With payment security concerns often cited as a reason behind online shoppers abandoning their shopping carts, taking measures to instill trust and minimize perceived risk at the checkout can make a huge difference to your conversions.
But what exactly are these measures?
While there are tons of ways you can build trust on your online store, one of the best ways to achieve it is by using trust badges (also known as trust seals and trust logos).
In fact, these trust badges have been found to increase conversions by up to 18%.
Which raises the questions; what are trust seals?
Below, we've not only answered this question, but we've also detailed the different types of trust badges that can be used on your eCommerce store and listed some of the options available to you.
Let’s start with SSL certificates, as they are one of the most effective ways to secure your site.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) ensures that communication between a customer’s browser and the site they’re buying from – in this case your eCommerce store – is encrypted.
Now here’s the important part.
SSL is not a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.
Even if you were willing to risk the security of your site, lack of SSL protection is not something you can hide from potential customers.
In fact, any website visitor can easily tell whether a site is protected by SSL, as there will be https:// in the address bar, as opposed to the non-secure http:// URL. This in itself is a confirmed Google ranking factor, which is crucial for your eCommerce SEO efforts.
SSL protected sites will also have the recognizable padlock, although how this is displayed will differ depending on the SSL service and plan used (more on that in a later section).
That’s not all though.
Perhaps more importantly, sites without this website security seal will be flagged, with visitors alerted to the fact your site might not be secure – not ideal when you’re relying on financial transactions.
While you can read more on the technical side of SSL here, at its most basic level it signifies technical security. Following successful authentication, you will be issued an SSL certificate.
Now before we cover the SSL providers that can issue these certificates, it’s also worth acknowledging the different types of SSL certificates available as this will help you determine the most appropriate plan for your business.
Types of SSL Certificates
Extended Validation SSL (EV SSL)
Extended Validation (EV) is the highest form of SSL certification, as it requires a more thorough vetting process.
More specifically, an EV SSL certificate shows that the legal, physical and operational existence of the entity has been verified, along with verification that it matches official records and that the entity has exclusive rights to use the domain.
As a result, EV SSL protected sites come with more visible indicators of its certification and tend to instill more trust amongst potential customers.
While the display of this certificate will differ depending on the user’s browser, device and SSL provider, sites with an EV certificate will typically have their brand name displayed in the address bar, and in some cases, a more recognizable green padlock and/or a green address bar.
Organization Validated SSL (OV SSL)
Organization Validated SSL is another high assurance SSL certificate used by online retailers.
Despite still requiring a vetting process, it isn’t as thorough as it is for EV SSL authentication and is therefore recommended as being the lowest level certificate for sites enabling financial transactions.
In other words, as an eCommerce business, you should ideally be striving for EV or OV certification, which is something to be mindful of when comparing SSL providers and plans.
You should also keep in mind that if you’re a small business selling merchandise online, as opposed to a larger corporation, you may not meet the standards necessary for obtaining an Extended Validation certificate.
If this is the case, don’t worry at all.
OV SSL still provides a high enough level of security.
Domain Validated SSL (DV SSL)
Although not recommended for eCommerce sites, Domain Validated SSL Certificates are still fully supported by browsers and display the secure site seal.
SSL Certificate Providers
So, who are the best SSL certificate providers?
Below, we’ve listed some of the services worth researching.
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list, nor is it intended to compare all SSL providers on the market. Instead, we’ve detailed some of the options available to you, many of which are used by the largest eCommerce sites in the UK and US.
Trusted by the likes of ASOS, Currys, Amazon and Net-a-Porter, DigiCert is a popular choice for SSL certification amongst some of the leading online retailers, making it one worth considering.
To add to the company’s credibility, they acquired Symantec in 2017, one of the world’s leading website security providers, and more recently QuoVadis, an EU qualified trust service provider (TSP).
DigiCert specifically offers four different SSL options, ranging from their Standard SSL Certificate, suitable for single domains, right through to their Wildcard SSL Certificate, used by brands with multiple sites hosted across various subdomains.
The starting price for a DigiCert SSL Certificate is $198 a year, although this does decrease to $188 if you sign up for two years.
When it comes to recognizable trust seals, it’s worth noting that certain DigiCert plans come with the Norton Secured Seal, which has become one of the most recognizable and trusted logos amongst online shoppers.
Formerly Comodo CA, Sectigo is another leading SSL provider, with customer’s including Debenhams, Ted Baker and Phase Eight, Sectigo some of the UK’s leading retail brands.
Sectigo offers eight SSL plans – three of which are of Domain Validation level, three of Organization Validation level and two Extended Validation.
While you can learn more about these plans here, it’s worth keeping in mind that each certificate comes with the Secured by Sectigo trust seal, and the strongest possible SHA2 & ECC encryption.
Where the plans differ, however, is the average issuance time frame, the number of domains protected and the green SSL address bar.
GeoTrust offers seven different SSL certificates, from their basic $149 QuickSSL Premium plan, right through to their $745 QuickSSL Premium Wildcard, which offers encryption for all sub-domains with incredibly fast domain validation.
That said, even with their cheaper plans, most certificates are issued within 1-3 days, which is faster than some of the other SSL providers.
If you’re looking for the highest level of credibility possible, you may want to consider GeoTrust’s True BusinessID with EV, which provides you with the green address bar.
So, which retailers are already using GeoTrust?
Given their enterprise offering, it comes as no surprise that their customer base includes recognizable brands such as Swarovski, Cath Kidston, Tiffany, Sephora and even Sears.
GlobalSign is perhaps better suited for enterprise level businesses who are looking for a high level of support and service, with prices starting from $249 per year and their most expensive option currently costing $849 – not as cheap as some of the alternative SSL providers.
That said, if these prices aren’t putting you off, they’re certainly a credible option.
In fact, La Redoute, B&Q and Walmart all use GlobalSign’s SSL services.
While you can see their different plans here, as with many services, the way in which the SSL certificate displays will vary depending on which plan you opt for.
As an example, their ExtendedSSL option displays more prominent security indicators, such as displaying your organisation’s name in the address bar, just like B&Q’s website.
Despite being better known for its web hosting plans, GoDaddy also issues SSL certification, with brands such as homeware retailer Dunelm using its service.
In fact, with prices starting at £43.99 per year for its single protection plan and only £137.99 for its most expensive option, it is clearly one of the more affordable solutions on the market. That said, you should keep in mind that prices do appear to increase at the point of renewal.
With prices starting at $174 for their OV SSL Certificate, Entrust Datacard certainly isn’t the cheapest SSL certificate provider on the market, but it also isn’t the most expensive.
The company does, however, have a reputation for its performance and ease of use, with the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s both customers.
Perhaps one of the largest SSL providers on the market (they have more than 40% of the global market for SSL certificates), Thawte is certainly one worth researching.
It also helps that they are one of the more cost-effective options, with prices starting at $47 a year for their Thawte SSL 123 entry level certificate – rivaling GoDaddy’s cheapest SSL certificate – and only $414.54 for their SSL Web Server Multi-Domain Wildcard.
To add to their credibility, it’s worth noting that their customers include home & garden giant Homebase.
SSL seals are crucial, but they’re not the only type of trust seal you need to be using on your eCommerce site.
In fact, given that your customers won't actually have a technical understanding of SSL encryption, consideration should also be made to perceived security.
More specifically, there are a number of additional trust seals that have been found to reassure customers about the security of a site, even though they don't always represent the strictest security compliance - at least not as much as SSL seals.
That's not to say that these trust seals aren't necessary though.
After all, doubts amongst online shoppers extend beyond the security of a site, with many seeking reassurance that the eCommerce site in question is a real business and that they will protect their privacy.
This is why many of these seals can be thought of as checkout security badges:
Trust Guard’s website security service not only provides 24/7 protection from a security breach, but their recognizable trust seal has been found to increase online sales by up to 18%.
This security seal specifically checks for thousands of vulnerabilities that hackers can use to compromise your website. As soon as your site passes these vulnerability scans, you will be free to display the Trust Guard Security Scanned badge.
But that’s not the only trust seal that Trust Guard offers.
To start with, Trust Guard’s Privacy Safe badge demonstrates that your site complies with the standards of several privacy organisations, in turn reassuring potential customers that their information is safe.
In addition to this, Trust Guard Business Verified proves the legitimacy of your business.
With almost one in every five shopping carts abandoned due to lack of trust in a business, the McAfee SECURE Trustmark is another seal that has been found to eliminate concerns and boost eCommerce conversions.
So, how do you become a McAfee SECURE certified website?
To start with, your site is checked for malware, viruses and additional malicious website activity. Following this, you will be able to display their Trustmark, which signifies the security of your site.
What’s great about this particular trust seal is that you have the option to display the verification window and page in one of nineteen different languages. With their Pro plan, you can even configure the location.
In order to be certified by TRUSTe, a subsidiary of privacy compliance organisation TrustArc, businesses will go through multiple verification stages; the assessment phase and the remediation and certification phase, followed by ongoing monitoring and guidance.
Following successful completion of the first two phases, you will be issued a TRUSTe Privacy Certification Seal, which indicates that your website meets globally recognized privacy requirements.
Although TrustLock don’t offer website security validation, they do offer three distinct trust seals; Verified Business, Verified Safe Privacy and Verified SSL Secure.
In fact, their Verified Business and Safe Privacy seals work in a similar way to the likes of Trust Guard, with almost instant authentication demonstrating the legitimacy and privacy compliance of your eCommerce site.
Where they differ, however, is that they can provide additional verification of your SSL certificate.
So, there we have it.
A list of SSL certificate providers and trust seals, to help you maximize conversions on your eCommerce site.