In addition to having shaky privacy policies among small businesses with Web sites, security on small business sites may be an issue as well: the survey reports that 21 percent of small businesses don’t know if they have encrypted pages on their web site, and 30 percent admitted that they didn’t know if they were PCI compliant. This lack of knowledge invites privacy lapses and security breaches that could lead to a consumer’s information being stolen or abused. Furthermore, it suggests a critical need for steps to ensure the Web site is a trustworthy landing point so that small businesses may conduct business safely and their customers have the best, safest experience possible.
The survey also found that 79 percent of small businesses aware of trustmarks do not display any seal of approval on their web site, even though half consider a trustmark such as TRUSTe important to identifying trustworthy sites. According to the National Small Business Association, small businesses constitute 99.7 percent of all U.S. companies, signifying an enormous need for online trust and safety on the part of both the small business and the consumer.
Consumer discomfort online can be a huge pain point in online sales, according to recent research:
— Thirty-six percent of consumers claimed they would not use their
credit or debit card to make a purchase with a Web merchant they didn’t
know. (Ponemon Institute, 2007)
— While merchants anecdotally report that approximately 20-30 percent of
online shopping carts are abandoned, research conducted by Marketing Sherpa
actually found a 58 percent average abandonment rate.
— Forty-nine percent of consumers abandon online shopping carts due to
fear of identity theft; 53 percent worry about sharing personal information.
(Marketing Sherpa 2006 study)
These statistics indicate a critical need for companies to demonstrate compliance with privacy best practices to gain consumer trust. Although privacy may often be overlooked by small businesses, it is essential to a company’s success in an anemic economic climate.