The biggest concern for shoppers shopping online is whether their transactions are secure or not. Unfortunately, the answer to such is a bit convoluted, as there are so many different levels of online store shopping platforms and situations. To combat this, or to gain a perspective of the online retail store’s security is to answer a list of specific questions. Topping your list of questions should be…what is the reputation of the retailer’s online transactions, what is the security of their servers, and their return policy.
Determining the reputation of the online retailer will be your first clue as to whether a shopper wants to do business with them or not. As can be expected, shoppers will be more apt to visit and shop at online retail stores that have a better reputation for security, customer service, etc.
Retailers who have been online for a few years and carry good replies and standings will probably have a better reputation and Internet presence. There are a few methods to check the reputation. You can start by consulting the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This will allow you to read any complaints by other shoppers about the retailer’s transaction process, return services, and so on.
How secure is the retailer’s shopping servers? Outside of legitimate security break-down complaints, this will be the single best method of immediately identifying whether the retailer has taken appropriate precautions and installed needed security measures. This is a concern due to the rise in identity theft, which is growing at an alarming rate. When completing a transaction with an online retailer, one must be certain that the server address is a secure address, utilizing encryption to thwart any ID hackers.
A secure website address will start with ‘https’, and not the traditional website address starting only with ‘http’. The ‘s’ in the URL designates the website address as communicating with a secure server, which is what you want. Plan and simple…do NOT ever conduct a transaction with a non-secure website. I would go as far as stating that you should also install a keyboard punch scrambler to scramble every entry you make into any website form.
Noting the return policy of an online retailer is also a means of determining their overall commitment to the shopper. Outside of special provisions, a retailer’s online return policy should closely mimic those policies of any local retail store. Those policies which are unusually restrictive should be possibly considered suspect by any online purchaser.
If anything, the Internet is a ‘buyers beware’ market. Take your time and do your homework before making any online purchases.