Network security: How online retailers gain the trust of their customers

Network security: How online retailers gain the trust of their customers
Published on: Jul 21, 2018
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

In 2015, hackers managed to steal more than 37 million data records from the dating platform Ashley Madison. The company suffered heavy financial losses as a result, and customers understandably feared for their anonymity online and the trouble that would await them at home. So it is not uncommon for thieves and hackers to sneak into the data banks of well-known companies and steal important, personal data.

For this reason, the topic of network security is a very explosive and sensitive issue for many customers. It increasingly presents online retailers with the challenge of ensuring secure shopping for their customers. Many people no longer order online for fear of data theft or are increasingly skeptical. According to the study "Einkaufswelten 2017" 84 percent of customers fear for their security online.

Image Many users are increasingly afraid of data theft on the net

But do not panic! With a few tips and tricks, the issue of security can be resolved in no time at all and customer confidence restored. If you want to appear authentic to customers, you should definitely follow these 4 security tips. Additional features, such as rating options, an informative FAQ page or clear contact information can additionally strengthen customer trust.

1. SSL encryption is an absolute must


Online stores that do not rely on SSL encryption are making a fatal mistake. Many customers now pay meticulous attention to the fact that SSL encryption is in place.

[tooltip title="" color="blue"]The abbreviation SSL stands for  "Secure Sockets Layer" and refers to a network protocol for secure data transmission.[/tooltip]

Also for companies that want to be ranked best possible by Google, the use of SSL encryption is an absolute must-have. Thus, all websites that cannot use SSL encryption are classified as insecure by Google. The web browser Google Chrome even explicitly identifies websites without SSL encryption as insecure.

Image Google Chrome shows websites without SSL encryption as insecure

How can you tell if the website is secured by SSL encryption? It is quite simple: On the left side of the address bar there is a lock. If this is closed, the website uses SSL encryption. However, if the lock is open, security cannot be guaranteed. Setting up SSL encryption is truly not very difficult. From the CA Securtity Council an authorized certificate is selected and set up - done! Online stores without SSL encryption should waste no time and get it as soon as possible.

After all, if secure data transmission cannot be guaranteed and customer data is lost, the company may have to face heavy fines. This is also stipulated in the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on May 25.

The new DSK resolution, which was passed by the independent federal and state data protection authorities on March 23, additionally states that online retailers may not share their customers' email addresses without permission. However, unlike the new GDPR, the DSK resolution is only a legally non-binding instruction. However, caution is still advised here as well. If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to handle the communication with the customer yourself.

2. Use VPN for secure data transmission

A  "virtual private network" (VPN) offers the possibility of sending data securely over the Internet. However, in this case, data is not transmitted to the customer as with SSL encryption, but internally within the company. If the online retailer wants to play it safe, he should definitely add VPN to his additional security measures. The reason for this is that the online store's data must also be transferred to other internal locations, such as merchandise management or accounting. A VPN connection is indispensable for this. However, it must be able to ensure authenticity, confidentiality and integrity under all circumstances.

3. Rely on certificates and seals of approval

Certificates and seals of approval stand for secure shopping online. Online retailers should make sure that they can offer this to the customer. Many potential customers pay attention to the fact that the online store can show references before they order there. One example of this is the Trusted Shops seal of approval. It gives customers an orientation and shows them which stores they can shop at without any problems and where their data is safe. Thus the net security is given in any case a piece. In addition, Trusted Shops ratings can strengthen the trust of customers and positively influence their purchase decision.

4. Creating trust through transparency

This point must not be missing in any case when it comes to the topic of network security. Customers increasingly want transparency and, above all, they want to know what happens to their data and what the company needs it for. The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) additionally supports this transparency for customers and gives them the opportunity to find out exactly what their data is used for. Transparency is especially necessary in online retail, because the customer would prefer to be informed about every step of his order.

This is how online retailers can create the transparency they need for their customers:

  • Provide transparent shipping communications, because customers like to know where their package is coming from, where their package is, and when it will arrive
  • .
  • Proactively inform the customer in case of delivery problems
  • .
  • Collaboration with multiple shipping service providers and disclosure of which service provider is appropriate for the product
  • .
  • Monitoring the shipping journey through track & trace pages
  • Enable customer to change delivery date, delivery location (neighborhood delivery, delivery to parcel store, etc.)
  • .
  • High accessibility of customer service and qualified advice and assistance in case of problems
  • .

Through increased transparency, the online retailer can usually record many advantages. High return rates can be lowered and customer satisfaction as well as loyalty increases automatically. For this reason, customer communication should not be left to a third party, but should be handled by the company itself.

Everything you need to know about the GDPR in connection with transaction-based customer communications can also be found in the free white paper on this hot topic.

By adhering to these 4 security tips, nothing can go wrong when shopping online and the trust of customers is assured for the online retailer. This, of course, automatically increases customer loyalty and satisfaction.

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