‘Tis the Season for Online Shopping

internet safety

Ho-ho-holiday Shopping at Your Fingertips

If there’s one thing I’m very good at, it’s maneuvering around the world wide web and shopping to my heart’s content. In one hour, I can be done with holiday shopping sans the hassle of dealing with (road and pedestrian) traffic, all from the comfort of my own house. Even better, now thanks to responsive web design, I can pretty much shop from my cell phone or tablet without having to break out the Big Boy (my affectionate name for my MacBook Air). You bet this crazy holiday season will find me online shopping for everything, and I’m not the only one…

According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, the average shopper plans to do 44% of their holiday shopping online this season. This is the most in the survey’s history. If they aren’t shopping online, you can bet that a good amount of them are researching products online first, and then going to their brick and mortar store to make the final purchase.

As you may know, mobile has seen a huge growth in use and scope and majority of mobile owners plan to use their device for shopping and researching items and prices this holiday season. Google has noticed this growth in mobile use and recently rolled out a change that puts an emphasis on responsive web design in search results for mobile users. When consumers turn to their hand-held devices for shopping, sites that are mobile-friendly will be indicated by a “mobile-friendly” notation. Meaning that if your site isn’t made for mobile use in addition to desktop/laptop and tablet, then there is a chance that you can be losing out on some of that holiday traffic. For those of you that still do not have a easy-to-use mobile friendly site, take note that one-quarter of shoppers say it is an important factor in their decision to shop with a retailer.

According to the 2014 eHoliday study, retailers have been investing in mobile-optimized websites, cross-selling, re-marketing, paid search and reviews. All this is being done as the holiday season contributes to retailers’ yearly revenue by – at the most  – 24% (according to the MailChimp 2014 Holiday survey).

With all of this being said, it is of the upmost importance that your website is secure and optimized for online transactions. Below are some tips for ensuring that your website and customers are protected when shopping on your site.

Stay Secure and Warm with an SSL

By implementing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) authentication for web and data, it helps protect you and your customers from keeping their information vulnerable. SSL certificates are a must for transactions and ensures that no one can intercept credit card information. Note that before your eCommerce site can accept credit/debit card transactions, they must pass PCI compliance testing and having an SSL is one part of the puzzle.

Layer, Layer, Layer.

Bundle up with authentication and security layers.  Include firewalls, as these stop attackers before they can breach a network and access information.

Forget your password or username when logging into a frequently visited site? It happens. In order to reset that password or have a username sent to a user, you should make sure that your website has authentication layers set up. These authentication layers consists of CAPTCHAs and security questions that need to be answered before you provide lost or updated information.

When it comes time for checkout on your site, utilize an address and card verification system. This helps in reducing fraudulent charges and provides peace of mind to your customers by showcasing that their information is safe and “locked behind closed doors.”

Sensitive Data is a Don’t!

According to Chris Pogue, Director of Digital Forensics and Incident Response at Trustwave,  there is no reason to store customers’ records, especially credit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV codes. This is also forbidden by the PCI.

It is Pogue’s recommendation that you only store a minimal amount of data, just enough for charge-backs and refunds as a breach outweighs the convenience customers experience at checkout.

Strong Passwords are a MUST.

When it comes time for site users to create a password, require a minimum use of symbols, numbers and at least one uppercase letter. Complex passwords make it harder to gain access to an account and add to the security of a user’s account.

As Always, Keep Your Eye On The Prize {AKA Your Website}

Frequently monitor your site for needed website updates and update everything when a new version is released. This is speaking to everything from your web server and software to any third-party plugin you are utilizing. These updates can help protect against security breaches, design defaults, and other technical issues. Before you make any of these updates though, please be sure you make a backup of your website. If you are unsure of how to do so, reach out to whoever assisted you in the creation of your website as they should be able to help.


About Findsome & Winmore

Findsome & Winmore is a Classic Digital Marketing Agency, located in Orlando, FL. We specialize in helping clients find and win customers through social media marketing, web development, mobile app creation, and branding.

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