Survey Says: Trustmarks Increase Sales for E-tailers

A McAfee study indicates that security trustmarks build consumer confidence in online shopping.

Fears about online security and personal information—not the current economic downturn—are the biggest drivers behind terminated online sales.

A study released today by McAfee, Inc., and conducted by Harris Interactive, revealed that nearly half of consumers have terminated an online order or abandoned their shopping cart due to security fears at check-out time.

Even when faced with the possibility of getting a really good deal online, sixty-three percent of shoppers say they won’t purchase from a Web site that does not display a trustmark or security policy, such as McAfee Secure for Web Sites.

According to Tim Dowling, vice president of McAfee’s Web security group, the study also showed that ninety-two percent of shoppers have concerns when shopping on a new and unknown brand Web site.

He said, “When smaller merchants use trustmarks it levels the playing field between them and the larger online retailers.”

How McAfee Secure Works for Shop Owners

For smaller Web shop owners, the McAfee Secure program gives you a McAfee-branded trust to display on your Web site. This, according to Dowling, not only boosts customer confidence, but it helps ensure that retailers do not put their customers at risk.

McAfee’s service performs daily testing for more than 10,000 network and Web application vulnerabilities, checking for anything on a McAfee Secure site that could be a potential risk to site visitors—such Web application vulnerabilities, and malicious content or risky e-mail practices.

Putting emphasis on security, Dowling said that if a site should fail a daily scan, its trust mark is automatically disabled until the issues are fixed and the site passes the next scan.

Seal of Approval Can Boost Sales

McAfee's study showed that 90 percent of consumers are concerned about their security when shopping on new or unknown Web sites, and 47 per cent of consumers look for trustmarks to feel safe when shopping on a lesser known site.

By displaying a trustmark, Dowling said that the lesser-known retail sites can prove credibility to potential customers and gain market share from larger sites.  The study showed that one-third of consumers would rather buy from a smaller Web site with a trustmark than a larger, more well-known e-tailer.

This may be a case of consumers believing that larger online retailers have more information and data worth stealing, compared to a smaller online site.

Another reason for the increased traffic and sales is that retail shops that display the McAfee Secure badge are highlighted in McAfee SiteAdvisor ratings. SiteAdvisor is a toolbar that warns users of potentially harmful sites while they search and browse the Web. The toolbar is distributed and installed with all of McAfee’s consumer security software.

Online retailers also get additional exposure in McAfee’s secure shopping portal, which only features e-tailers who have been certified using the McAfee Secure services.

“Small retail sites in particular get a huge benefit when they use this service,” said Dowling. “They essentially get a clear understanding of how secure their site is, and on average they also see increased sales of 11 to 12 percent when displaying the McAfee Secure trustmark on the site.”

Pricing and Availability

The McAfee Secure trustmark is currently used by more than 14,000 online retailers and appears on more than 80,000 Web sites worldwide.  McAfee Secure certification is available at a starting price of $999 per year, with pricing based on customer page views.

Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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