Lack of perceived security may cost sales

Retailers have long understood the importance of security at the point of sale. Failure to safeguard transactions could result in pertinent payment information and cardholder data being stolen by cybercriminals. This leaves businesses open to regulatory fines, customer blowback, brand  damage and other dire consequences.

Moreover, retailers are already on thin ice with many customers. Consumers are well aware of all the POS breaches that have occurred at major enterprises in recent years, such as the Target breach that resulted in millions of credit card numbers being stolen from shoppers. Even a potential breach can become a point of concern for customers, and enterprises looking to maintain their customers' trust must inform shoppers if there is even a chance their data has been stolen. Earlier this year, for example, Chic-fil-A reported potential suspicious activity, and even though the firm discovered nothing was stolen, the announcement still put many customers on edge.

Securing the POS to save sales
Security at the POS can go a long way to instilling confidence in customers, whether they are shopping online or offline. A recent study conducted by Worldpay and reported by PYMNTS, which polled customers in the United States, Mexico and Australia, made the importance of security apparent.

"17% of customers rethink purchases due to reservations about security.

For example, simply displaying payment authentication and certificate logos on websites and at the point of sale can go a long way in easing concern among U.S. shoppers. Establishing a good first impression is pivotal as well, with 17 percent of shoppers rethinking a purchase because they did not think the enterprise presented itself as a secure place to buy goods. Information is also a huge boon - finding ways to convey security practices to customers who are curious can help win over sales.

Retailers are not the only ones at risk
While retailers are often the focal points during breaches and cyberattacks, that does not mean that security is only important to retail shoppers. The Worldpay study noted similar customer beliefs as they pursue transactions with other entities as well, including travel booking agencies and restaurants.

Any enterprise that processes payments directly for customers needs to investigate ways to reassure shoppers that their POS solutions are safe. This starts by deploying solutions that allow companies to ensure the security of their shoppers' payment information and then taking steps to make customers feel at ease by using security practices as an additional selling point.