zero user transactions, zero ad revenue.” And that doesn’t even include the long-term impact on customers lost and drop in page ranking.
Don’t let this happen to you. Get your SSL/TLS certificates from a reputable and experienced provider that can also help you track and manage the entire certificate lifecycle.
3. Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices at all stages
A new mobile device attack is launched every 39 seconds, and over 50% of online shopping is done on mobile. Make sure that your website is compatible for mobile phones and tablets, not only while browsing but especially during the checkout and payment process.
Furthermore, if you can avoid redirecting customers to third-party websites while they are completing their purchase, this can result in more sales conversions. Aside from well-established payment processing companies like PayPal, some customers may feel uncertain about entering their credit card information from an unknown URL.
4. Allow guest checkout
Although it’s tempting to require customers to create an account so you can include them in marketing campaigns, always allow guest checkout as an option. With increasing concerns regarding data privacy, some customers may abandon their purchase if they are required to provide too much personal details.
You may want to consider enabling social sign-in, allowing internet users to use their social media accounts to sign in to your website. This way, you can make creating an account easy while also learning more about their communication preferences.
5. Embrace a simple design for your payment screen, with an emphasis on speed
Beautiful images and expert web design can help you gain the attention of customers and increase sales conversions. However, when it comes to processing payment, this should be as visually simple as possible. You’ve already convinced them to buy your product or service, so now your goal is to make the payment process as quick, seamless, and trustworthy as possible.
Consider incorporating a progress indicator in your design. This will encourage the perception that the payment process is easy and show them that with a few more steps the purchase will be complete. To enhance speed in processing payment online, consider gateways and NFC enabled devices that allow quick transactions.
6. Offer customer service contact details, or provide a chatbot, during the checkout process
Once prospects have reached the payment stage, you know that they are highly qualified and on the cusp of closing in on a sale.
Make sure that contact details for your customer service team are readily available, or consider a chatbot that can address common issues. Opening lines of communication to your customers during the checkout process can also help you stay informed of potential issues or glitches as they occur.
7. Use a VPN for your website
Make it mandatory for all of your employees to use a virtual private network, or VPN, when they are connected to a business network or handling customer data. This is because VPNs mask any data sent or received over the network you’re currently using as an aggressive defense against outside interference.
As Sydney-based cybersecurity expert Will Ellis of Privacy Australia explains, a VPN is critical for security because it “creates an encrypted tunnel that separates you and whatever server is hosting the website/internet bandwidth you are accessing. Surveillance agencies, hackers, and other cybercriminals cannot see your IP address or other compromising pieces of data.”
In other words, no one externally will be able to view customer data or information sent over your network.
8. Consider auto-saving abandoned carts
There are programs that will allow shoppers to save their carts if they haven’t proceeded to checkout. When they return to the website, all of the items they placed in the cart will still be there. You can even send them an email to remind them of their abandoned carts. This can help boost sales, especially when many customers give up in the middle of purchasing products because of factors outside of your control.
Cart abandonment is a common problem for online retailers. Lots of shoppers place items in their cart for checkout later, or use it as a wish list for when they have extra cash available.
While convenience is key, security is the more important priority for people who shop online. Combining the two will create an effortless experience for your customer that will make them feel safe and keep them coming back for more. Thankfully, online retailers can create a checkout experience that is both easy and secure if they keep these important considerations we’ve mentioned top of mind.
Note: This blog article was written by a guest contributor for the purpose of offering a wider variety of content for our readers. The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of GlobalSign.