STOP! In order to read this post, you must email your full name, credit card number, expiration date, billing address and security code to email@example.com.
Doesn’t sound like a very secure way to get access to this post, does it?
If you’ve learned anything from the internet, it’s that you shouldn’t trust a random guy online with your private payment information.
Chances are, if I really forced readers to send me their payment information in order to continue with this article, they probably wouldn’t keep reading.
It’s simply not worth the risk.
After all, there are hundreds of other blog posts out there about keeping your financial information safe on the web that don’t come with a chance of fiscal malfeasance.
“Commerce is transactional in nature.”
You give me something of value, and I give you something of equal value.
In most ecommerce transactions, customers are exchanging a digital payment for a product that will be shipped to them.
But there’s another layer there: trust.
It’s that good faith and foundational trust that allows online transactions to happen in the first place — trust that the merchant will receive payment and trust that the customer will receive his or her goods.
The ability to securely purchase goods online without your financial information being compromised is the backbone of the ecommerce industry.
If Amazon were unable to guarantee the security of your payments to their merchants, the world’s biggest online retailer would be out of business in a matter of days.
As an ecommerce merchant, it's your job to make the payment process secure for your customers, just as much as it is the customer’s job to avoid credit card scams and not send personal financial information to a complete stranger on the internet via email.
Developing Trust & Security for Customers
Today’s online consumer has grown accustomed to a wide range of security checkpoints during the purchase process. If your ecommerce store falls short on any of the following security and trust protocols, then you’re likely going to lose business to a more security-savvy competitor (if you aren’t already).
During the process of any ecommerce purchase, there are a range of security checkpoints that customers need to go through in order to safely and securely complete a payment.
There are also various “trust points” that an online merchant can make available to consumers so that they know they’re dealing with a reputable business.
These trust points set customers at ease, as they know that they’re working with a real business — run by a real person — who will be accountable throughout the ecommerce transaction.
Being PCI Compliant
In order to legally do business online, merchants must be PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant. This means if you’re accepting credit card payments online, you’ll need to make sure that you’re fully PCI.
Most small- to medium-sized businesses that are hosting their own payment gateways will be considered a Level 4 merchant according to ComplianceGuide.org. In order to better understand what it takes to be Level 4 compliant, check out this blog.
But if you’re smart, you’ll work with a PCI-compliant ecommerce solution out of the gate, eliminating liability and utilizing the various trust features that come with the platform.
Utilizing the PCI-compliant trust points below, you’ll put your customers at ease when they spend their money at your store.
PCI-Compliant Ecommerce Solution
Volusion is a PCI-compliant ecommerce solution out of the gate. This means you can sign up for a store and start accepting credit card payments right away. You don’t have to host your own payment gateway and you don’t need to deal with encryption on your servers.
Recognized Payment Gateway
Along with a PCI-compliant ecommerce solution, you’ll want to make sure that you offer customers easily recognizable third-party payment gateways — like an Authorize.net solution, Paypal, Strip, Google Payments, Amazon Payments and more. Working with third-party payment processors and offering as many as possible will help foster trust between you and your customers.
Don’t ghost your customers. Be sure that your ecommerce solution and payment gateway provides your customers with a clear confirmation that their payment was captured. Otherwise, they’ll wonder where their hard-earned money just went.
Legal Policies Readily Available on the Site
While not every customer uses policy and legal terms documents, it certainly helps make your customers feel at ease. This is especially true for higher-priced products. Having readily available refund policies, terms & conditions, shipping policies and more will help your customers know that they can trust you to stick to your side of the ecommerce bargain.
Readily Available Point of Contact
Last but not least, give your customers someone to reach out to. Don’t obfuscate your contact information — that will just make you look like you’re trying to pull a quick one on your buyers. Make your contact information readily available on your site and give customers multiple places to reach out to — including email, phone, Twitter, Facebook and live chat — if that will work with your team infrastructure.
By making your business more transparent, you’ll be able to foster trust from your customers.
Volusion’s Fraud Score
Don’t forget to protect yourself from untrustworthy web practices.
Every day there are scammers out there trying to run fake or stolen credit card numbers on ecommerce sites to get “free” products. Volusion has gone the extra mile to help protect our merchants from credit card fraud with our Fraud Score feature.
Volusion’s Fraud Score provides merchants with a comprehensive risk analysis of orders on your site:
- Transaction details, including a geolocation analysis, IP and email risk assessment, and bank information checks
- Data checks to verify identity, street address and IP, along with physical address comparison
- Tracking of devices that have been used in previous fraudulent transactions
According to Forbes.com, U.S. card fraud losses could exceed $12 billion by 2020. Don’t become another statistic.
Ecommerce Relies on Trust
As an online merchant, it can be easy to get bogged down in operational or marketing details and overlook fundamentals. Making sure that your business and website are trustworthy will go a long way toward building an avid customer base, protecting you from financial liability and growing your revenue.