What your customers are really afraid of this Halloween


If there’s one thing business owners want to know, it’s what’s on their customers’ minds. What they want, what they don’t want, why they do and don’t want these things. Makes sense, right? If you know what people are thinking, you can better service their needs and wants.

And, since it’s Halloween, we decided that there’s no better time to take a look at what your customers are afraid of.

Why? Because this affects what they buy, who they buy it from, and how much they spend.

In fact, according to a survey by the Department of Commerce, 29% of people avoid financial transactions and 26% avoiding buying goods or services online because of security concerns.

Those are big numbers.

So let’s dig a little deeper and see what your customers are really afraid of this Halloween, and what you can do to stop it.

4. 22% are worried about loss of control of personal data

One of the tricky things about this survey is that it was not multiple choice. The respondents merely had to say what concerned them about being online. (Interestingly, 84% of respondents said they had at least one concern about using the internet.)

That being said, the survey technique also allowed things to be vague, which leads us to concerns like “loss of control of personal data.”

Of course, loss of control of personal data could mean anything from healthcare records being breached (over 112 million in 2015 alone) to if you have an investment portfolio to the sort of music you listen to to what sized clothing you wear.

One reason people have access to all this seemingly minute bits of information is because of data brokers. There’s an entire industry dedicated to collecting, organizing, and selling information about you and everyone else. Naturally, because people never opt in to be studied and used by these data brokers, people are increasingly worried about them.

What you can do: Because the internet, and therefore data collection, has become such a large part of our lives, limiting you and your data’s exposure is a multi-step process that involves your browser, your smartphone, and changing your behavior when online.

This Forbes article shows seven steps that everybody concerned should take to keep their information where they’re comfortable with it.

3. 23% are worried about data collection by online services

Data collection is becoming an increasingly hot issue for consumers as they realize just how often it happens. Whenever people see retargeting ads following them around the internet, or when people start to get served ads for cat food right after getting a kitten, they’re reminded just how much companies know about their lives.

Even if the intention is simply to help connect relevant buyers and sellers, many people find it creepy, as this 23% number indicates.

So what can you do?

For one, you need to have a crystal clear privacy policy. What data you collect, and what you do with it. Make it big and bold, and whatever you do, please don’t couch it in impossible to understand legalese.

This is about making customers feel like they’re entering into an agreement with you. If they feel like they never signed up for what data you collect, or you never told them, they might turn away from your business.

Google, who probably collects more data than any other company, has a great explainer page that explains data collection in simple, clear terms.

Although you’re not on Google’s level, if you’re collecting data, you should aspire to something as friendly-feeling as that.

2. 45% are worried about credit card or bank fraud

Almost twice as many people are worried about credit card or bank fraud than data collection. This makes sense. Companies can only do so much with collected data—your IP address, what you search for, what websites you visit—mostly, they can sell it to advertisers.

But when your customers’ money is on the line, it becomes a different story.

Here’s the thing: as a business owner, unless you suffer a breach, you’re probably not going to be responsible for fraud. That’s why you need to focus on identifying your data crown jewels, protecting your perimeter, and making sure you have a valid and strong SSL certificate.

What customers really want to feel is that you’re not going to let them down. That you take their credit card information seriously. That if they buy from you, their computers won’t be infected with malware that steals their financial information.

What you can do: One of the best things ecommerce stores can do to win over doubting visitors is display a trustmark. A trustmark is a security seal that lets visitors know that a 3rd party—typically a security company—has vetted and certified the security of the store. That way, they can shop knowing their credit card won’t end up being stolen and sold by hackers, making them more likely to do business with your site.

1. 63% are worried about identity theft.

Group 4

Just like #2, #1 also has a huge jump in the percentage of people worried—a full 18 points! (Not to mention being 40 percentage points higher than #3!)

Clearly, identity theft is a top-of-the-line concern that is on many, many people’s minds. And it’s no wonder: the Department of Justice found that 14% of victims of identity theft suffered an out-of-pocket loss because of it.

What’s more, of those victims, about half suffered a loss of more than $100 dollars.

Of all the things causing customers to avoid buying things online—and costing you sales—identity theft is it.

Even worse, it can be a huge headache to restore your identity once it’s been compromised, so even if the out-of-pocket loss isn’t too bad, identity theft still wastes your customers’ precious time.

So what can you do about such a big problem?

The best thing is to offer your customers something that protects them from all the downsides of identity theft. Our Identity Protection service provides your customers 90 days of free identity theft coverage any time they buy from your store.

This service helps them with costs incurred during an identity incident, as well as gives them access to restoration experts who help make getting their stolen identities back as easy as possible.

It’s completely free for you, and free for your customers for 90 days. If they want even more coverage after that 90-day window, they can always buy again from your store!


While many of these consumer fears may also be worrying to you, the store owner, the good news is that there’s actually quite a bit you can do to personally combat them. And what’s better, by doing so, you’ll stand out from the pack of stores and make people more likely to do business with you!