Conversion Wednesday: Security and Confidence

By Dan G


Every site has their own security and confidence logos to instill a sigh of “relief” when their shoppers reach the checkout area on their site. But how much do these logos really help conversion rates? And do some work better than others?

This is but a small part of achieving an effective combination of trust, convenience and relevance on your website. The shopper wants to be ensured that their’s no chance of being cheated or given the run-around after placing their order. They want to know that there is absolutely no chance of a security leak happening when they input their credit card information on your website. Some research done by the London-based TNS PLC in April 2005 found that 75 percent of online shoppers surveyed say that they have abandoned a retail site due to just security concerns alone.

SSL security logos add a perceived level of credibility. Further findings from the TNS PLC study found that, “when those customers who admitted to site abandonment were questioned further, 90 percent said they would have gone ahead with the sale if they had seen a recognizable security marker.” In addition, a January 2006 report from IBM showed that “70 percent of consumers would only shop at websites with a recognized security protection seal.” [Adventurecentral/, October, 2006]

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The range of conversion improvement achieved through the use of SSL security logos like GeoTrust, Verisign and Hacker Safe fluctuates among ecommerce websites with average gains between 5 percent to 10 percent. An article by Internet Retailer (March 2006 issue) titled, “Hand-holding: Fraud-weary consumers look for the seal of approval”, by Lauri Giesen stated, “Small, unknown companies typically experience even higher conversion rates because consumers are more likely to be fearful of shopping with them since they don’t know if some of them are legitimate businesses—let alone have confidence in their security systems.”

In the same article, Ken Leonard, CEO of ScanAlert, the company that sells the Hacker Safe product, explains, “Most of those recognized companies will see single-digit increases while the small, lesser known companies will see double-digit increases, in some cases as much as 30 percent.”

So what can we do?

There is little question that presenting a security logo adds perceived credibility to an ecommerce website. However, from a perspective of website conversion improvement, presenting a security logo is only a small piece to an overall credibility-building strategy. Building trust effectively with customers that results in increased conversions requires these additional steps:

  • Placement and size of a security logo directly affects the potential improvement of the website’s conversion rate.
    We recently performed a test for one of our clients that tested the Verisign, Better-BusinessBureau, BizRate, and a generic security logo against one another and found some surprising results.
    It is important to understand the implications of this test and to consider how to test security logo placement on your website. Placing a security logo in a prominent position, such as the top left corner underneath your company’s logo, may generate higher awareness and translate into stronger conversion improvement.

  • In Addition, Adding your physical address, phone number and other components like pictures of your staff and offices to add a “physical presence” to your virtual store can also help.
  • Adding testimonials and third-party endorsements like recognized magazines, industry experts and associations can add credibility to your site as well.
  • Avoiding spell-check, formatting and design errors, is another obvious one. Customers are familiar with the professionalism communicated in the proper design and content presented by trusted websites like Experiencing “laziness” errors like misspellings or content that seeps across tables is perceived as unprofessional and hurts the site’s credibility.
  • And of course, Designing your website for ease of use and convenience. If you create a positive customer experience leading up to the checkout process. Customers who are motivated to purchase and who have gained a reasonable level of trust with your website may not be put off by a limited display of security logos.

As the ecommerce marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, individual businesses face greater challenges proving their credibility. Adding security logos and using private SSL are proven ways to increase conversion.

However, the cost-benefit varies drastically by variables beyond simply plopping a security logo on your website. The entire context of your website and, more importantly, the entire customer experience directly affects the conversion gains realized with a security logo. As with all conversion efforts, test, test and test your way towards finding the most effective balance for achieving high performance.

Testing out few varying combinations and locations of Security/Confidence Logos on your site in an AB or Multivariate test is the only way of determining the best combination and location for those logos on your website with any certainty. That’s where we can help.

Exclusive Concepts offers a full service testing option for our clients called Conversion Booster. Through the program, we will do the work for you in analyzing your site’s data, coming up with solutions that reflect that data, and testing those solutions with an AB or Multivariate test to maximize your increase in conversion rates. One or several of which could simply be by moving or switching out the security/confidence logos. Every idea will be conceived by thorough analysis and every hypothesis will be tested to statistical significance. Give us a call at 1-800-504-4324 if you’re interested in learning more.

We would be honored to perform a free conversion audit on your qualified website today.