Consumers are cautious about online security as they head into the holidays. But so far, merchants have been relatively complacent about reassuring shoppers. To correct the disparity, not only should sellers ensure their security protocols comply with industry standards, but they should be talking about security with their customers early and often.
In the past six months, a handful of leading brands – Newegg, Macy’s, and Adidas among them – reported consumer data breaches. This recent history, plus the tendency for omnichannel fraud attempts to spike by some 30% during the holidays, makes consumers understandably wary as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year. In 2017 62% of holiday shoppers said they were concerned about online shopping security, and 30% said they would avoid brands that had recently experienced breaches, Accenture found.
In response, merchants need to make online security a top priority. But for the most part, sellers seem content with the status quo; according to technology researcher Forrester, eCommerce checkout and payments made the list of top 2018 priorities for just 5% of merchants. And despite the growth of mobile shopping, just 17% of merchants report having a mobile-specific fraud prevention strategy, according to payment firm Braintree.
To step up security efforts for the holidays, merchants should:
- Ask vendors the right questions. Sellers should investigate whether their eCommerce and fulfillment platforms are level 1 PCI compliant across touchpoints (like Kibo’s) – including for mobile. The depth of third-party security integrations also deserves a close look. Available upgrades or updates should also be undertaken now to ensure any and all security patches are in place.
- Adopt best practices for customer-facing security features. Merchants should message data safety across touchpoints with third-party certifications and links to privacy statements, while implementation of alternative payment methods enables shoppers to skip entry of credit card information. Sellers should test mobile presentation to ensure messaging remains prominent on smaller screens, as it does for Kibo merchant Bluefly, whose mobile site highlights “secure checkout” with a padlock icon and prominently promotes alternative payments from the cart onwards.
- Proactively establish customer service channels for fraud claims. Merchants should incorporate language on the customer service section of their site about how to dispute charges and purchases. They should also have plans on standby for how to reach customers proactively in the event of a breach.
What steps are you taking to reassure shoppers about security this holiday season?