If you’re embarking on the noble quest to open up a retail outfit on the far-reaching internet, you’ll have to adapt to a whole new set of entrance barriers that are completely different from those of brick-and-mortar shops. The internet has done much to level the playing field. For instance, you don’t have to worry about finding and affording optimal real estate to benefit from the high traffic that distinguishes those locations. To reach an endless ocean of customers, you’ll have to stand out from the sea of competitors.
Having impenetrable security won’t necessarily make you stand out, but not having it will make you stand out in the worst of ways (the reasons of which are obvious and don’t merit wasting your time to explain). In this article we explain what constitutes a secure online retailer, and how merchants can leverage their security to secure sales.
Platform and Hosting Service
When shopping for a eCommerce platform, it’s important to choose one that employs strong encryption for payment processing and customer data retention. Likewise, the data center that physically hosts the customer data should employ onsite security. While it might be impractical to inspect the hosting facility, you should inquire what physical security systems are in place (for example, server rooms should be protected from unauthorized personnel by security cards, etc.). Also ensure that the hosting facility has proper disaster recovery procedures, servers are backed up daily, and back-ups are periodically stored off site.
Credit Card Processing
If you are using an online third party credit card processor, you need to ensure the payment processor is secure. There are many such payment processors and you should diligently research each. You also need to ensure that the eCommerce platform supports your desired payment processor.
Communicating Transaction Security
Your customers need to understand that they are using a secure site without being forced to hunt for signs. Most online shoppers are savvy enough these days to look for the small lock symbol and https:// as verification that a transaction is secure. However, you should still visually or textually reinforce on checkout and various other pages that transactions and customer data are secure.
Be Available to Customers
It’s a nightmare to use a website that doesn’t have contact info and an address to a physical office, regardless of whether it’s an ecommerce store or an informational website that details a company’s services. I don’t care if your business is run out of your garage, you need to have a way for customers to reach you so they know there’s a real human person running the show and not a team of foreign hackers robbing you from eastern Europe(no offense to those countries; you’re probably more likely to get your identity stolen from central Africa anyway). Webstores that make it difficult for customers to speak with an employee are a huge red flag and would never be used if a more approachable alternative exists.