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New trustmark for e-tailers as security drive continues

From 1 August 2013 eligible online retailers in the UK will be able to make use of a single trustmark programme, which aims to boost the confidence of European internet shoppers.

Over the last 15 months the UK’s e-tail trade association IMRG has combined its Internet Shopping is Safe (ISIS) scheme with the European-wide Trusted Shops programme, but from the start of August this trustmark will be one single entity and the ISIS logo will no longer be available.

Trusted Shops accreditation is issued to retailers that fulfil a code of conduct, and companies displaying the logo are effectively informing consumers that they have full buyer protection when conducting online transactions.

Benj Hosack, director of website security specialist Foregenix, calls the move “a great idea”, but he warns that the scheme may still be undermined if the websites that are using it do not protect their client data.  

“So as long as they are securely transacting online and this logo ensures that is the case, then this could be seen as a very positive step in the market,” he told Essential Retail.

The changes to the trustmark come at a time when security remains a key concern of the online shopping community. Research released in June showed overall satisfaction with online shopping experiences is on the rise, but consumers' are still anxious about security and customer service contact.

The eCustomerServiceIndex from eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that online retail user satisfaction reached an all-time high between July 2012 and January 2013, but security was one of the key areas cited as an area where e-retail compared unfavourably with the bricks and mortar shopping experience.

Hosack said his company carries out weekly investigations for businesses in the UK that have had their online presence hacked and customer data stolen, and suggested “the vast majority of the attacks originate from Eastern Europe, Asia and the US”. He cited a lack of security knowledge among smaller, mid-sized online retailers as a problem in the current e-retail landscape.

“[Retailers] need to be taking care of the security of their online presence as a first step because with a vulnerable website, they may be completely unaware that they are being attacked and losing their customer credit card data,” he noted.

“Obviously this stolen data then goes into circulation to increase the levels of fraud, so taking care of their own security is a great place to start.”

As the more mature eCommerce markets begin eyeing new avenues of growth there will inevitably be a greater number of retailers looking at European and international online retail expansion. It is perhaps here where the new Trusted Shops logo will play an important role.

Footwear retailer Schuh is one example of a company that has been on the growth trail in recent years. Since it was acquired by US retail giant Genesco in 2011, its store network has almost doubled and it now delivers to more than 20 European countries.

Sean McKee, head of eCommerce and customer services at footwear retailer Schuh, described the trustmark system as a “key way for us to gain instant trust with new customers” during international expansion. 

“Providing a safe and secure shopping environment for our customers is absolutely integral to what we do and the integrated trustmark is helping us provide that,” he added.

Trusted Shops says retailers’ conversion rates increase by an average of 23% when a trustmark is displayed, while average revenue reportedly rises by 7.5%.

It seems retailers have plenty of food for thought when it comes to maintaining and proving their cyber-security credentials.