15. Security for customers
Worries about lack of security are the number one reason stopping people from buying over the Internet. Even if these worries are not based on reality.
In 1999 it took newcomers to the Internet on average more than 12 months before they made a purchase on the Internet. Today this average is down to less than four months - and falling. Of those who have bought on the Net, 98% want to do it again. These figures clearly indicate security concerns are declining. Yet as long as concerns are around, you must take care of them so you can turn all visitors to your Internet shop into customers.
The most basic way is to provide all your contact details on your website. If possible allow people to call you on the phone. Often just being able to talk to a real person helps overcome worries.
If you have a real brick and mortar shop, list the address on your web site. You will find that people worried about security check you out on the Internet and buy from you in your real shop. In which case your Internet shop has worked like a high powered low cost add for you.
Allow customers to print out their order so they can fax it or mail it to you. While this is not more secure it gives people the feeling of more security. If it gets you the order, it is worth doing.
And of course you should accept orders in your online shop in a secured environment, in which all orders get encrypted while being transferred over the Net.
The two browsers Internet Explorer and Netscape support a special encryption method. It ensures nobody can read an order, while it is being sent via the Internet. This encryption method is called SSL.
Because of the high security SSL offers, it is widely used in Internet shops to secure orders.
ShopFactory comes with free SSL support included. If you combine this with PGP encryption, your security will be above and beyond that of most businesses. With ShopFactory this is easy and free.
A small padlock or a key at the bottom of a browser window usually indicate to a customer, when a website is secure - although a connection can be secure even if this symbol does not come up. Seeing it however is a guarantee.
Because SSL is widely known and accepted, you should always use it when accepting orders online, to make customers feel more comfortable.
Also tell them right on your home page that your shop is secure. The more you inform them about security, the better they will feel about buying in your shop.
Or you could use a real-time payment service provider doing the transactions for you. While this comes at a cost, it means you have a 3rd party taking care of security issues. Many of these services also can screen out a number of fraudulent transactions.
And of course you will not have to manually approve payments yourself via the telephone.