Canadians are more cautious than our US neighbours when it comes to making online purchases and disclosing personal information. For those clients who take the plunge into eCommerce, one of the major reported factors for shopping cart abandonment is visitors' suspicion of the way companies handle online customer information. Although, generally speaking, statistics show rapid growth in eCommerce, one of the most common deterrents to completing an online sale is a customer’s lack of confidence in a vendor’s website. To improve customer trust in your website, and therefore increase sales, the following should be implemented.
- Have an SSL (secure socket layer) on any page of your website that asks for personal information. This is a type of security technology that is installed on your hosting provider's server. It's used to encrypt data that is sent through the browser to the server in order to significantly reduce the likelihood of someone intercepting the data. You will know an SSL has been added to the web page when the address starts with https:// instead of the typical http:// protocol. A yellow lock will be displayed on the bottom right of your browser. Your website should clearly display the SSL seal / certificate. Many website hosting providers provide a free-shared SSL, but tests have shown that having your own SSL allows higher conversion rates than the free-shared alternative.
- Add the Hacker Safe seal. This is a program which scans your website host’s network for known vulnerabilities. The providers of the Hacker Safe seal report an average sales increase for small and medium sites of 15 to 20%.
- Clearly display return policies, privacy policies, and guarantees. If your return policy is brief, add it to your shopping cart's checkout page, otherwise have it open in a new window via a link. Be sure to comply with the codes of any other countries, provinces, states, and in some cases specific industries, that you sell in. Canadian companies need to comply with PIPEDA, Canada’s privacy act. Display your guarantees upfront.
- Add your full contact information, including phone number, address, and email, preferably to every page.
Tests have shown that having all the above elements significantly reduces checkout abandonment and increased conversion rates. Removing a major deterrent gives your visitors more confidence in your website, which will no doubt increase the appeal of choosing your website for online buying.