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Why providing and publicizing a secure server is vital to online sales
  • Nov 18, 2020
  • 2 minutes

Why providing and publicizing a secure server is vital to online sales

Though a majority of Internet users in the United States make online purchases regularly, a strong minority do not. Why? Their biggest fears are identity theft and theft of their credit card information. Those of us who sell online need to respond in two ways.

1. Provide a Secure Sales Environment

Hackers are clever. They're constantly finding ways to hack into a web server and steal valuable credit card data, passwords, etc. You have to stay ahead of them. The cost to a merchant of having credit card information stolen from your server can be high. Laws now require notifying customers of the theft and offering them free credit checks. In addition, the resulting publicity could badly damage sales.

Your best line of defense against hackers is an experienced, responsive web hosting service or IT department that takes security seriously. If your web hosting service displays a Hacker Safe or McAfee Secure logo, this is a good indication that they are security conscious. We, marketers, tend to see this shield as a marketing device that boosts confidence and thus sales. It does. But this is not merely a marketing gimmick. McAfee Secure and companies like them subject their clients' servers to rigorous daily testing for vulnerabilities that a hacker might try to exploit.

Your hosting service needs to be receiving regular reports of possible vulnerabilities and constantly be tightening security. As they do, your site will be better protected against the most common types of attacks. In addition, PCI (Payment Card Industry) Standards compliance is required of all merchants who take credit cards. Following these standards helps keep valuable data secure.

2. Publicize That Your Server Is Secure

Since we know that people are wary of buying online - especially from unknown merchants - then it is vital to assure people in a variety of ways that their sale will be safe. There are eight ways to increase trust. These include explicitly letting shoppers know that your server is secure. The best place to do this is when people are ready to buy - on the landing page, the shopping cart, and the order information page.

Display a Hacker Safe / McAfee Secure logo. Permission to do so is not inexpensive nor is compliance easy. But this logo provides assurance to buyers of a safe environment - especially important on sites of unknown merchants. Display a logo from your SSL Digital Certificate vendor stating that your site is protected. It is one more indication to the buyer of your concern with safety. Include a link to a pop-up window that answers the question: "Is it safe to purchase online?" Test to see if changing the wording of your order or cart button to "Order now on our secure server" increases sales. Online shoppers customers are very concerned with security. If we want their business, we must make it our concern as well.

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