Prudence: Safety First
As important as easy and quick shopping is safe shopping. Safety comes in two flavors: credit card security and personal privacy.
Remember when the web promised to level the playing field of commerce? Anyone could set up an e-commerce site that for practical purposes looked as credible as a big e-tailer. That's the beauty of the Net. But when it comes to concerns about credit card security and personal privacy, consumers want to know how secure their private information is, how it's being used, and whether their credit card is at risk when punched into an order form and sent flying through cyberspace.
A certain amount of trust must be established between you and your shoppers. They trust that you've taken the best measures possible to protect their credit card and personal information. Even so, you need to inform shoppers that you're concerned for their security and privacy. People are concerned that their personal informationeven their identityhas been compromised on the Net. You have to make it very clear that your site is safe for credit cards, and the personal information collected in the course of the order is protected.
Here are some more privacy pointers to keep in mind:
If you're planning to use a customer's data for marketing purposes, give the customer the choice to participate or opt out. Don't automatically subscribe a visitor to your newsletter or send email promotions without asking permission first. Have the user choose to opt-in to any ongoing communications with your company. This means keeping the "Would you like further information from our company?" box unchecked and have the customer or visitor manually check the box himself. Then give him or her the option to easily opt-out later.
State that any and all information you keep on your customers is kept secure and that no other party has access to it. If you're keeping personal credit histories and credit card numbers on file, how are those numbers being protected from hackers?