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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 18, 2009

NCSA: Security concerns drive shopping cart abandonment

Even in tough times when bargains are being sought by many, consumers are still wary of pouncing on a purchase if they have doubts about a site's online security. E-commerce sites that don't reassure consumers their personal data is secure are risking losing out on sales.

by Helen Leggatt

In what looks like another tough holiday season, online retailers need to do all they can to secure a sale. One area that many overlook is online security. Recent studies have shown that consumers are abandoning shopping carts if they feel their identities or personal information are at risk in the hands of a retailer.

A new poll by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec found that security concerns were behind 63% of online shoppers' decisions to terminate a purchase. In addition, 46% terminated a purchase because of worries about providing the information being requested, 41% were unhappy at the amount of information being asked of them and 32% were unsure as to how the data they provided would be used.

"Americans are extremely focused on protecting their personal information and their identities," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. "Skepticism is a front-line defense and it is heartening to see that Americans are actively engaged in making critical decisions when shopping online. This poll should alert online retailers that there is direct relationship between security and revenue."

Earlier this year a study released by McAfee found that around half of consumers have abandoned a shopping cart due to security fears. Even in an attempt to find a bargain, 63% will not make a purchase from a website that does not display a trust-mark or have a clear security policy.

"Online retailers who ignore the role security plays in converting digital window shoppers to customers are missing out on billions of dollars they can`t afford to lose in this economy," said Shane Keats, senior research analyst for McAfee.

As well as pushing security features in marketing, online retailers can also help reassure consumers by educating them about online security and actively promoting and displaying security policies at vital touch-points within their websites.

Tags: e-commerce, online retailer, online security, online shopping

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  • A timely post. But it’s worth remembering that customers’ perceptions about ‘security’ go a lot further than the appropriate trust symbols and alternate payment methods.

    Customers go through a range of emotions when making a purchase, from optimism, excitement, and the closer they get to the checkout, the more fear of remorse becomes an issue.

    Fear of remorse can be countered with a professional site, and payment range of methods, security certificates clearly help. But the ecommerce site’s returns policy, shipping charges and integrity are just as important.

    It’s worth also remembering that remarketing to website abandoners is VERY effective in boosting conversion rates. Since most sites don’t follow up at all, this gives the ecommerce team the chance to demonstrate their professionalism which helps to reassure the customer. The follow up offer can also offer alternate channels (such a phone, in store) and alternate payment methods (such as Paypal) which can help to drive the conversion.

    Following up abandoned shopping carts can be one of the most effective techniques to boost website conversion rates. Ecommerce teams have found that up to 50% of the abandoners can be converted with an optimized follow up email campaign. (There’s a free tool here you can use to find out how this would work in your environment here .



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