Convert reluctant customers online

Reluctant customer's cursor hovering over green 'BUY NOW' button


Many consumers are still reluctant to shop online - are you doing enough to reassure your customers that your website is secure and your business is reputable?

Just getting people to visit your website isn't enough. You need to reassure them you are a safe place to buy from - and that isn’t always easy.

It is all very well having access to a global market, but if potential customers feel unsafe buying from you, your ecommerce strategy isn't worth the paper it’s written on.

Customer security concerns

Small firms can do just as good a job online as bigger brands, but you have to demonstrate that you're fully up-to-date with security measures. First, though, you need to understand customers’ concerns. 

These typically include the risk of identity theft and financial fraud stemming from the unauthorised release of personal information, receiving viruses or other malicious software from you and the legitimacy of your business.

Strengthening your ecommerce security is the most important thing you can do to quell customer fears. To do this, you should carry out a risk analysis of your ecommerce site. It’s also worth looking at websites you respect to see what they offer in terms of security. If in doubt, bring in a third-party consultant to check your site.

Essential security precautions

To keep hackers and malicious software from attacking your system, you need security software like a firewall and regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

You also need to restrict access to consumer information to those who strictly need it, and then ensure that access is controlled, for example through password-activated application controls. Make sure that staff understand the importance of strong passwords (which use non-obvious combinations of numbers and letters) as well as the need to change them frequently.

If you take payments online, ensure your site is payment card industry compliant and use encryption on all areas of the website that take personal information.

Reassure potential customers

Even if your site is secure, you need to demonstrate that fact to potential customers before they are likely to buy from you. Most online shoppers will recognise the signs of secure web pages - the https:// page prefix and the padlock symbol in their web browser - but these only appear once a customer has reached the transaction stage.

Demonstrate that you take customer security fears seriously by addressing them early on in their visit to your website. Provide clear contact details, including your full postal address and a phone number - this helps show that you are a genuine business and have nothing to hide.

Be upfront about your delivery costs and returns policy. Concerns over returning goods are one of the main things that stop people from buying online.

Adding some background about your business along with customer testimonials will further endorse your credibility. You should also list any professional or trade bodies that you belong to. Membership of any accredited body will help reassure visitors that you're trustworthy.

By addressing online shoppers’ security concerns you will increase the chance that they make a purchase - and when they’ve bought from you once and had a secure experience, they are more likely to return.

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