Just as guarding contractors are wondering how to stand out – given that several hundred competitors are SIA-approved – there’s a parallel problem for retailers. How do you show you are truly secure as a marketing tool on your e-tailing website?
Over the first six months of 2009, monthly e-tail sales grew at an average rate of 14 per cent year-on-year. Over the same period, total UK retail sales saw an average monthly drop of 3.4 per cent as the economic downturn continued to affect consumer spending. This variation has driven the proportion of sales that are conducted online to 3.3 per cent in June 09, up from 2.7 per cent in June last year. [All statistics taken from the IMRG Capgemini E-retail Sales Index and the ONS Retail Sales Index issued in July 2009.]
Consumers are moving away from bricks and mortar stores, and clicking onto the web for a number of reasons. Lower overheads mean that e-tailers can pass on cost benefits to customers, turning the web into a veritable treasure trove for bargain shoppers. In addition, many people find shopping from the comfort of their home or desk at work convenient. In fact, a research by Royal Mail found that many workers are shunning the traditional pub outing on a Friday lunchtime in favour of doing a spot of online shopping. Not surprisingly, with all these customers flooding online, internet retailers are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition and grab a greater slice of the profits.
Traditionally, when a customer walked into a high street store, if the sales assistant was friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy the customer felt more compelled to part with their cash. A web page is of course not able to engage a potential buyer with the same, personal approach so online retailers need to find other ways to build trust with their customers, to help drive sales and reduce the dreaded ‘shopping cart abandonment?. Demonstrating your online security credentials is a simple, easy way for customers to immediately recognise that they are in safe hands.
Phil D?Angio, director at VeriSign, and James Roper, CEO of trade body IMRG, comment on these e-tail stats.
“Driving this change in buying behaviour is the convenience, variety and value available online. The internet is the easiest place to find the best price for anything from holidays to a new pair of running shoes. More people are looking online with a view to saving money on both day-to-day and one-off purchases, but in a time when overall retail sales are shrinking, sites need to do everything they can to ensure as many cost conscious browsers as possible covert to paying customers,” said James Roper, CEO of e-commerce trade body IMRG.
“Due to the economy, buyer confidence is at a low,” said Phil D’Angio business development director, VeriSign, EMEA. “Consumers are increasingly protective of their personal details and are actively seeking out websites they can trust with their hard-earned cash. If they have any concerns about what will happen to their personal information while making a purchase, or if someone could possibly access their account, they will cancel the transaction and take their business elsewhere. In a new survey by YouGov, 90 percent of respondents said they would stop making purchases online if they felt their credit card details or personal information was at risk.”
“The internet is a fantastic tool, but customers are concerned about security on websites. Our use of the VeriSign Secured Seal and EV certificates is one of our most important ways of instilling confidence in customers and assuring them that their information is secure when they do business with dwell,” said Richard Theobald, IT Manager, dwell.co.uk
Fitness Footwear has been investing in online authentication technology to reassure shoppers that they are dealing with a secure retailer. As a result, conversions to sale have increased by 16.9 per cent among those who saw the address bar in their internet browser turn green, compared to those who did not. It is not just fashion goods e-tailers that are taking steps to generate the maximum amount of trust with consumers. Dwell, the online furniture shop, spotted the increased number of web shoppers and decided to increase its own share in the online profits by investing in enhanced validation and authentication technology. Dwell has boosted conversion rates by 13.8 per cent and monthly sales by £18,000 as a result.