Setting Up Shop Online: Security and reassurance for customers

1. Establish trust. Customers cannot look around your premises to know what you sell, or what's in stock and see exactly what the products are like. Make you product images clear and descriptions accurate so buyers are confidence what they are purchasing.

2. Reassure visitors that you're real. List your physical address and phone number so visitors can speak to a real person. Include photos of your premises and staff and possibly the story behind the business, or any significant milestones you have reached for the number of customers, the amount of products sold or anything you feel will help give you credibility.

3. Show your credentials. If you are a member of a professional body, display its logo prominently. Consider SafeBuy or the IMRG's Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS) scheme. These provide reassurance for shoppers through a system of independent registration and verification of online retailers.

4. Offer alternatives. Even if your main focus is to get customers to place orders online, do offer alternative ways of ordering such as by phone, fax or email. A few people will take advantage of the facility, but others will see the information as reassurance that you are easy to deal. Also provide additional methods of payment such as cheque and PayPal.

5. Display customer endorsement. Whenever customers make positive comments about your company, see if you can get a quote from them and their permission to display it on your site.

6. Prioritise security. Customers need to feel confident that their card and personal details are safe from hackers. You must be compliant with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), the security standard for processing card payments. For small merchants, the only feasible answer is to outsource card payment processing to a third party payment service provider .

7. Obey the rule. Visa and Mastercard have a security standard 3D Secure (also known as Verified by Visa and Mastercard SecureCode). The CV2 (the 'three digits on the back of a credit card') cannot be stored on any computer system once the payment has been taken.

You need to comply with these rules so promote the fact that you do and display their logos on your site.

Written by Nick Kington, Managing Director of E-Commerce supplier, Sellerdeck. Originally published on Enterprise Nation.

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