Trust Seals – Is the Return Worth the Cost?

Many new businesses – especially ecommerce – wonder if they should buy trust seals for their website in order to boost conversion rates. Trust seals are small badges that third party businesses will give you after you meet their standards of privacy security, website security, or customer service. Sellers of trust seals say that their product can raise your sales on average about 15%. However, with the huge expense of trust seals (some cost as much as $2,000), obtaining one may end up costing your business more than it is worth.

Baymard Institute recently completed a study that compiled survey results to find which trust seals appealed most to potential customers. Around 49% of participants answered that they “don’t know” or had no preference. Of the eight other options, the Norton security seal was chosen the most, over all other types of trust seals. These results indicate that for the visitors to your website, it is not the actual security that matters, but the perceived security. Norton was the most popular choice in the survey because it is also the best-known brand name; the other choices were Thawte, Trustwave, Geotrust, Comodo, McAfee, BBB Accredited, and TRUSTe.

For this reason, along with the huge expense, it is not recommended that newer businesses invest in a trust seal. Having a website that appears trustworthy can often be more important to a potential customer than ensured security. Create a professional website with borders, background colors, no typos or spelling errors, and nothing that even resembles spam. Because many customers are unaware of what trust seals really are, this may be enough to gain a potential customer’s trust.

However, trust seals will never persuade a potential customer to turn away from your website. They can only have a neutral or positive effect on your sales. If you are a relatively unknown business, trust seals may be worth the cost. Some companies selling trust seals claim that their product can increase your sales by 70%. The three types of seals – privacy, security, and business – can ease the mind of a customer that may be worried about ecommerce businesses. The privacy seal ensures that credit card and other personal information will not be leaked or hacked. The security seal tells the customer that your website is free of computer viruses or malware that could harm their computer. If potential customers are wary of your business practices, particularly because they will be unable to interact with you in person, a business seal promises hassle-free purchasing.

Whether or not trust seals can actually increase your sales by 70% is open for debate, but the only way to find out is to try them. Try to determine the plausible effect trust seals could have on your ecommerce business by thinking about your customer base, your website appearance, and your products.

“Gain Trust Online Using Trust Seals.” (26 July 2013).

Trust Seals to Encash the Trust.” (26 July 2013).

Holst, Christian. “Which Site Seal do People Trust the Most? (2013 Survey Results).” (26 July 2013).