The Internet Security Blanket—How Do Websites Ensure That Customers Feel Secure?
In the age of the Internet, we can do just about anything online—open a bank account, purchase auto insurance, book a vacation, and even go on a shopping spree. The convenience of the Internet makes it easy to simply enter a credit card number or bank account to proceed with a purchase. However, in the wake of all the identity theft and online fraud in recent years, consumers have become increasingly wary of providing their personal information online. So what can a website do to assure customers that their information is safe?
Throughout our research, we have discovered several key characteristics that enhance customers’ perception that a website is secure:
- Having https and a padlock in the url—savvy internet users know that https, as opposed to just http, indicates that the site has security measures in place to protect their passwords and other personal info. The padlock is a salient and familiar indicator of security, which provides assurance to those less familiar with the https distinction.
- A prominent security seal—before providing their personal information (especially SSN, bank account numbers, etc.) users look for the icon of a familiar internet security / antivirus company so that they know their identity will not be compromised.
- Quick and easy access to privacy and security info—often, users will seek out more information about a website’s privacy and security before proceeding. Clear access to this info in the site header / footer allows these users to find what they are looking for without causing frustration and abandonment. Additionally, privacy and security information should be described using familiar terminology that is easy for the lay user to understand.
- Secure server sign-in—having a secure sign-in, as on Amazon.com, gives users confidence that their password, and any information they provide after logging in, is protected.
- Pervasive messaging about site security—users like to be reassured that the site is secure, without having to actively seek out this information on their own. This is particularly important on sites like Paypal.com, where users must store bank account and credit card numbers.
- A clean and simple page design—an overly cluttered homepage leaves users with the impression that the website is disorganized and unreliable. Customers have a visceral negative reaction to a site that is aesthetically unappealing, and as a result are hesitant to give their financial or other personal info.
- Avoid ads / popups—nothing deters a potential customer like popups and ads on a website. Ads are perceived as invasive and give the impression that the site is not putting the customer first. As a result, users worry that the website is likely to share their information with the advertising companies.
The more security elements a website employs, the safer and more confident customers will feel. Subsequently, users who feel confident that a website is protecting their internet security are more likely to return to the site and recommend the brand.
Wondering if your website is perceived as secure and trustworthy? A Website Evaluation provides direct user feedback and assesses website performance across key metrics. eVOC Insights also provides Expert Reviews from our team of experts to assess whether your website is meeting industry standards.