Cybersecurity in e-commerce: keeping online customers secure during digital transformation 

  • Insights
  • Cybersecurity

The universe of apps and e-commerce solutions that consumers can use to interact with and buy from businesses is expanding at pace. With this comes the challenge of managing cybersecurity in e-commerce. According to Statista, the value of e-commerce payment fraud globally in 2023 will reach $48bn - an increase from $41bn by the end of 2022.

But how can all businesses that have a stake in online commercial activity best combat the growing problem of cybersecurity threats while keeping customer data and transactions  secure?

Put simply, there is an urgent need for organisations to identify and implement the best cybersecurity solutions for their unique connected digital ecosystem - the space they have created for themselves and their customers in a crowded online marketplace thanks to cutting-edge, connected tools and technologies.

Three key areas to focus on in any e-commerce digital ecosystem

For us, the best strategy for enabling companies to successfully prepare for a more prosperous and secure future is to make sure that your entire digital ecosystem is connected, secure and optimised. We recommend looking at your digital estate from these three points of view: digital infrastructure, channels and data.

1. Up-to-date digital infrastructure

Staying ahead of the competition in today's e-commerce landscape and keeping your digital business solutions secure requires businesses to keep up with the latest MarTech, OpTech and e-commerce software. Ensuring you’re using the latest versions of software will boost your cybersecurity, but also keep you on track with the latest market trends, disruption and changes in buying behaviour.

With this in view, it’s much easier to glean knowledge of best practice, and make informed decisions about which tools and platforms to adopt, and how to optimise them for cybersecurity. Such a strategy will involve investing in R&D initiatives, to continuously test and learn what customers want and need, and how to offer your new solutions to them in a secure way.

For example, it’s no secret that Ai, chatbots, Virtual and Augmented Reality are already revolutionising industry by providing customers with a more immersive and engaging experience in all channels. Businesses that want to stay competitive should make it a priority to integrate these into their overall digital-first strategy; but, most importantly, ensure these innovative solutions are secure to use for the organisation and its customers.

2. Omnichannel Commerce

To provide customers with a seamless, secure experience across multiple channels, including online, mobile and social media, companies must adopt an omnichannel strategy. This requires an investment in technology that supports such an approach. It could include customer relationship management (CRM) software, inventory and product information management systems (PIM) and mobile apps. All of these platforms and data that will be stored in the system must be optimised for cybersecurity.

By implementing these tools in a secure, connected way, businesses can provide customers with a consistent and personalised experience, regardless of the channel they use to interact with the organisation, while keeping their data safe at all times.

3. Data is at the Heart of Everything

It’s a no-brainer that the most significant benefit of data and analytics is its ability to support organisations across sectors in making informed decisions about which technologies and initiatives to invest in. By analysing customer data, businesses can determine which channels their customers engage with the most.

Insights into products and services that are most popular/engaging among customers, and patterns in customer behaviour such as purchasing habits and product preferences, will enable the company to customise product offerings to better match customer needs and preferences. This, in turn, leads to increased customer satisfaction, driving conversion and sales, as well as longer-term loyalty.

With data being such a valuable asset, it’s natural that it’s a target for cybersecurity threats, and keeping your organisation’s and your customers’ data secure at all times should be your highest priority.

How to boost cybersecurity across your organisation

A comprehensive omnichannel marketing strategy will ensure a seamless integration between on- and offline touchpoints. It also underpins smooth, accurate and secure data exchanges between different parts of the organisation, and throughout the supply chain.

The goal is for customers to be able to easily transition from product discovery to purchase along their e-commerce journey, regardless of whether or not offline channels are a part of the process. There should be ample opportunities for marketing and increased brand engagement wherever and whenever a customer takes action.

Ensuring the safe integration of these e-commerce channels and technologies is no mean feat. But adopting these three principles of e-commerce platform best practice is a good start:

1. People & Process – To Enable and Govern

Proper enablement and training on new e-commerce technologies is necessary to ensure employees have the knowledge and skills to support customers and resolve cybersecurity issues that may arise.

In addition to technical training, employees should also understand how to effectively communicate with customers through digital channels, such as email, chat and social media. This will help champion ‘one brand voice’ when addressing customer enquiries, resolving complaints, and providing personalised recommendations based on customer preferences.

Clear instructions and ‘UX for user’ guides should be provided by businesses on how to use new e-commerce technologies and channels. This reduces the risk of confusion and errors that may provoke customer dissatisfaction. It will also help reduce the number of customer support requests and improve the efficiency of the support team, as customers are more likely to successfully use the technology independently (e.g. customer service portal).

2. Tools & Technology – To Secure and Comply

To safeguard sensitive customer information and prevent unauthorised access or data breaches, companies should make cybersecurity a top priority. They can achieve this by implementing robust security protocols, such as two-factor authentication, encryption and regular security audits.

These measures will help ensure that customer data is protected against cyber threats, and that any potential vulnerabilities are identified and addressed promptly. By prioritising cybersecurity, organisations can earn the trust and loyalty of their customers, who are increasingly concerned about the safety of their personal information when transacting online.

3. Data & Insights – To Test, Learn and Optimise

Regularly monitoring the performance of new e-commerce technologies and channels is critical to ensure that these technologies are working effectively and integrated into overall e-commerce platform strategy.

This involves regularly tracking and analysing data, such as website traffic, conversion rates, and user engagement (attribution modelling). By keeping a close eye on these metrics, businesses can identify performance issues and take prompt action to resolve them.

Customer feedback and complaints related to the experience across the MarTech channels also offer crucial insight. It can be used by the organisation to make informed decisions about changes, and optimise improvements to their MarTech/e-commerce technologies and channels.

You can’t put a price on safety and security

Businesses that prioritise security and consumer trust are more likely to succeed in the long term, as consumers are increasingly concerned about the safety of their personal information when shopping online. Those that fail to take adequate security measures may suffer data breaches, code vulnerabilities, web performance issues and damage to their reputation. All of these issues can directly lead to loss of customer trust and revenue.

In a nutshell, organisations must prioritise cybersecurity measures, such as:

·    SSL/TLS encryption - ensuring data is securely transmitted between the customer's browser and the business web server, making it harder to intercept data

·    Implementing multi-factor authentication

·    Regularly updating and patching software

·    Regular security audits

·    Secure hosting - implement firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems

·    Regular performance audits

·    Employee training and compliance certifications

While some businesses may struggle to keep up with the changing e-commerce landscape, those that prioritise security, consumer trust and interoperability are more likely to succeed. In an era of rapid digitisation, that’s a level of certainty that organisations can’t put a price on.

Want to learn more? Get in touch today to discuss how we can help your organisation to achieve digital maturity at speed and scale.