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It’s never too late to start building consumer confidence. Tis the season to be shopping, and according to DarkReading.com, consumers want to see more robust security applications from their online retailers. Cybersecurity is top-of-mind for shoppers who have seen the latest trends in multi-million dollar data breaches and crashed Zoom calls and podcasts for Fortune 500s. Online security has become a civilian topic in our new normal.

That’s critical because U.S. sales are projected to continue their surge through December, with more socially-distanced shoppers tackling their gift lists online than in previous years.

At least 15% of consumers have already abandoned at least one online purchase due to security concerns. That’s a move in the wrong direction—in a recent Holiday Shopping Behavior Report from November, 14% of shoppers abandoned their cart due to personal data security concerns.

“Consumers are becoming more aware of security as part of the overall (shopping) experience. When retailers had more budget this year, they put it towards marketing. A lot of retailers have talked about short-term (Cybersecurity) solutions. That will significantly shift in the coming months. To keep their customers, they will put more toward security next year because they will have to.”

– Tara Bartley, Akamai senior e-commerce manager 

In this Cybersecurity blog, we peruse the stats on a fresh mix of consumer security concerns online, their expectations for convenience, and how you can meet both with a powerful, profitable digital shopping experience.

1. Build Intuitive, Secure Websites and Apps

Women shopping online

Results from The New Normal: Living Life Online pinpoint the urgency around a streamlined digital shopping experience as most consumers tackle their holiday lists online this year. And according to the results, your consumer strategy could be a big problem.

Virtually half of online shoppers won’t register for a new retail account if the signup is too time-consuming. And, consumers who live daily on smartphones and watches with intuitive interfaces expect the same ease of use in their shopping experience. In fact, the report finds that 35% of consumers will cancel or delete an app altogether if they’re having login issues. Another 32% of respondents said they would opt for a more convenient shopping alternative.

And can we talk about getting locked out of accounts? For more than 70% of consumers getting locked out of their accounts online is more mind-numbing than even being able to find toilet paper on their next grocery run. It’s a huge turnoff. Which makes sense when consumers are moving away from traditional usernames and passwords on a global scale. Opting for passwordless authentication alternatives like multifactor authentication, Apple Touch ID, or other single-sign-on services offered through payment apps like Shop is no longer just a nice-to-have, it’s a must.

Finally, security-wise, nearly two-thirds of consumers rank preventing their personal data from being sold to third-party organizations as a critical app feature that needs to spelled out concisely, without a two-page user agreement.

2. Reassure Shoppers Bracing for Phishing Attacks

Retail Cybersecurity shopping

You already know that Cyberattacks have been on the rise in 2020—an increase of more than 400% already year-over-year, measured even months prior to the year-end. Phishing attacks have been a huge part of new post-COVID Cybersecurity threats, pulling users in with misleading and dangerously persuasive promises of government stimulus payments or false healthcare bills threatening their credit scores.

So, it should be no surprise that online shoppers are concerned about phishing attempts as the holidays draw near. While almost two-thirds of consumers feel safe shopping online, about a quarter of them think they’ve been targeted already by a holiday-themed phishing scam, and another 13% think it’s a possibility.

As the retail experience for most consumers has gone completely digital, more and more shoppers are hyper-aware of the Cybersecurity threats that plague SMBs and the enterprise every day, now pinpointing a population primed for making holiday purchases online this year.

That means every communication from your brand needs to look legitimate, professional, and credible. Errors like typos or missing the mark on brand logos and colors can make shoppers pause and ask did this text or email come from my favorite retailer or is this a phishing scam?

3. Drive a Deliberate, Transparent Consumer Strategy

Phishing attacks targeting shoppers

If there’s anything we’ve learned from studies like The New Normal: Living Life Online, we know that convenience and security go together when it comes to creating a powerful online shopping experience. With most shopping online, and many shopping from their smartphone, consumers want fast, secure, and easy transactions.

In the post-Facebook era, they also want to know where their data is going, and how it’s being used or protected. To create a transparent consumer strategy focused on security and convenience, make sure wherever customers sign up for your retail application or brand communications, that their personal details won’t be sold to third-party organizations. And don’t stop there, make sure you’re marketing department includes that disclaimer in the fine print in the footer over every email they send.

Make your checkout experience as seamless as it is secure. We already know how quickly users will abandon their cart for a faster checkout process and their growing password fatigue. So, offer MFA, SSO, saved sign-ins, and payment apps like Shop, Apple Pay, and PayPal that they already trust and know are secure to help them plunge through their next purchase.

Finally, make a real investment in your security infrastructure to protect your business data and your consumers. Data breaches cost retailers in both brand trust and loyalty and in millions of dollars. As security threats escalate in an all-digital new norm, building out a powerful end-to-end security should be priority-one level for every business.

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