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Six Key Strategies To Boost E-Commerce Sales This Holiday Season

In the world of e-commerce, cybersecurity, trust and sales are all interrelated, each influencing the other. The more trust indicators you display on your website, the more trust you gain, and the more trust you gain, the more sales you win.

Consumers are willing to spend more during the winter holidays than at other times of the year, and online shopping has grown rapidly over the last decade. In fact, a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation revealed that 56% of US consumers expect to do some or all of their holiday shopping online this year, while 44% plan to do all of their holiday purchases online. Additionally, 25% of respondents reported that a mobile-ready website was an important factor when they were deciding where to shop online. Savvy retailers are turning these consumer habits into an opportunity, creating a secure and positive purchasing experience both online and on mobile devices.

It’s important to also keep in mind that, with so many people making purchases online at one time, hackers and online criminals will also be upping their efforts to claim a portion of the holiday revenue. Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions and discounts are a great way to attract customers to your website. However, promotions alone are not enough to win sales. Online shoppers are smart and need reassurance throughout the purchase journey regarding information security before they are converted from visitor to buyer.

With the holidays around the corner, now is the time to review and evaluate your e-commerce strategy. A successful e-commerce strategy is comprehensive and includes strategies to combat cybersecurity threats.

Here are six key approaches you can implement today to manage perceptions of safety and security on your website and instantly establish trust and confidence in your business:

1) Have a strategy to protect your customers’ information and secure transactions

Consumers often look for cues to confirm the legitimacy and security of a website before making a purchase. Individuals are less likely to make a purchase if they fear for the safety of their personal data.

Seeing a trust mark, such as the Norton™ Secured Seal, sends the signal that the website is both safe and legitimate. Additionally, a green address bar with a padlock and a website address beginning with “https” further indicates that the website has been validated by strict website authentication guidelines. Seeing these cues eases uncertainty that may exist and helps strengthen consumer confidence in your business.

Adding a SSL certificate to your website will create these visual cues. By doing so you also establish a secure connection between you and your customers, ensuring that the information traveling between the customer and site is secured. You can protect your customer's entire website visit by deploying SSL on all your web pages, or Always-On SSL, which encrypts a visitors’ entire journey on your site and secures transactions.

Just remember, holiday online shopping doesn’t start on Black Friday or end on Cyber Monday, it extends weeks prior and weeks after, so make sure your SSL certificate remains valid or make arrangements to make sure you are not caught with an expired SSL certificate this holiday season.

In addition—if you haven’t already—consider upgrading to Extended Validation SSL, which turns a site visitor’s address bar green and improves your credibility.

2) Reassure customers with a shopping guarantee

Buyers are not only looking to stay safe online but also are searching for great deals during the holidays. You can increase your chances of winning a sale by offering a price guarantee. Shopping guarantees are designed to increase merchant profitability and buyer satisfaction. The Norton Shopping Guarantee is comprehensive and provides buyers with three important security reassurances: protection from identity theft, terms of sale breaches, and that they are being guaranteed the lowest price.

3) Have a strategy to help customers find you online

It is imperative to implement a solid SEO strategy in order to maximize the chances of being found online. There is no doubt that companies that understand this tend to do well, but perhaps what you didn’t know is that secure websites rank higher in search results. In fact, Google recently announced that switching to an ‘https’ website will actually improve your search engine ranking. Consequently, Always-On SSL is agreed to become the new standard for trustworthy websites. In addition to Google rewarding secure websites with higher search rankings, if a website appears unsecure Google will display warning signs to visitors.

So, if your SSL certificates are expired, or if Google discovers malware hidden by hackers on your site, visitors are going to receive warning signs. To ensure your website stays off search engine blacklists this holiday, make sure your SSL certificates are up to date and that your site has been scanned for vulnerabilities and malware.

4) Have a strategy to safeguard your website from an attack

Take prevention steps to guard your website from attacks. According to Symantec’s 2014 Internet Threat Security report, 77% of legitimate websites have exploitable vulnerabilities. You may not even know it, and your website could be the unwitting distributor of malware. To avoid this, regularly scan and update your web servers and website software. Additionally, Symantec reported that over two-thirds of websites used to distribute malware were in fact legitimate, compromised websites.

Symantec website security solutions go beyond SSL certificates, to include complimentary malware scanning and vulnerability assessment to help identify any exploitable weaknesses on your website so you can take immediate action.

5) Test and optimize the placement of your trust logos

Trust marks are an important means of increasing confidence. They inspire trust, drive conversions and can even increase revenue per customer. They have also shown to have a positive effect during purchase checkouts. In an international online consumer study conducted last year, 90% of respondents reported being likely to continue an online purchase when they see the Norton™ Secured Seal during the checkout process, more than other seals or no seal displayed.

However, it’s not enough to display trust marks, it’s critical to place them in strategic areas on your website. Start testing and optimizing now, so you can reap the most benefits during the holiday shopping peaks. The Norton™ Secured Seal comes complimentary with the purchase of an SSL certificate. So, if you already have a Symantec SSL certificate, you can display the Norton™ Secured Seal.

6) Have a security and e-commerce strategy that supports mobile

According to Google, this year consumers will be more connected than ever. They also expect a rise in the number of consumers using their mobile devices to make holiday purchases. Since tablets and smartphones are often used to shop online, make it easy for your visitors to buy from mobile devices.

By providing security, efficiency, availability, and tailoring your website to the needs of your customers you are more likely to succeed. Thus, website security is not a standalone activity. It ties directly to your overall e-commerce marketing strategy and to how you attract customers and drive conversions. The advantages are great and online retailers simply can’t afford being caught without a solid security strategy this holiday season!