For any website that sells a product or service–whether it be a physical good or an email newsletter–there are two primary ways to increase transaction volume.
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Getting all the traffic in the world doesn’t really matter if you can’t convert on that traffic.
There are a number of ways to increase your conversion rate:
Another opportunity to increase conversions involves putting a “trust badge” on a checkout page. This passes trust to the customer that the checkout process is safe and secure.
As online fraud rises, it’s important for customers to feel secure. Statistics highlighting the rise of online fraud as a problem to e-commerce sites include:
Many “trust badges” are associated with SSL, or secure sockets layer. The details of how these certificates work gets a bit complex, but it essentially creates a secure connection for information (e.g., credit card numbers) to be transmitted.
In order for them to have any significance, the badges that have become common at online checkouts must have some security features behind them.
Trust badges are issued alongside the purchase of a SSL certificate. Adding a trust badge to your website, ensures to your visitor that your website is HTTPS.
There are two general types of SSLs: standard and extended validation (EV) SSL certificates. The differences are pretty minor; EV certificates require a bit more administrative effort to check out some additional information about the domains, so they will cost a bit more.
Some badges–including some well-known brands–are not really indicative of any technical security features, but rather an indication of trust from a third party. The Better Business Bureau seal is a good example here; the BBB doesn’t enhance the technical security features of a site, but does indicate that the business has been examined and deemed to be trustworthy by a third party. Other “trust seals” include TRUSTe.
Not only are trust badges important on checkout pages for conversions, but they are also important for search engine optimization. Google has implemented a “not secure” tag on any websites that use http.
ActualInsights.com has some interesting results from a study they ran a few years back in which they asked consumers questions about the recognition and trust of a number of different badges:
Below is a heatmap showing which trust badges were recognized (which is very similar to another illustration showing which badges were trusted):
Though this study didn’t have a huge sample size, it jives with the experiences of the Web-savvy crowd who is used to seeing certain badges on the most popular e-commerce sites.
Another survey from the Baymard Institute found that Norton led the way followed by McAfee.
Beyond the studies mentioned above, there is a significant amount of evidence to show that trust badges have a positive impact on a site’s conversion rate and revenue. (It’s nice if there’s some actual security behind the badge as well, though that might not matter all that much.)
These badges make consumers feel better about giving their credit card information to an unfamiliar website, which generally results in a higher rate among new customers. These badges can also impact the average order value, indicating that customers feel better about placing larger orders with sites they trust.
The impact on returning visitors is generally minimal, since they are more likely to trust the site already.
Below are overviews of five badges that can be used as part of a test to boost e-commerce conversion rates, along with any case studies indicating success. (As noted below, many of the case studies are prepared by the companies themselves–which somewhat diminishes their usefulness.)
What It Is: Symantec acquired VeriSign in 2010, consolidating two Internet security heavyweights. In addition to numerous other security products, the company offers standard and EV SSLs.
Case Studies: There are a number of case studies highlighting the benefits of adding VeriSign or Symantec SSLs:
Price: Standard SSL certificates cost $399 per year while an EV SSL will run you $995 (it gets more expensive if you’re registered outside of the U.S., Canada, Brazil, South Korea, India, or China). In other words, if you want one of the most recognized brands you’re going to pay a bit of a premium.
What It Is: Trust Lock is a relatively new company offering a competitively-priced trust seal that provides third-party verification services for a fraction of the price with over 108 high-quality trust seal designs.
Price: Monthly rate starts at just $9/mo for either Business Verified, Verified Privacy Safe, or Verified SSL Secure or get all 3 seals together for $19.99/mo. This ends up being only $108/year per seal, or only $239.88/year for all 3 verification seals and all 108+ badge designs and seals.
Although TrustLock seals may not be as widely recognized, the price is very affordable and seals are high quality. Learn more at TrustLock.co
What It Is: GoDaddy offers SSL certificates that come with a “Verified & Secured” badge.
Price: GoDaddy is one of the cheapest SSL providers out there: $69.99 per year for a standard SSL (domain validated, with a $100,000 warranty), $149.99 annually for their premium offering (domain and company validated, $1,000,000 warranty).
What It Is: TRUSTe offers a number of online security products, including a privacy package that includes a certification badge.
Price: Because TRUSTe offers more customized products and services, you’ll need to contact them with specifics of your site to get pricing information.
What It Is: Something you whip up on your own (or download) to give a sense of validation and legitimacy to your site.
It’s worth considering (and testing) the impact a “homemade” trust badge will have on conversion rates. For example, Visual Website Optimizer has a case study showing that a “100% Money Back Guarantee” badge resulted in a 32% increase in conversion rate. This example obviously doesn’t speak to the security of the transaction, but instead highlights one of the primary benefits of the service.
In another example, a badge awarded by a third party (but with no indication of enhanced security) similarly had a meaningful, positive impact on the conversion rate.
The list above is only partial; there are a number of other providers out there:
You can also get a free SSL through siteground and then add the trust badge of the online payment provider you are using.
A study from conversionxl found that mastercard, visa, paypal, norton and google were among the most recognized from 1046 survey respondents.
There are also a number of additional case studies that make the case for testing an SSL badge as a way to improve conversion rate and average order size:
Some website hosts, like Siteground, even include SSL certificates for free with Let’s Encrypt SSL. You will get a free SSL certificate, but you won’t get a trust badge to add to your checkout.
If you have an e-commerce site–or any page where you can potentially take money from visitors–adding the security (and, more importantly, perceived security) of a trust badge is probably worth investigating.
Odds are that a small image can have a meaningful impact on conversion rates, and help you generate more revenue from your existing traffic.
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