Enhanced Security Measures and Online Store Optimization

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December 21, 2011

You do everything you can to optimize your online store. You work through a number of different designs, testing each as you go, to find out which has the highest conversion rate. The same goes for your online store copy.

These are important parts of online store optimization. There’s another aspect to online store optimization, however, that often gets overlooked: enhanced security measures.

What are enhanced security measures?

By “enhanced security measures,” we mean things like:

  • Secure Sockets Layer. Arguably, SSL should be in the “basic security measures” category, but believe it or not there are still some online stores not running with SSL. Consumers are savvy, and simply not using SSL will cost you business.
  • Verification services. Both AVS (Address Verification Service) and verification of the CCV are essential to online store optimization. The higher you set the AVS threshold, by the way, the better off you’ll be.
  • Secure online store software. Your cart should, at a minimum, be PCI compliant. That’s the basic set of standards in order to accept credit card payments.
  • Site monitoring. Most hosting providers also offer a security monitoring service for an additional fee. When you’re running an online store, it’s generally a good idea to add this layer of security, as well.

A fully-optimized online store will have all of these, and probably other enhanced security measures, too.

Why you need them

Enhanced security measures help your online store from two angles: increased sales and protection from chargebacks. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

Enhanced security measures increase the sales in your online store by:

  • Projecting credibility. Unless you’re a well-established online store, there is a credibility gap you’ve got to overcome if you’re going to maximize your sales. Customers have heard hundreds of horror stories over the years about online stores and scams, and they’re wary. Using enhanced security measures adds to your credibility, making customers more comfortable and more likely to buy.
  • Addressing specific security concerns. There’s a smaller subset of the overall online store marketplace that’s not simply paranoid because of fantastic news stories; they have some knowledge of security technology. Those folks are going to be looking for the https:, and they’re going to be watching for CCV verification, for example. If you don’t have those enhanced security measures, this group won’t buy.

These measures also protect you against chargebacks. By requiring the CCV, for example, you pretty much guarantee that the person typing in the credit card number either is now or has previously held the physical credit card. Add in address verification as another layer, and you’ll see fewer fraudulent transactions and fewer chargebacks because of it.

Displaying reliability

Finally, it’s worth noting that you need to make sure your customers know you’re using enhanced security measures. Mention them on your privacy page, and consider setting up a blurb or even an entire page that talks about how you’re dedicated to secure and safe transactions.

In the end, enhanced security measures are just one more element you need to consider in online store optimization.

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