If you’re an American with internet access, chances are that you’ve made an online purchase recently … and you’re not alone. In fact, nearly 70 percent of Americans shop online regularly (at least monthly), according to Mintel’s Online Shopping U.S. 2015 report.
Reasons behind this burgeoning market include the convenience of being able to shop from anywhere, easy access to reviews, quick delivery options and side-by-side price comparisons.
But there is one sacrifice that online shoppers have made in exchange for these benefits: security.
Unless you’re a well-known online retailer like Amazon, it may be difficult for a buyer to determine whether you’re a legitimate seller or not.
Even though online shopping is growing rapidly, popular spam tactics have taken advantage of trusting consumers over the years, making them more aware and less likely to trust newer businesses and brands than ever before.
These tactics include – but are not limited to – selling user data to third parties, automatic enrollment into loyalty programs that charge monthly fees, large-scale data breeches, paying for “premium products” which are in fact, blatant knock offs, and more.
While circumstances like these are unfortunate, consumers are quick to savvy-up and adjust their shopping habits accordingly.
If you want to start off on the right foot with potential customers, here are a few “red flags” that you should avoid:
Absence of security seals
As an online retailer, you are asking your customers to trust you with their personal data. In return, you should be offering them an assurance of your own.
GlobalSign, a web-trusted certificate provider, discovered that 84% of website visitors surveyed said they would abandon a purchase if they knew their data was being sent over an insecure connection.
Make sure it’s clear to your potential customers that you are taking the appropriate steps to prevent data theft, phishing scams or malicious code from being downloaded by providing security badges on your website.
Additional endorsements can be obtained through organizations like the Better Business Bureau and J.D. Power.
Moreover, in 2014 Google announced that it would start using HTTPS as a lightweight search signal for rankings, but may give it more weight over time.
No social media engagement
To be successful as an online retailer, you’ve got to have an active social life.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C, this means having a presence on the social media platforms that make sense for your business (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Slide Share, etc.) and connecting with your customers where they are.
Having a strong social media presence also shows that an organization is holding itself accountable in a very public way. Make sure to link to your profiles on your main website so your customers and visitors can easily find you around the web.
Unclear terms and conditions
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
If visitors to your website find it difficult to access your terms and conditions, or you bombard them with a large amount of fine print they need to accept before purchase, you could be turning them away.
From shipping rates to return policies, you should make this information easy to access and easy to understand for potential customers. As buyers become savvier to online scams, they may be looking for these terms as a sign of online legitimacy.
If you’re an organization looking to build a brand that consumers can trust, take these red flags into consideration.