I’m looking to improve the close rate on my ecommerce site and have noticed that many successful online stores have various trust, security and hacker-proof seals and certifications. How do they work, which are worthwhile, and how much do they cost? Most importantly, will adding one of these actually improve my online sales?
I asked Scott Brandley, who specializes in website conversion strategies and solutions, this question and I think you’ll find his answer most illuminating…
Over 71% of online shoppers look specifically for third party seals of approval when they visit a website (based on a recent national survey conducted by Consumer Reports). The main benefit of third party seals is that they give instant visual feedback to potential buyers, allowing them to see at a glance whether a website is credible, safe, and trustworthy. This creates a win-win with improved buyer confidence and increased sales.
There are actually three types of trust seals that cover the main areas of website verification; they are Security Seals, Privacy Seals, and Business Identity Seals. In most cases, having all three types of Seals on your website will give you the best results.
Security Seals: Security Seals are the most popular type of verification. There are actually two different types; Server Verification and Site Verification. Server Verification services, like HackerSafe and ControlScan, perform daily scans on your hosting server, to check for server vulnerabilities or attacks. Site Verification services, like Trust Guard, verify the existing security of your website, to ensure that customers are protected under normal circumstances. As far as closing rates, Site Verification is generally as effective as Server Verification.
Business Identity Seals: According to the Consumer Reports survey mentioned above, recipients were also asked if they thought it was important to have access to an e-commerce website’s email address, street address, and phone number – a whopping 95% said yes! Business Identity Seal companies like the Better Business Bureau, Validated Site and Trust Guard, give you the ability to have your business address, phone, and email verified, thus giving your customers peace of mind in knowing that you are who you say you are.
How Much Do They Cost?
Below are some of the more popular companies on the market and their approximate price ranges.
|Hacker Safe Security (individual) Seal||$1,890/yr. and up|
|ControlScan Multi-Seal Package||$1,548/yr. and up|
|TRUSTe Privacy (individual) Seal||$599/yr. and up|
|Better Business Bureau (individual) Seal||$450/yr. and up|
|Trust Guard Multi-Seal Package||$297/yr.|
Do Trust Seals Actually Improve Sales?
It depends on what type of seals you’re using on your site (Security, Privacy, or Business Identity), and also what you are selling on your website. For example, a mortgage lead company would probably get the most benefit from a Privacy Seal, whereas a jewelry company may see a higher return with a Security Seal. As mentioned above, the best solution is to have all three Seals on your site whenever possible.
As far as actual increases, most companies don’t post their clients results, however, HackerSafe states that it has performed over 500 tests and has found that their customer’s sales typically improve by an average of 14%. Both Control Scan and Trust Guard have multiple testimonials showing increases, and Trust Guard actually guarantees a 15% improvement in sales.
The bottom line is that any type of reliable 3rd Party Seal is better than no Seal. If 71% of online users are actively looking for 3rd party Seals, what are they seeing when they visit your site?