Example of a security trustmarkA tip for online retailers out there:

If you want to increase sales on your e-commerce website, try adding a security trustmark in your site header — not just in your shopping cart but for the whole site. We tested it, and it works.

Not familiar with the term “security trustmark”? If you buy or sell anything online, you have certainly seen them. Trustmarks are those small icons that typically appear in online shopping carts to validate that the merchant uses the appropriate security to protect buyers’ private data.

The merchant pays a fee to the provider of these trustmarks, and in return the provider’s security bots check the site every day to make sure it is still secure and reliable. It’s an easy way to communicate to new buyers that your business is above board, professional, and safe to buy from.

We have used security badges in our shopping cart on www.paloalto.com for years. But a while back we wondered if displaying a trustmark on our regular product pages — before visitors have added anything to the cart — would have any effect.

So we tested it using Google’s free split-testing tool (Website Optimizer). Website Optimizer makes it easy to test different variations of a web page (or part of a web page) to see which one performs best. For this test, we did a simple test of our standard sitewide header against a variation that was identical except for the addition of a McAfee Secure trustmark.

Somewhere in their marketing materials (I can’t find the specific reference now), McAfee says that their tests have found that the inclusion of their trustmark can increase conversions by a modest but notable amount, somewhere in the single-digit percentages.

How did it do in our test? Better than that. The header variation with the trustmark did a whopping 23% better than the plain original version. That is a pretty incredible difference for what seems like a minor variation.

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Give it a test for yourself, and let us know how it does in the comments.

Josh Cochrane
Director of Online Marketing
Palo Alto Software

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Josh Cochrane
Josh Cochrane

Josh Cochrane is Vice President of Product Development at Palo Alto Software, where he manages development of the business planning tool LivePlan.