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 Surely customers want to be reminded and reassured that their information is safe?

Not necessarily.

A test idea for e-commerce sites is to question the assumption that security badges will always help to increase conversions on your site. Although under-the-hood security features are always a necessary feature of your site, the persistent reminder of security may or may not be helpful.


Question the assumption that adding security badges like these to your e-commerce site will increase conversions.

In some cases, displaying security badges on product pages or during the checkout funnel can have a positive effect on sales. Sales increased by 5% for crafts retailers when they added a trust badge to their website. increased conversions by 7.6% when they added a security seal to the site. However, context is essential for these badges to have a positive effect.

In some cases, increased emphasis on security can decrease sales. Wider Funnel blogged about a client who experienced a 1.6% decrease in conversions site wide when after they added a McAfee security badge persistently on the shopping cart widgets.

The hypothesis: security badges create anxiety in website visitors who may not have been focused on security initially.

These surprising findings have been echoed on Twitter:

Multivariate testing surprise: *removing* HackerSafe logo lifts “add to cart” by 3.5% (95% conf). Moral=don’t assume, test!

— Eric J. Hansen (@ericjhansen) June 30, 2009

@ericjhansen Seen same before. In a previous role, we tested HackerSafe in diff. locations on page w/ ALL treatments losing with 95%+ conf.

— Michael Summar (@michaelsummar) June 30, 2009

Here are a few simple tips for implementing (or deleting) a security badge on your site. Just like any other test, the results will be different for every audience. Test to find out what works best for yours.


Test adding a security badge…

  • To the bottom of a signup form, to indicate that the customer’s data and contact information will not be spammed or shared.

  • On the billing information page of a checkout funnel, to ensure that you are not saving the customer’s credit card number for any other purpose.

  • On a product page, to ensure that the product is price-guaranteed, or to express quality assurance for the item.

Test removing a security badge…

  • From every page of the checkout funnel, or from the shopping cart page.

  • From the top navigation or bottom footer on your page. Does taking away elements negatively impact your conversion rate?

Size and Number

  • The optimal size for your security badge is another important feature to test. It should not be larger than the primary call to action on any given page.

  • If you have multiple security badges throughout your site, test removing all but one type.

  • Try a text-only security assurance instead of a badge at the bottom of a form.