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Boost online consumer trust

Written by Emily Wilson on October 1st, 2012.      1 comments

Boost ecommerce Trust with your Customers with Zeald While e-commerce has demonstrated rapid growth and innovation, many consumers are still either afraid to shop online or do so with great caution due to concerns about their safety.  Last week top ecommerce site Trade Me warned users to be vigilant as international cyber scammers target their site.

Criminals are emailing users requesting personal information posing as the online auction site. The hackers are sending “Phishing” emails using embedded links to retrieve information, allowing them to take control of a user’s account and with it private details such as banking data and addresses.

As is normal procedure on Trade Me, any buyer showing interest in a “sale” is requested to contact the seller by phone or email for further information, at which point the fraudsters strike.

While Trade Me says no New Zealander’s have yet to fall victim to scam. It is stories like these that further fuel consumer apprehension.

Countless studies reflect online shopper anxiety. Research shows that identity theft and site information security concerns are leading drivers of online shopping cart abandonment.

Trust is imperative to the success of any business and even more so for your online business. Trust is a very fragile asset; once broken you often have to begin rebuilding from the ground up. It can take time to nurture a relationship with your customers and prove that your business is trustworthy.

However, it is still possible to improve customer trust and drive increased conversions online despite challenging dynamics.

A safe and secure website is the most crucial element to building online trust. Using the latest encryption technology is common practice for a reputable online merchant - ensuring that customer data is secure is just good business sense. More importantly, what will set you apart from your competition is effectively communicating and reinforcing your commitment to the safety and security of all your customers.

To begin with you must publish a policy guaranteeing your customer’s privacy. If you want your customer to fill in their details you must reassure them what you are going to do with their personal information; who has access to that information, including product purchases and who owns the website. 

But you have to go beyond this. You must be proactive in order to gain trust. To create a “worry-free” shopping process you should include clear policies on shipping, returns and privacy as well as security and product guarantees. Don’t burry these on a customer service page; link to them throughout the checkout process to reassure your customers.

Product descriptions should be as accurate as possible, consider including detailed images as well as in-depth descriptions. Customer service contact information should be easily accessible during the entire shopping process – consider a live chat for instant answers.

You may even go as far as redesigning your shopping cart. It is best practice to only ask for the information you require. Nothing causes more concern about privacy than merchants attempting to collect seemingly irrelevant information; customers are likely to wonder whether you’re going to use it for purposes other than completing their order. If you do require any non-standard order information, explain why you need it; if you’re asking additional questions for demographic purposes without requiring customers to supply the information, clearly label them as optional, and include an explanation – as well a link to your privacy policy.

Your reputation is effected by those you associate with. Use trusted, reputable vendors and display security certification logos. These should feature throughout the checkout process and it can help if they are clearly visible on the page rather than hidden in the footer.

A professional website is more likely to give your visitors the confidence to purchase online. Design, load time, content, typos and broken links all impact your credibility.

For more information about how you can convert your visitors into customers why not attend a free educational Zeald seminar or webinar.


Online threats – is your website at risk?

Written by Emily Wilson on April 10th, 2012.      0 comments

The internet is a marvellous thing. It has made the world a smaller place, changed the way we communicate information and indeed the way in which we live. However, without the right precautions, the internet has made us more vulnerable to scammers and hackers.

Con-men are by no means a new thing. They pre-date the internet by millennia; however now those con-men take the form of hackers, they have discovered ways via the internet to gain access to your information, including your financials, if you are not careful.

To protect yourself from hackers, con-men, viruses, malware, spyware and the like there are a few things you can do. Firstly make sure you choose a reputable website design company to build and more importantly maintain your website. When choosing a company to design your website you should look out for some of the more obvious attributes such as experience, qualifications and track records, and the not so obvious such as where the company might be in five years’ time. If the company is forced to shut-up-shop at the very least you are in for some major disturbances.

You’ll also want to run some security software to keep any major virus threats at bay. However there are far more subtle dangers out there that require a bit of common sense.
  1. Scammers and Con-men. We all know the kind of emails that, thankfully, mostly end up in our spam folders these days. They’re the ones that sound too good to be true, play on your emotions or ask you to help them transfer money; these often standout as obvious scams but still do catch out people every day, costing them a lot of money. However scammers have gotten smarter and more technically savvy. Some can seem so legitimate, using reputable logos, email addresses etc., which when in a hurry can seem like just another invoice – so always be on the lookout.
  2. Fraudulent orders. If your e-commerce business is selling “highly resalable” items, such as jewellery or electronics, you need to be especially aware of people making orders with stolen credit cards. You can avoid this most of the time by working with your bank and using a proper payment gateway. Using a reputable third-party payment gateway such as DPS, means that credit cards are entered on their website, where they should have more resources to deem the card reliable and it also protects your customers as you never have their card details. To protect yourself from credit card fraud you should take some care before shipping orders overseas and possibly even call customers when they have made a large order.
  3. Out of date software. Most people won’t be aware that some software when it is out of date provides another source of entry to hackers. “Bots” scan the internet continuously looking for software that is out of date and has known weak-spots, or major security flaws. These weak points are exploited and your website is taken over, which is then used to distribute spam or a virus. This is another reason it pays to have someone continuously updating your site.
Most threats to your website are going to be more of a nuisance than a disaster. For example if you publish your email address on your site you will receive more spam email. Your website might run slower because a “bot” is trying to, unsuccessfully or not, break your website.

To reassure your customers that your website is a reliable and safe place to shop the best thing you can do is prove you are a real person/company. It is a good idea to have a detailed policy for refunds, returns and privacy published on your checkout page. Publish true testimonials with the person’s name attached to them. Provide information about your contact details, including your physical address, especially if you are targeting the New Zealand market; make it clear that you are a kiwi company that they can contact directly. SSL certificate logos can add to your creditability (SSL “encrypts” information that is transferred between websites and users) but as anyone (even the baddies) can get a verification badge; it is no substitute for proving you are a real person who stands by their products.
Topics: Online Security

About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest SME website design and digital transformation agency in New Zealand and has clients throughout both New Zealand and Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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