This week I read about “a report”:http://www.caast.com/release/default.asp?aID=145 conducted by “Forrester Research”:http://www.forrester.com for “CAAST”:http://www.caast.com (Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft). If you are selling online in Canada this is a scary report. It indicates that Canadians are wary of shopping online. *A full 40% of Canadians surveyed said they will not shop online this holiday season.*
Why will these Canadians not shop online?
At 40% that figure is more than double the results for a similar survey in the US.
Furthermore the report points out that, almost 90% of people surveyed said retailers have not done enough to protect consumers online and are worried that family members are not always aware of security threats. One way these people are trying to address this issue is by using security products on their computers. Two-thirds say they have about three such products installed
What’s worse for those companies or people using eBay, almost 80% of survey responders said they are concerned about shopping at online auction sites.
Here are some other interesting points in the report:
* Only 64% of Canadian feel a symbol indicating website security will ease their concerns
* Canadian are not familiar with terminology used to describe the latest security threats like pharming, phishing, and malware
* A full 78% said they would like to be more educated when it comes online security matters.
I did a little polling of my own over the last couple of days. My sample was friends and family that are not involved in marketing. Basically they validated the report’s findings. Almost everyone indicated they don’t even trust many brand-name sites for fear of fraud. Their misconceptions include thinking that complete websites could be run by cyber criminals in the process of phishing. However, everyone felt they could trust their bank’s website if they entered the URL themselves and logged in manually.
If people trust their banks maybe banks should set up shopping portals similar to what “Air Miles”:http://www.airmiles.ca did with their “YourShops.ca”:http://www.yourshops.ca shopping portal.
Here are some of my recommendations for Canadian companies looking to sell online:
# Make sure you provide plenty of easy-to-access information to educate potential shoppers once they get to your site. Explain known concerns, how you are dealing with these issues, etc.
# Keep your information simple. Don’t use jargon.
# Let people know about the various credit card policies that actually protect them from online fraud. Link to information pages on the credit card websites.
# If you use email in your marketing mix consider dedicating one deployment to educating your database about the issues of shopping online and how you are dealing with these.
# If using a third party to process your credit card transactions make sure you explain why the URL (website address) is different and how this is a good thing.
# Avoid asking for too much information in the check-out process. Try and use previously captured information and match it up with the transaction data at a later date.
# If possible, provide a telephone number people can use to reach a live person if they have any issues with their transaction.
I plan on buying a number of my holiday gifts online this year. I know that e-commerce is safe when dealing with reputable brands. I also know that my CIBC Aerogold VISA protects me from fraud if I take the right precautions. Now let’s all work to help most Canadians get comfortable with shopping online.