Dec 21, 2010

Trust Still Trumps Products for Online Shoppers


Online shopping is on the way up, and it’s easy to see why, especially during the holiday season – no fighting mall crowds, standing in lines or transporting gifts to far-away friends and relatives. In fact, consulting firm FTI just released its 2010 Retail Report, which showed online retail to be the best performing market segment during the recession. The report also projects that online retail will approach $200 billion in 2011 and will double its share of total U.S. retail sales by 2020.

That said, another report this month showed that consumers’ growing affinity for online shopping still hasn’t overcome their security concerns. The survey showed fraud protection as the #1 online shopping priority, more than the ability to quickly find the products they are looking for via “search” or a site’s ease-of-use.

This data, among others, should keep the red flag raised for online retailers considering shared SSLs. The appeal of low- or no-cost shared SSLs is certainly tempting for small or start-up retailers, and truth be told, there is virtually no difference in the level of security provided by a shared SSL vs. a private one.

However, shared SSLs create numerous changes in the online shopping experience, first and foremost the redirecting of customers away from the retailer to a potentially unknown, third-party website for payment. This approach can create trust issues for customers, leading them to abandon purchases and buy from another retailer that they view as more secure. So, while retailers may indeed be taking all of the necessary security measures to ensure customer transactions are safe, the “perception” of risk created by shared SSLs can translate to very real business risks for retailers.

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