How to Create a Trust Seal on Your Checkout Page

Trust is everything.

If you can’t earn consumers’ trust, you’re fighting a losing battle.

And what’s a specific area that makes many consumers wary?

That’s simple. It’s the way in which businesses handle payment information.

In fact, a lack of trust in credit card processing is one of the top reasons for checkout abandonment.

Research from the Baymard Institute found that “18% of American shoppers abandon the checkout because they don’t trust the website with their credit card information.”

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This means you can kiss one out of every five shoppers goodbye.

And I totally get it.

I completely understand why some shoppers feel uncomfortable sharing their credit card information.

Identity theft and cyber crime are on the rise. This is people’s money and identity we’re talking about! I don’t blame people for being super cautious.

A study from Javelin Strategy & Research found that identity fraud hit a record high in 2016.

More specifically,

$16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016, compared with $15.3 billion and 13.1 million victims a year earlier.

In the past six years, identity theft thieves have stolen over $107 billion.

Here’s what that looks like in graphs:

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It has become a serious problem.

If you haven’t been the victim of identity theft yourself, there’s a good chance you know someone who has.

Just look at the increase in the number of identity theft and fraud complaints between 2012 and 2015:

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This means one thing.

Most people don’t want to hand over their credit card information to just anyone.

They want to know for sure that the company they’re doing business with is taking every possible security precaution to ensure that their sensitive information doesn’t wind up in the wrong hands.

And I definitely understand where they’re coming from.

I know I avoid doing business with any website that looks sketchy and where security could be a potential issue.

In fact, I’ve found myself abandoning the checkout page several times on account of this.

It’s just not worth the risk.

How can you gain the trust of your online shoppers?

This puts modern business owners in a bit of a quandary.

You need to come up with an effective way to put shoppers’ minds at ease and let them know they’re in good hands when they do business with you.

What can you do?

There are several factors that shoppers take into consideration when determining whether or not they trust a particular website.

Some examples include:

  • How professional the site looks
  • How quickly it loads
  • Whether a trusted friend or colleague has used the site before
  • Whether the site contains well-known brands or products
  • Whether it has easy-to-find contact information

But there’s one factor that reassures shoppers above all else.

And that’s a trust seal.

In fact,

a survey conducted by Econsultancy/Toluna confirmed the power of trust seals when it asked participants which factors help them to decide whether or not to trust a website.

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Just think about it.

How many times have you had your fears or doubts quelled when you saw a trust seal when you’re checking out?

I know this puts me at ease.

And there’s evidence that shows just how big of an impact trust seals can have.

Research on trust seals

This great article from ConversionXL tackles the topic of checkout optimization and the way trust seals affect security perception.

The post includes data from a study that used eye tracking to determine the exact impact trust seals have.

Here’s a screenshot of what this study entailed:

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Participants then saw one of the following six trust seals:

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As you can see, there are trust seals from several notable companies such as McAfee, PayPal, the BBB, and so on.

And here are the observational patterns (the patterns respondents’ eyes followed):

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By examining these findings, it’s easy to see that trust seals are huge.

After shoppers initially look at the logo and “payment method” section, their eyes inevitably shift to the trust seal at the bottom.

This goes to show that it’s an integral factor in whether a shopper decides to go through with the checkout process and actually make a purchase.

It makes sense that displaying a trust seal on your checkout page will increase trust, thereby boosting your conversion rate.

Are some trust seals more trusted than others?

You may be wondering whether shoppers respond more favorably to certain trust seals than others.

This chart shows us the specifics:

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As you can see, the “PayPal Verified” seal was noticed the most, at 67%.

This was followed by the “Google Trusted Store” seal at 63% and “Norton Secured” seal at 59%.

It’s also important to note that survey respondents remembered certain trust seals more than others:

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However, ConversionXL reports that the differences were fairly minimal.

According to them,

it’s clear that there weren’t huge differences between trust seals. Using eye tracking, we confirmed that all trust seals are equally noticeable.

In other words, it doesn’t make a massive difference which specific trust seal you use.

As long as you have one from a fairly reputable company, it should have a positive impact in terms of gaining the trust of your shoppers.

If you haven’t yet installed a trust seal on your checkout page, I highly recommend that you do so immediately.

This can have a tremendous impact on your conversion rate and overall revenue.

Want proof?

Look no further than a split test performed by Blue Fountain Media.

Here’s what their original checkout page looked like before they added a trust seal:

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Here’s their checkout page with a Verisign seal:

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Guess what impact this had?

Sales increased by a whopping 42%!

Notice that nothing else on the page changed—except for the “Your Privacy” section, which got replaced by the Verisign seal.

This isn’t to say that your sales will instantly jump up by 42%, but I can pretty much guarantee some type of increase.

Just imagine what a trust seal could do for your long-term profits—it could be major.

How do you create a trust seal?

Here’s how the general process works.

  1. You choose a company, such as McAfee or Norton, and choose the plan you want (some basic plans are free, and more robust plans cost money).
  2. They perform testing on your site.
  3. Assuming everything looks good and your site passes the test, they will certify your site.
  4. You install the trust seal.
  5. It appears on your checkout page, and you’re good to go.

Of course, this is an oversimplification of things, so let me walk you through the process step by step.

I’ll just use McAfee as an example because I’m familiar with it.

The specific steps may vary slightly depending on the security company you choose, but the overall process should be basically the same.

Step #1 – Sign up

Visit McAfee SECURE to check out plans and pricing.

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In the case of McAfee, it’s very straightforward.

There are two plans to choose from: “Free” and “Pro.”

Here’s how the two plans break down:

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FYI, “Pro” costs $29 per month as I’m writing this.

Next, install the McAfee SECURE plugin on WordPress.

You can find it by searching the “Plugins” section of your WordPress dashboard:

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Click on “Add New:”

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Now type in “McAfee” in the “Search Plugins” search box:

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Here we go:

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Click on “Install Now:”

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Then “Activate:”

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Once you’ve activated the plugin, visit Settings > McAfee Secure to configure it.

You’ll see this screen:

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Fill out the information:

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At this point, McAfee will run some tests on your site:

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Because you’ve already installed the McAfee SECURE plugin, the trust seal will automatically appear on your site.

That’s it.

It’s really quite easy.

As long as your website passes, you’ll have a trust seal installed on your checkout page in no time.

If you would like to see a video tutorial on this process, check out this post from WPBeginner.

Conclusion

Online security has arguably never been more important than it is today.

And the fear and skepticism so many people have is by no means unfounded.

They have a very good reason to be concerned and even a little paranoid.

As a business owner, you must address these concerns and put your customers’ minds at ease.

People want to know they’re not putting themselves at unnecessary risk by completing a transaction on your website.

According to research, one of the best ways to do this is by installing a trust seal on your checkout page.

This lets shoppers know that your site has been thoroughly tested and meets today’s security standards.

As a result, they can complete a purchase with confidence, which should bring about a higher conversion rate and an overall increase in customer satisfaction.

Fortunately, installing a trust seal on your checkout page is fairly simple, and some basic plans can be set up for free.

Find the security company that’s the best fit for you and complete the necessary steps to have a trust seal installed.

How big of a factor is a trust seal when you’re deciding whether you want to complete a transaction?

Comments

  1. J.Ustpassing :

    Ohhhh … lots here, and some of it’s unfortunately going to be a little messy.

    Negatives first?

    Eye-Tracking.
    Tracking the eye-movements alone proves nothing.
    It’s a visual – they could have put up pictures of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofey, and got the exact same eye-jump patterns.

    Recognised logos.
    I know things have progressed over the past decade – but most people still don’t know/understand things like VeriSign.
    The truth of the matter is that the average-joe/janet generally doesn’t know half the security companies out there.
    What they do recognise is brands/logos that they have had prior exposure to (Google, Norton etc.).
    So the “value” of the seal will entirely depend on the audience, their exposure and their experience.
    People that use Norton will likely trust sites with that badge more than one with a McAfee badge (and vice-versa).

    Any badge will do.
    I’m not 100% sure on this, but I believe about a decade ago a little test was ran that used a mix of real and fake badges.
    If I remember correctly, the results were not surprising – so long as there was a badge that looked relevant, it satisfied the larger % of people, even if they didn’t recognise it!
    (No I cannot remember much about the test – I’m sure it was only a little one, more poking fun at something VeriSign had stated at the time … and I wasn’t sure about their results – but the point stands, people are people, and most will accept “anything” over “nothing”.)

    Right – that’s the negatives dealt with …

    Positives …

    Don’t just place the badge on the checkout page.
    Slap it in the Cart, and you should ensure that they are clearly visible on product pages too.

    This applies not only to “security seals”, but to “payment providers” and “accepted payments”.
    In many cases, payment providers and gateways have their own security measures, and offer recourse if something is amiss.
    This ranges from recalling CC payments through to insurance against illicit purchases.

    Think about it – what’s the first thing you look for;
    a) A security badge
    b) A payment accepted badge
    ?
    In most cases, we check to make sure they take card, and specifically, our card.
    In many cases, that’s usually enough to calm nerves.
    Follow that with just about any security seal (any!) and you’re good to go.

    Personally, I’d go with 2 security badges.
    One should be a real security seal (Verisign like).
    The other should be a recognised brand that people associate with (one of the security companies such as Norton etc.).
    That, along with PP/Visa/Mastercad/Amex etc. is more than enough to please people.

    And lets not forget SSL/HTTPS.
    No point having all the badges/logos if you are transferring customer details over an open/unsecured protocol 😀

    Another area to look at is describing the payment process.
    Is it going to be done locally, or on a secure 3rd party site?
    Will it just process, or ask for additional authentication (3ds, pin etc.).
    Believe it or not, for some people, the extra layer is a detriment (I’m one – I hate having to verify).

    • Jaime Urteaga :

      First off, Neil, love the article. I’ll be sharing it with my audience tomorrow.

      Second, I do agree with your thoughts, commenter above me. It seems like the initial study doesn’t strongly suggest one way or another whether trust seals increase or decrease user perceived trust, and ultimately, influence sales numbers. In fact, it may have created the opposite effect – a lack of trust in this article (ironically enough)! However, this quickly changed. The Blue Fountain Media study, on the other hand, was a more compelling piece of research to correctly demonstrate the effect of trust symbols on purchases.

      It wouldn’t be difficult to create more clean studies to observe that more directly, though I think it would provide a great benefit to do further examinations on whether 0, 1 or 2+ trust seals improve user perceived trust, and more importantly, sales. It would just require a simple a/b test with a single variable changed (the trust seal), and a large enough sample group. I would want to see the study extend to different websites to test the efficacy across multiple industries, like say, e-commerce (which BFM is not).

      Lastly, I would like to add that a MAJOR trust factor can be the EV SSL (vs just the traditional one). Though I don’t have any research on hand to support my claim! Now that would be difficult to test… You would have to serve different certificates at the server level, and log it based on a stored variable passed up from there?

      Alright, time to pass the ball. Looking forward to the SEO summit, Neil!

      • J.Ustpassing :

        Jaime – the problem is that a lot of studies are done in a “general” approach.
        They don’t to follow “the scientific method” – so there is no “normal”, they don’t repeat the tests several times over, they don’t provide deviance/variance figures etc.
        Instead, quite often it’s more a case of “we concluded” or “we changed X and saw” – with no repeats to confirm/support the changes.

        It’s a long running issue with “tests” in general … so Neil’s’ efforts to substantiate stuff will always be an uphill battle. It’s not his fault that most people cannot follow standard steps,
        but he may need to start couching his wording to point out if a study is strong or weak (most are weak unfortunately). At least that way you backsides covered Neil 😀

        And yes, some of those tests Jaime would be awesome – but indeed, they would be a nightmare to setup due to requiring (a) large volumes of participants (b) few businesses are willing to risk losing conversions on such tests (c) fewer still are willing to share the results of such tests.

      • Thanks for the additional insights, Jaime!!

    • Thanks for your feedback and the time you put into it!

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this post.
    its really helpfull

  3. Thanks for another helpful article Neil. Trust seals are important. It’s just too risky sharing personal, especially credit, card information online. There are just too scammers and people looking to reap where they did not sow lurking online.

    So adding a couple trust seals from the more reputable organizations out there should definitely help put customers’ fears at ease. I for one would not buy from a site that does not display a trust seal.

  4. Hi Neil,

    I am not a programmer or a technical digital marketing person, but what you outlined in above article makes total sense to me. I feel that the kind of articles you write are idiot proof and much more helpful than the ones laden with jargons and technical language known only to programmers. I also believe that the latter word in the phrase ‘digital marketing’ explains that it requires a marketing brain to leverage digital not vice versa. And that is exactly how your blogs help, I have learned a lot from them. Only a skilled marketer who has been there and done that knows which part of the prevalent technology to pick up and which part to discard. You do this right, every time, and I admire you for that.

    A small example from my experience. I was working on the website of an education sector client and they were struggling to get quality leads from their online inquiry forms. Rather they were getting a ton of spam via those forms. I just implemented Google’s captcha verification and they saw a huge jump in legit inquiries. My takeaway from that was same as I got from this blog – Users are comfortable submitting their information when they see a trusted protection mechanism implemented on the website. This might be an oversimplified example but I saw it working.

    Thanks for the great work Neil 🙂

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