One of the Best Ways to Get Your Website Shopper-Ready
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of November, plus the upcoming holiday season, your business has many big revenue opportunities just around the corner.
Because major companies have large budgets to spend on marketing their websites, it’s important for smaller businesses to find every edge they can to entice customers. There’s no reason why giants like Amazon should have all the profits. Everyone can get a lucrative piece of the pie if they play their cards right.
Of course, it’s essential that you have a good-looking website, appealing products, and a smooth buying experience. But let’s look at something else you can do to get your website ready for the upcoming shopping bonanzas—installing an SSL Certificate.
SSL In a Nutshell
For those of you who don’t already know, Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is about encryption security. It shows up as the padlock icon and ‘https//’ you see in browsers when you type in a domain name. HTTPS is the abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
When you activate an SSL Certificate on your website, it kicks in to encrypt the connection between the web server and the client, i.e. your website and the person accessing it. Encryption makes sure the information traveling between these two points is scrambled so that only the endpoints can access the data.
What it all boils down to is data protection.
The All-Important Trust Factor
The first reason HTTPS data protection matters so much is because it lets people know they’re safe when shopping on a website. Their phone number, email address, credit card number, and other private details are protected by encryption. Criminal hackers and other shady types can’t step in to steal their information, so customers can shop away with confidence.
Then there’s the trust factor that comes with validation—the identity confirmation checks that a Certificate Authority (CA) performs before issuing an SSL. There are a number of different kinds of SSL Certificates, but essentially they fall under three validation (authentication) levels:
- Domain Validation (DV) – the CA checks that you have admin access to the registered website domain. They verify the domain is legitimate. This check takes 15 minutes or less.
- Organization Validation (OV) – the CA verifies your domain and your business. This way customers know you have an officially registered, legitimate company. The check takes 2 days or less.
- Extended Validation (EV) – the CA verifies all the above details, but they also check to make sure your company can be found in a public listing. This type of SSL is used by most of the e-comm giants because it tells the world that a company is strongly established. It takes around 7 to 10 days.
Things are changing in how these validation levels can be seen in browsers. For example, Extended Validation used to be clearly seen in browsers as a green bar with the company name. Nowadays, some browsers show a grey bar, while in others the company name may not be seen unless you click the browser padlock icon.
The main thing to understand is that an SSL validation level can be verified in browsers one way or another. And you’ll also get a site seal from the Certificate Authority when they issue your SSL, letting shoppers know they’re safe.
All SSL Certificates offer the same encryption. But the reason e-commerce companies tend to choose OV or EV SSL Certificates is they give customers peace of mind. These types of SSL reassure people that they’re dealing with a legitimate company, not a fly-by-night popup. After all, if something goes wrong with a purchase, for whatever reason, customers want to know they can make contact and be treated fairly.
Regulations for Accepting Credit Cards
PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. A Council enforces these security standards for anyone accepting payments from the major credit card brands. So if you have an e-commerce site that wants to let customers pay for your goods using American Express, for example, it will be mandatory for you to be PCI compliant. Having your site protected by an SSL Certificate is one of the compliance requirements.
When people shop like crazy in the runup to the holidays, it’s normal for their bank accounts to get strained. They’ll be wanting to even the load using at least one credit card. So you’ll be missing out on significant sales if you’re not allowing credit card payments.
Getting Found by Shoppers
Since 2017, Google has been flagging any site that doesn’t have SSL encryption protection as ‘Not Secure’. That’s the last thing you want an eager shopper to see when they click on your site, right?
As if that weren’t enough, Google also tends to rank unprotected websites lower than those that do have SSL encryption. While the drop in your search ranking won’t be in the double digits, if you’re a smaller business competing with e-comm giants, you’ll want every advantage you can get. Even a small loss of sales, because your site is lower down on the search page, is not something to shrug off. Especially considering how much marketing budget larger retailers have to rank high in searches with pay-per-click ads.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday period give retailers a major portion of their annual profits. If you’re a smaller business wanting to get your piece of the pie, prepare your website to be as shopper-ready as possible.
An SSL Certificate gives you a boost in customer trust, helps with PCI compliance so you can accept major credit card brands, and keeps Google happy in search results.
A survey by GlobalSign back in 2014 found that 85% of web users said they wouldn’t buy through a website where they weren’t certain their data was being transferred securely. That figure must be close to 100% now because people are much more savvy about online security risks than they were a couple of years ago.
So it comes down to a simple formula: SSL = customer protection and trust = more buying on your website. A no-brainer, really.