Security Concerns Hinder Online Shopping, Survey Finds

Security concerns over credit card data, confusing layouts and high shipping costs are keeping a lid on the growth of online transactions, a survey from PayPal indicates.

A survey by online payroll service PayPal suggests high shipping costs, security concerns and a lack of convenience are hampering online transactions. The survey revealed that nearly half (45 percent) of online shoppers have abandoned their carts multiple times in the past three weeks, with the average cost of abandoned goods in U.S. shopping carts at $109.
A high shipping cost was cited as the largest single reason for cart abandonment. While nothing could have prevented one-third of shoppers from abandoning purchases, the survey found that providing shipping costs upfront might have caused 40 percent to complete the purchase. Eddie Davis, senior director of SMB merchant services for PayPal, said in order to get shoppers to buy, it's critical that merchants make the checkout experience easy and costs transparent.
"Merchants who don't welcome back abandoners with open arms are leaving hundreds of dollars per shopper on the table," Davis said. "Merchants need to remember the items that customers abandon and make it easy for them to buy when they return. Sweetening the deal with free shipping, coupons and special discounts is also a great way to encourage online shoppers to complete their purchases."
The survey also uncovered signs that the economy still has shoppers wary about clicking the "purchase" button. More than one-third of respondents abandoned checkout because they didn't plan for all of the expenses; while more than 25 percent left the site to search for a coupon. However, one-third of shoppers later returned to the same site to buy. An additional 20 percent purchased the items at a brick and mortar store or competitor's Web site.
A security concern over credit card data was the reason that 21 percent of potential customers never concluded online transactions, while 22 percent left after they couldn't find customer support. Twenty-four percent couldn't find preferred pay option and gave up, while 23 percent gave up after their item was unavailable at checkout.
A recent survey of small to midsize businesses conducted by security firm Symantec found that while SMBs are familiar with cyber-risks and have clearly defined goals for security, a surprisingly high number have yet to take even the most basic steps toward protecting their businesses. While proper security is critical for online transactions, ably displaying your security credentials is even more important, according to a study from network infrastructure company VeriSign and Synovate Business Consulting.
The company found customers consider security more important than a low price when purchasing items online. The survey found 85 percent of consumers say trusting the site is most important when interacting on a Web site and sharing confidential information. In contrast, only 9 percent said competitive pricing was most important and 5 percent said ease of use was most important. Additionally, 93 percent of respondents said they would stop doing transactions on a site that is not secure.