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Building merchant-consumer trust is vital for ecommerce success

Trust: It may be a two-way street regarding interpersonal relationships, and challenging enough to maintain between human beings. But shift this intangible quality to the digital arena, especially sites through which money changes hands, and this immediately places trust at risk of becoming exploited. When considering cybercrime​, trust between online collaborating parties is the new modern currency. So, how rich is your business in trust currency, and how can you obtain more of it?

It isn’t an easy task. The anonymity of the Internet’s early days just isn’t a reality any longer, with the advent of personal and business emails, followed by social media platforms, as well as the increase in cybercriminal activity all adding to our changing expectations of online identities​. We have become sceptical of handles and pseudonyms, preferring to collaborate with online users who were truly who they said they were.

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This shift in attitude is affecting international business in particular, with demands on the rise for identity verification prior to any online transaction,to motivate trustworthy online interactions. Looking at trends in merchant-customer online trust establishment can shed light on this complex concept.

There is clearly something missing in the way businesses currently handle their identity authentication, with a growing pool of sceptical online users, and the vast majority of the public still falling victim to online scams​.

Trust is established online when both collaborating parties practice transparency regarding their identities, andmaintain congruency between online and offline identities. And with online collaboration, communication and trading as accepted forms of business communication nowadays,the importance of authenticating online identities has propelled to paramount status. This practise is exploding in businesses all over the globe, especially hot spots for cybercrime such as the States and the UK, as an additional method for building and maintaining customer trust​.

Yes, you can take the traditional routes of securing your customer’strust. These methods – sharing and nurturing mutual interests, ensuring repeat patronage, providing stellar personalized treatment, managing personal rapport with your customers, and frequent targeted one-to-one communication — should be a part of any business structure. However, there’s an increase in consumer demand for stringent security measures when online, with simply transparent collaboration between consumer and merchant falling short as a viable source of online trust​.

Identity management online gives you the control. As the number of online users increases,so does the need for online identity control and protection. It is evident that a mandatory centralized identity management system would benefit online transactions and collaboration, however there needs to be a greater social awareness as to the benefits this system
offers online users.

Cybercriminals are using identity in a many different ways, every minute online – from using another identity to divert accountability for criminal activity, to obtaining the resources supplied by a particular identity, accessing credit cards, bank accounts and generally running rampant in someone’s personal life. What’s worse, as companies tighten security measures to combat these breaches, new security breaches are created to outmaneuver these. Additionally, security policies range from effective to vastly the opposite, and very much depend on the nature and attitude of the business.

Image: . .. via Flickr.

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