With one big exception, online shopping can be a great experience for consumers. More and more people like the ability to access their favorite stores from anywhere and businesses like being able to help more customers access their products and services.
According to a November 2013 Burst Media study, 45.7 percent of survey takers say they use smartphones for holiday shopping and 41.3 percent use tablets. About 40 percent of these shoppers even use their devices for shopping assistance while in the store.
The only flaw in the growing increase in e-commerce is the growing risk of identity theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 5 percent of all U.S. residents age 16 and older, or 11.7 million people, were victims of identity theft between 2006 and 2008, including everything from stolen wallets to stolen data.
One way that businesses can show they are serious about offering customers safe, secure places for transactions is to include security precautions on their site, and indicate this protection in the form of buttons or badges.
- BBB — This badge declares a business agrees to comply with all the terms of the Better Business Bureau, and has been recognized by the BBB in its respective geographic area. According to the BBB in Dayton, Ohio, putting this button on a site tells visitors that the business has received current accreditation. It also gives access to its BBB profile, including how many complaints it has received and whether they have been resolved to the organization’s satisfaction.
- Paypal — Seeing this button on an e-commerce site demonstrates that Paypal has verified that the seller successfully passes security checks and is verified to safely send and receive customer funds. Paypal offers this as an extra precaution so customers can trust verified businesses.
- TRUSTe — This badge shows that a business has taken steps to protect customer privacy and personal information. Once TRUSTe verifies that a company complies with its privacy requirements and standards of collecting and sharing data, it allows the company to display the official Certified Privacy Seal. One site that displays this badge is LifeLock, which offers tools to customers interested locking down your id online with extensive identify and theft protection services.
- McAfee — Not everyone likes McAfee, and that’s OK. But the anti-virus program does make a point of letting users know their system is being regularly monitored for all sorts of security risks, and also that sellers have taken steps to make their sites secure for their visitors. The “McAfee Secure” badge can be prominently displayed on a site and a smaller version can be seen besides the site on search engine listings.
- Symantec — If you’re not a McAfee fan, rival security/anti-virus company Symantec offers a similar “Norton Secured” badge, but this one includes the VeriSign check-mark, a gold standard for security. Seeing this badge or check-mark on a page shows that extra security steps have been taken to promote privacy and avoid malware.