Starting a business is never easy, as I found out when I founded my first business in 1985. After deciding on your product or service, your first challenge is to establish a route to market.
Once you’ve mastered your domestic market, the best way to reach a wider international audience is through online business– “e-tail” has been on an upward curve for years and the European market is expected to rise another 13 per cent this year to reach €92 billion.
However, selling online requires shrewd investment into your website, as this virtual shopfront will need to enable a seamless and safe consumer experience that generates trust. After all, unlike browsing in a high street, competitors are only a click away for online shoppers.
To get the most out of online business, I have some really helpful tips on how you can maximise your return whilst keeping your reputation intact:
1. Keep your website protected
Many full time workers now choose to buy online to save time. With this in mind, small businesses must ensure that they protect their website from viruses and other malware, as these could impact your customers and also result in you being blacklisted by search engines.
2. Encrypt your customers’ personal details
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology protects online transactions and helps increase trust in your website. It enables the encryption of sensitive information during online transactions, and is authenticated by a Certificate Authority. By using this technology it’s visible to your customers that their details are being protected.
3. Use security certificates and trust marks
Ensure you use a website security certificate to demonstrate that you’re taking steps to secure your customers and their information, and keep it updated. If not, expired pop-ups will highlight that it has expired and shoppers may go elsewhere. Websites that display trust mark symbols will also gain greater customer trust.
4. Protect customer accounts
Usernames and passwords help keep user accounts safe, but to avoid these being hacked add a second layer of authentication. This could involve asking a security question before a customer enters any sensitive information provides added reassurance that only they can access it.
5. Boost consumer confidence
Don’t leave customers in any doubt that your website is secure and that you are taking the right steps to protect their personal information. Publishing security certificates and displaying contact details will build trust between you and your customer
If you want to see how your small business shapes up when it comes to meeting today’s information challenges then take a look at this free check-up tool from Symantec here.