Building trust with customers is crucial for any e-commerce business. One way to help build trust is by displaying security seals on your website. Security seals are symbols or logos from trusted third parties that help provide assurances to customers about the security of your site. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at the benefits of using security seals, the different types of seals available, tips for effective placement on your site, and recommendations for the best security seal services for e-commerce businesses. With the right seals implemented properly, you can help reduce customer anxiety, instill confidence, and establish credibility for your online store.
The Importance of Building Trust in E-commerce
Trust is essential for conversions and sales in online stores. However, building trust can be difficult in e-commerce since customers cannot see or touch products in person. Some key statistics show the value of gaining customer trust:
- 81% of shoppers need to trust an e-commerce site before making a purchase (Source: Internet Retailer)
- 78% of online shoppers say guarantees around security make them more willing to shop on a site (Source: TRUSTe)
- Lack of trust in security is the top reason shoppers abandon online shopping carts (Source: Baymard Institute)
Without trust, customers will be hesitant to provide payment information or complete transactions on your site. Displaying security seals is one step you can take to alleviate concerns and demonstrate you run a safe, secure website.
How Security Seals Build Trust
Security seals build trust in several key ways:
- Social proof – Displaying recognizable seals from established providers leverages social proof. Customers trust these third parties and this trust is transferred to your site.
- Reducing uncertainty – Seals give customers confidence they will be safe making purchases on your store by reducing uncertainties about your credibility.
- Visual symbols – Seals serve as visual shorthand, signaling security without having to explicitly state it. Their logos are often recognizable at a glance.
- Reassuring anxious customers – Seals can alleviate fears and hesitations shoppers may feel about security issues like fraud or their privacy being compromised.
- Professional credibility – Seals indicate your site adheres to the security standards set by the seal provider, demonstrating your professionalism and legitimacy as a business.
By tapping into these elements, prominently displaying security seals can go a long way in building shopper trust.
Types of E-commerce Security Seals
There are a variety of security seals available for e-commerce sites. Some of the major types include:
Privacy seals affirm your site’s commitment to protecting user data and adhering to privacy laws and policies. Some popular privacy seals are:
- TRUSTe – Indicates compliance with TRUSTe standards for transparency, accountability and privacy choices.
- BBBOnLine Privacy Seal – Demonstrates adherence to Better Business Bureau privacy practices and compliance with EU Safe Harbor principles.
- Norton Secured Privacy Seal – Verifies your site allows users control over data sharing with third parties.
General security seals validate your site utilizes protections against threats like malware, phishing and compromised data. Some top security seals are:
- Norton Secured – Shows your site is proactively monitored and protected by Symantec.
- McAfee SECURE – Confirms your site has passed daily scans from McAfee and employs certified security safeguards.
- GeoTrust True Site Seal – Validates domain ownership and scans for malware from GeoTrust.
Shopping Guarantee Seals
Shopping guarantee seals focus specifically on protections for safe online shopping and financial transactions. Examples include:
- VeriSign Secured Seal – Verifies your checkout process is safeguarded and uses encryption.
- BBBOnLine Reliability Seal – Indicates your site adheres to BBB standards for honest advertising, data privacy and safe transactions.
- Comodo Secure Seal – Certifies your site is SSL encrypted and your shopping cart and transactions are secure.
Certified Quality Seals
These seals affirm overall business quality, safety and reliability standards. For example:
- BBB Accredited Business Seal – Shows your business meets BBB accreditation standards and has a satisfactory record with the BBB.
- Bizrate Circle of Excellence – Indicates your high customer satisfaction rating based on Bizrate’s survey data.
There are plenty of other specialized types of seals as well, such as age verification, site authentication, customer satisfaction, and chargeback prevention seals.
5 Tips for Effective Security Seal Placement
To maximize the impact of your security seals, follow these guidelines for effective placement on your e-commerce site:
1. Make seals visible – Place seals prominently in areas like your header or footer so they are easily noticed. Avoid burying them at the bottom of low-traffic pages.
2. Put seals near action areas – Position seals close to areas like your shopping cart, login, registration and checkout pages to alleviate security concerns right before the visitor takes action.
3. Use seals consistently – Display the same set of seals consistently across all key pages of your site to reinforce perceptions of security.
4. Link seals to certificate page – Make your seals clickable, linking to a certificate page that explains the meaning of each seal you display.
5. Maintain seal integrity – Only display seals from providers whose requirements you actively meet and keep seals up to date to maintain legitimacy.
Proper placement relies on understanding user behavior and anxiety points on your site. Conduct user tests to optimize seal positions for maximum impact.
Top Security Seal Services for E-commerce
Hundreds of security seal programs and providers exist. Focus on services that are well-recognized, reputable, affordable and easy to implement. Here are top recommendations:
Norton Secured Seal
- Cost: Starting at $149/year
- Key benefit: Synonymous with security and from a top cybersecurity brand
- Best for: Maximizing trust and social proof
McAfee SECURE Seal
- Cost: Starting at $399/year
- Key benefit: Rigorous security scanning and malware monitoring
- Best for: Demonstrating security compliance and best practices
BBBOnLine Reliability & Privacy Seals
- Cost: $219/year for reliability seal; $220/year for privacy seal
- Key benefit: Endorsement from highly recognizable BBB brand
- Best for: Boosting overall credibility and privacy trust
Comodo Secure Seal
- Cost: Starting at $49.99/year for single domain
- Key benefit: SSL security focus ideal for e-commerce
- Best for: Shopping cart and transaction security specifically
TRUSTe Privacy Seal
- Cost: Fees start at $499/year
- Key benefit: Global privacy compliance standards like EU GDPR
One strategy is to display a combination of well-rounded general security seals (e.g. Norton Secured, McAfee SECURE) along with specialized seals tailored to privacy, transactions or quality as needed.
Verifying Seal Providers
Since seals are designed to build customer trust, it’s essential to vet seal providers carefully for legitimacy before utilizing their services. Here are tips for verification:
- Check for how long they have been in business and their reputation online. Long-running, well-reviewed providers are ideal.
- Confirm they use recognized trust marks and certificates from established security standards organizations.
- Review requirements for attaining their seal. Providers with more rigorous requirements typically offer more meaningful seals.
- Verify any claims they make about third party validation or endorsements.
- Search their brand name along with terms like “scam”, “fake” or “complaint” to uncover any controversies.
- Try contacting their customer service team with questions to assess their responsiveness and quality of service.
Only work with seal programs you can thoroughly verify, not unknown or suspicious providers making unrealistic claims. Checking for testimonials from reputable brands using their seals can also help lend legitimacy.
Optimizing Multiple Seals
Displaying too many security seals can sometimes have diminishing returns or even raise doubts. Here are tips for balancing and optimizing multiple seals:
- Limit yourself to 2-4 of the most recognizable, credible seals to avoid overloading customers.
- Vary the types of seals (general security, privacy, transactions, quality) to convey broader assurances.
- Make sure seals reinforce (rather than dilute) each other’s value. Don’t display both Norton and McAfee seals for example.
- Rotate less important seals occasionally if you want to display more than 4 seals without overwhelming customers.
- If multiple seals become visually cluttered, try consolidating into an organized trust mark menu linking to certifications.
- Test different seal combinations with users to identify the versions that look most natural and impactful.
The right seal mix depends on your unique business and the specific trust issues you aim to address. Test iterations to determine the ideal security seal strategy for your site and customers.
FAQs About Security Seals
Some frequently asked questions about using trust seals for e-commerce sites:
Do security seals guarantee safety?
No. Seals do not guarantee security but display adherence to standards set by the seal provider. Customers should still practice caution online.
Are seals required for e-commerce sites?
Seals are optional, but highly recommended as an industry best practice for building shopper confidence and trust.
Is displaying seals sufficient for security?
No. Seals complement but do not replace comprehensive technical security protections like SSL certificates, firewalls, malware scanning and data encryption.
Can my site display seals if it has never been hacked?
Yes. Seals indicate proactive security protections, not just an absence of breaches. Even sites not yet hacked should display seals to reassure customers.
Should I display seals on product/category pages too?
Seals on key pages are ideal, but avoid overly promotional usage like on every product description. Moderation is key for credibility.
What if my site fails to renew a seal subscription?
Immediately remove expired seals. Customers notice lapses, which damages trust and professional credibility.
Earning customer trust is imperative for e-commerce success. Displaying prominent security seals from trusted providers is a simple yet effective strategy for websites to demonstrate credibility and alleviate shopper concerns. With a proper understanding of how to implement seals legitimately and effectively, online businesses can tap into the power of security seals to reduce anxiety and build confidence with customers to help drive more conversions.