Increasing Confidence in Your Store’s Security

Online shoppers are already uncomfortable with sharing personal information over the internet. Data breaches and credit card number theft are frequently brought up on the news, and even large retailers have been hit, compromising millions of customers’ information simultaneously. With these types of problems affecting even the most popular and trustworthy stores in the world, it’s no wonder that people are hesitant to take any risks with their payment information.

To help your customers feel safe shopping with you, you need to follow a dual approach: on one hand, you must implement all the current eCommerce security standards, and on the other hand, you must avoid anything that gives your store the appearance of being anything less than completely legitimate. Not only must you be secure, you must appear secure. If a customer has any doubts, while they might still shop, those doubts will grow as they browse your site and they may get frightened off and abandon their cart.

Protecting Customer Information

First off, in order to accept credit cards online at all, your online store needs to be PCI DSS compliant. PCI compliance is a multifaceted process with the goal of increasing a website’s security in several ways. To become PCI compliant, an online business needs to meet certain requirements such as installing firewalls, running regular malware scans on their website’s server, SSL encryption, and more — which, since this requires the right hardware, software, and personnel with the proper expertise, can be tough for a small business.

Since it’s hard for a small business to meet the rigorous standards for PCI compliance, the better option is to build your online store on an eCommerce platform that has PCI compliance built in. All the scanning, testing, and other work is taken care of by the platform provider itself, so you don’t have to deal with it. 3dcart is one of the few PCI-compliant eCommerce platforms.

You can also implement other security measures that will help convince your customers to go through with their purchase, such as MasterCard SecureCode, Verified by Visa, Trust Guard, and more. A customer who sees these badges on your checkout page is far, far less likely to have second thoughts about their purchase stemming from doubts in your security.

Making Your Store Trustworthy

Your website needs to look reputable, and there are several ways to accomplish this (and a few things to avoid). One of the most important is high-quality content, as that will help your online store look like a real business and not a spam or scam site. Good design is also a necessity, as scammers often throw something together to make a quick buck, as opposed to real businesses that are obviously confident in their brand and have a real interest in sticking around. Clear, correct contact information also improves customer confidence, as people are more likely to shop when they know they can get in touch with a real person if they have a problem.

The appearance of your checkout page also effects customer trust. Everyone has heard of hackers getting into websites and installing malware that lets them steal private data, and the practice of phishing (in which a visitor is sent to an identical copy of a website’s login page that will harvest their login and password for the scammers) is also well-known. So, if your checkout pages look different from the rest of your website, customers may think your site is compromised and leave without checking out.

If the URL (website address) visible in the customer’s web browser’s address bar also changes, this looks even more suspicious. Some eCommerce platforms use a system in which all checkouts are performed on a subdomain rather than the online store itself, and customers are redirected during the checkout process. You don’t need to understand all the technical details — what’s important is to look at it the way the customer sees it: they finish adding items to their cart at yourstore.com, click “Check Out,” and suddenly the web address changes to yourstore.ecommerceplatformstores.com and the page looks totally different.

If the customer doesn’t understand that they’ve simply been redirected for checkout (or even if they do understand, they may not know why), they may think your checkout page is a phishing attack or that your online store has been hacked by a third party that installed their own checkout page. In that case, you can be sure they’ll abandon their cart and probably never return.

On a side note, even if the customer does understand redirects and doesn’t automatically mistrust them, it still looks unprofessional and hurts your brand. A customer might assume you’re not a real business, and just a small-time client of a larger company, which could give them last-minute doubts about the quality of your products. They may decide to leave and buy from a “more established” retailer instead.

Fortunately, most of the tools you’ll need to increase your online store’s security and trustworthiness are easy to get if you have the right eCommerce platform. Choose one that’s PCI compliant and look in its app store for additional security features to add — especially those that add badges certifying your security. To avoid the problems inherent in checkout redirects, only use an eCommerce platform that includes “checkout on own domain.”

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