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October 29, 2010

Website Trust Marks: What They Are and How They Work?

Trustmarks are the images or logos that retailers can place on their websites to show that they have passed various security and privacy tests, and reassure customers that it is safe to shop on the site.

Believe it or not, but in the U.S., two-thirds of consumers now shop online, according to Yankee Group Research, which recently released a report that discusses the importance of trust marks to web merchants and their customers.

Clearly, online commerce is big business and trust marks are very critical to consumers who need assurances that they are dealing with a reputable website. It’s important for sellers to promote security because we all know cybercriminals and online fraudsters find it relatively easy to steal personal and financial data from consumers and merchants.

Trust marks, often displayed on a home page or the checkout page, can indicate a range of things, including whether or not the website uses certain encryption technology; if the business is accredited; or how thoroughly, if at all, the website is scanned for vulnerabilities that could be exploited to steal data and identity information from customers.

There is also the risk that displaying too many security logos and reassurances can be counter-productive. Check out this basket page from a website - there are 11 mentions of security, including five logos.

The intention to offer lots of reassurance is a good one, but it may have customers wondering why the retailer is so keen to reassure them.

Some very well known retailers aren't bothering with these Trustmark, and it doesn't seem to be doing them any harm. I couldn't spot any Trustmarks on, though the 'sign in using our secure server' wording on the Amazon call to action does offer reassurance:

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