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Imagine you’re shopping online. You’re about to spend a little too much money on that thing you’ve always wanted. You’ve found the best price on two websites and you’re ready to buy. The first website uses the same high-end security measures as some of the world’s best-known brands. It shows you a little padlock icon by the web address, and the address bar turns a nice secure green when you come to buy.

The second site, meanwhile... well, it doesn’t really have anything like that, since it doesn’t use an SSL. There’s nothing to tell you that the site’s owners actually care about your security. You’re spending a lot of money and transmitting your card details online to a complete stranger – so which site would you buy from?

 

Powerful visual cues like padlocks and green address bars influence consumer trust, and they’re achieved using an SSL.

An SSL (secure socket layer) is a protocol that encrypts data. SSLs are used on ecommerce sites to encrypt card details, making them secure and difficult to decode by other people. This is a hugely important part of online security and creating consumer trust, especially when you’re asking customers to give you their financial data – and need to prevent third parties from getting hold of those details and committing data fraud. An SSL is also an essential requirement for online merchants in order to comply with PCI DSS standards.

Higher-end EV SSLs provide the highest level of assurance and the clearest visual security cues for your customers, including padlock icons and green address bars. They tend to cost more and they’re only granted to ecommerce sites after a stringent verification process, which takes more time and more personal involvement from you. But the additional expense could mean an increase in consumer trust – and even an increase in consumer numbers.

 

Customers recognise, and favour, the visual trust cues achieved using higher-end EV SSLs.

According to the 2015 consumer trust survey by the CA Security Council, a collective of leading global certificate authorities:

  • Just 3% of consumers would give out their credit card information to sites without the padlock symbol
  • 53% of consumers recognise that the padlock symbol means more trust
  • 42% understand that the green bar, achieved using an EV SSL, means greater safety
  • Consumers trust financial institutions the most, above certificate authorities, browsers and online merchants.

So, around half of the consumers represented in this survey are aware of, and actively look for, the visual cues which come with higher-end EV SSLs. With this in mind, investing in an EV SSL has the potential to significantly increase your customers’ trust – and even the amount of customers using your site.

 

Put simply, not all SSLs are created equal. The more you invest in your site’s SSL, the more your customers will trust your ecommerce site.

Think of SSLs like insurance policies. The more you pay, the more you’ll get. Upgrading your SSL could give you:

  • More assurance that you, your customers and your site are secure
  • Clearer visual cues for consumer trust, such as a padlock icon and green address bar
  • An increased warranty in the unlikely event that someone cracks your SSL

 

Which SSL should you choose?

Again, much like insurance policies, there’s a wide variety of SSLs available from a number of providers worldwide. At Nublue our web hosting team orders, installs and tests SSLs by Comodo and GeoTrust for our clients, because we believe that these offer the best choice of security and speed to match our clients’ needs.

GeoTrust SSLs are faster and easier to obtain and install than Comodo SSLs. They provide lower assurance and less visual impact than Comodo SSLs, and also come at a lower cost. A GeoTrust RapidSSL, for example, can often be ordered, verified, issued and installed for you on the same day – and even within an hour in some cases.

Comodo SSLs provide higher assurance, higher warranties and more obvious visual trust cues for customers – such as the kind of padlock and green address bar features in our Comodo EV SSL which consumers responded to in the survey above. There’s a more rigorous verification process involved in getting a Comodo SSL for your website, but this is also the reason why Comodo is the world’s number one online trust provider.

Choosing the right SSL is really a case of balancing your needs and budget with the degree of assurance you want for yourself, your customers and the personal details that are transmitted through your site.

It’s entirely up to you which SSL provider you choose, which SSL package you order from them and who you choose to install your site’s SSL (or whether you install it yourself) – but we would certainly recommend that your ecommerce site uses an SSL to keep you and your customers safe. If you’d like to increase your customers’ trust as much as possible, and potentially increase your sales, then we’d recommend investing in a higher-end EV SSL such as the Comodo EV SSL.

 


Have you ever got cold feet about a purchase you're making online? Does your web store do everything it can to ease customer anxiety? Drop us a comment below and join the discussion!

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About the Author

Andrew has worked as a copywriter in healthcare, travel and digital, and now handles content and social media for Nublue, a digital agency and hosting provider in Lancaster. Andrew likes beer, books, action movies and happy dogs. Which is all of them.