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 sceptical. 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 don't panic! With a few tips and tricks, the question of security can be solved in no time and customer confidence restored. If you want to appear authentic to your 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 shops that do not use SSL encryption are making a fatal mistake. Many customers now pay meticulous attention to the fact that SSL encryption is in place.

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

The use of SSL encryption is also an absolute must-have for companies that want to be ranked as high as possible by Google. 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 a website is secured by SSL encryption? It's quite simple: There is a lock to the left of the address bar. If the lock is closed, the website uses SSL encryption. However, if the lock is open, security cannot be guaranteed. Setting up SSL encryption is really not very difficult. From the CA Securtity Council an authorised certificate is selected and set up - done! Online shops without SSL encryption should waste no time and get it as soon as possible.

If no secure data transmission can 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 25 May.

The new DSK resolution, which was passed on 23 March by the independent data protection authorities of the federal and state governments, additionally states that online retailers may not pass on their customers' email addresses without permission. However, in contrast to the new GDPR, the DSK decision is only a legally non-binding instruction. However, caution is still advisable here. 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 to send data securely over the internet. However, data is not transmitted to the customer as with SSL encryption, but internally within the company. If the online merchant wants to be on the safe side, he should definitely add VPN to his additional security measures. The reason for this is that the online shop's data must also be transmitted 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 online shopping. Online traders should make sure that they can offer this to the customer. Many potential customers make sure that the online shop can provide references before they order there. An example of this is the Trusted Shops seal of approval. It gives customers orientation and shows them which shops they can shop at without any problems and where their data is safe. Thus, network security is definitely a given. In addition, Trusted Shops ratings can strengthen customers' trust and positively influence their purchase decision.

4. Create trust through transparency

This point should definitely not be missing when it comes to the topic of network security. Customers increasingly want transparency and, above all, they want to know what is happening with their data and what the company needs it for. The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) further 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 trade, because the customer would prefer to be informed about every step of his order.

How online retailers can create the transparency they need for their customers:

  • Provide transparent shipping communication, 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 several shipping service providers and disclosure of the respective service provider suitable for the product
  • .
  • Monitoring of the shipping route through Track & Trace pages
  • Enable customer to change delivery date, delivery location (neighbourhood delivery, delivery to parcel shop etc.)
  • .
  • High accessibility of customer service as well as qualified advice and assistance in case of problems
  • .

Through increased transparency, the online retailer can usually register many advantages. High return rates can be reduced and customer satisfaction and loyalty increase automatically. Therefore, customer communication should not be left to a third party, but should be handled by the company itself.

Everything important about the GDPR in connection with transaction-based customer communication can also be read in the free white paper on the current and red-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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