Thanks to constantly evolving technology, purchasing goods online is becoming ever more convenient, with retailers and service providers alike taking advantage of the internet’s marketing potential. Despite these developments, the risks involved in online transactions remain a major deterrent for many people. That’s why it’s crucial for retailers to provide reliable and secure payment methods in...
With round-the-clock service and practically an unlimited choice, the benefits of online shopping are countless. But there are two huge disadvantages that online shop owners have to face. First of all, unlike brick-and-mortar stores, a ecommerce website's stock isn’t immediately available to hand, so customers can’t physically handle the products until they’ve purchased them. Second, customers have to enter personal information such as contact details when buying products online, while the sales assistant behind the counter will only need personal information in very rare circumstances. So it’s common for customers to be cautious when committing to unknown shops due to concerns about shipment, quality, or security.
Technical expertise and adequate security measures are crucial, as it’s not unheard of for fraudsters to advertise hoax offers or exploit an unsuspecting company’s website for their own personal gain, and stories such as these fuel further scepticism. So if you’re an online merchant, it’s of the utmost importance to generate trust by fulfilling the customer’s expectations from the very beginning. It’s also recommended to acquire certification from established authorities. This process involves having your website checked by experts in order to acquire an SSL certificate that can be presented to your customers. Read on to find out more information about two distinguished certification authorities whose seal is recognised by many customers as a guarantee of quality, increasing their trust and thus your conversion rate.
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s@fer-shopping – the TÜV trust seal
Since 2001, the internationally respected ‘s@fer shopping’ certificate has been featured on online stores that satisfy TÜV’s extensive test criteria. Founded in 1866 in Munich, Germany, the company now has locations all over Europe, America, and Asia. As well as SSL certificates, TÜV offers many other kinds of certification, including for environmental management, quality of service, and IT security management. While the brand is particularly distinguished in German-speaking countries, its long history and reputation for neutrality, expertise, and honesty have made it a major player all around the world. TÜV has a three-step process for examining online stores: first, it conducts an online examination, then a security check, and finally an on-site audit. To this end, the company makes sure the following basic properties are complied with:
- Data security: for the TÜV SSL certificates, you need to be able to produce a comprehensive security concept that includes all the necessary measures. This involves questions like ‘Do you have the appropriate resources to secure your infrastructure?’ (i.e. staff, hardware, software) and ‘Do you use encryption technology?’
- Data protection: this evaluation involves typical questions surrounding the handling of personal customer data, e.g.: ‘Do you have a data protection supervisor?’, ‘Is the privacy statement recorded in writing?’, and ‘Are your users fully aware of the nature, extent, and reasons for data collection?’ This category also involves examining cookies.
- Content and delivery: here you need to meet TÜV’s criteria for the correct preparation, maintenance, and delivery of your goods, as well as provide extensive and accurate information about your business, products, and prices. You must also show how the transaction process takes place (i.e. ordering, payment, delivery, returns policy).
- Organisational requirements: online shop administrators are obliged to adjust content to meet TÜV’s standards and make staff aware of the company’s policies. As well as this, you must be prepared to make changes to your businesses based on the feedback collected from your customers.
To get a trust seal for your online store, you'll first need to contact s@fer shopping for a free quote. If you manage to pass the test, you can display the certificate not only on your online store, but also in any catalogues or leaflets that refer to your website. Customers will recognise the SSL certificate as a distinguishing feature of a trusted online shopping site with meticulous quality control measures.
Symantec– the security software giant
Since it was established in 1995, Verisign has been synonymous with security and reliability. With millions of certificates currently active across the internet, this Virginia-based company is one of the best-known for SSL certificates, despite having sold its authentication section to Symantec in 2010. But there’s an extensive list of test criteria to meet before you can attain this prestigious trust seal. A team of experts will first scan your website to check how closely it complies with their standards in the following areas:
- Identity and availability: how easy is it for your customers to reach you? Are your terms and conditions transparent and easily available for everyone? Do you have all the necessary paperwork and licenses (i.e. are you on the commercial register)?
- Data protection and security: is the privacy statement complete and readable? How do you process and use your customers’ data (address, bank details, passwords, etc.)?
- Returns policy: have you properly informed your customers about your returns policy, cancellation period, and any exceptions? Do you have an example returns form?
- Products and prices: are you entitled to sell your products? Do you have accurate and informative product descriptions, prices, and information about shipping costs and taxes? Are your customers made aware of any additional services such as express delivery or gift wrapping?
- Delivery and payment: have you given an accurate indication of your delivery range and times? Is the user made aware of the range of payment methods?
- Ordering process: do your pages give a good overview of the products and their prices? Can mistakes be easily corrected? Do your customers receive a direct order confirmation via email that includes all the most important information about your store?
- Other criteria: is all the information provided up-to-date? Are the terms and conditions presented clearly? Do you deliver to general customers or only to businesses?
To obtain a Verisign trust seal, you need to go to the Symantec website and book your chosen package. Once you’ve fulfilled the rigorous requirements, you can add the trust badge to your website. Each package comes at a different price, and can be renewed every one, two, or three years.
Trust seals: quality comes at a price
As two internationally respected certification services, Verisign and TÜV can both contribute to creating a genuine and positive image for your online shop. But as is so often the case, well-known brands can come at a price, so those on a tight budget may wish to seek out cheaper alternatives. Some established brands like McAfee and PayPal offer reduced programs for free. While eKomi has established itself as a good alternative in the world of trust seals, relying on customer reviews to elevate search engine rankings. However, you should always treat cheap offers with a certain amount of caution, as they could be fraudulent. If you do your homework, scams can be fairly easy to detect, as their test criteria are vague, and the company might seem all too eager to offer up its seal. It’s far better to spend a little more on a well-established brand that guarantees the reliability and safety of your online store.