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Why SCA is Just the Push You Need to Upgrade Your eCommerce Website

Why SCA is Just the Push You Need to Upgrade Your eCommerce Website

But first, is upgrading your eCommerce website actually necessary?


If your company’s eCommerce website has been thriving, you may not have felt the need to upgrade it in a long time. Although, you probably know that it’s best practice to update the design and functionality every once in a while, sometimes success breeds stagnation. Whether from a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude or simply resting on one’s laurels I’ve personally been under the hood of some WordPress websites which haven’t been updated in years! The result is a website developers version of a horror show, with the appropriate gasps of shock, wonder and amazement that the ‘freak show’ keeps rolling on.

With the coming of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and everything which it entails, you may not have much choice anymore but to upgrade if you want your company to stay in business. The main reason of course it that the way your website verifies it’s customers are legit will have to change along with some alterations to your shopping cart process. So the argument goes, if you need to get involved in a website upgrade for one part of your website, should you also upgrade the rest to bring it inline with the latest and most effective eCommerce marketing automation techniques? … is it also an appropriate time to consider a full website migration to a superior eCommerce platform?

To help you decipher the rhetoric from the facts and decide what level of upgrading is viable for you, we’ll cover:

  • How SCA may impact your eCommerce business.
  • The necessary upgrades your website will need to make.
  • Some suggested upgrades as ‘you’ll be under the hood anyway’


SCA – The New Regulation

Strong Customer Authentication is a regulation set by the EU to reduce fraud by making payments more secure. This new rule means that eCommerce companies will need to use additional forms of verification when a customer checks out.

Wondering what SCA classes as authentication? These are the three SCA approved methods.

  • A registered device like a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
  • Using Biometric Authentication such as a fingerprint or facial recognition.
  • A thing only the customer knows, such as a password or pin.

While EU enforcement of SCA may be a few months off, on 14, September 2019 banks are likely to reject payments where the card is not present (read: every single online transaction) that don’t have two of the three required authentication methods.

Banks have the most exposure when it comes to verifying payments and you can bet their bottom dollar (Pound, Euro, Yen…) they will seek to protect themselves. Therefore, a likely scenario is that merchants will face a sharp rise in failed transactions unless their checkouts comply fully with SCA.


A Needed Move in the Age of Online Fraud

In 2013, when the data of three billion Yahoo accounts were breached, it sounded alarm bells across the world. Some companies moved to make their data more secure, but not all. The next Year Marriott International had a data breach which impacted five-hundred-million of its customers.

Partly as a result of these ever more frequent breaches, the EU moved to protect their citizens data and enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which put more stringent protocols into place which required companies to make their customer’s data more secure. In much the same way SCA seeks to limit the number of fraudulent transactions (many of them online) that occur, the difference this time is the consumer is empowered to avoid fraudulent transactions by creating their own unique verifiers.


Out with the Old…

One of the necessary upgrades you will want to make is to your checkout process to limit the exposure your business faces in failed transactions. There are three things that your shopping cart will require to be compliant in the eyes of the banks.

  1. Your shopping cart has a module for SCA.
  2. Your merchant gateway is compatible with SCA.
  3. The shopping cart has a plugin or payment method that implements SCA.

If the answer is no to any one of these criteria, then you will need to make adjustments straight away so that your shopping cart is SCA compliant and won’t lose sales through bank rejections.

When even one of your customers has their purchase rejected because your shopping cart is out of date it will create a negative customer experience. Getting rid of older online shopping carts will allow you to make the user experience more pleasing by using a streamlined, easy to use checkout process.


Who will need to upgrade?

  • Merchants who have been using Magento or WordPress as their CMS should definitely check their SCA status
  • Shopify as a fully managed checkout is handling the upgrade to SCA compliance for merchants using it’s Shopify Pay
  • Merchants who are not in the regular habit of updating their website, we get it life happens
  • eCommerce Websites created prior to 2012 are generally crying out for some much needed TLC

Magento and WordPress users are simply more susceptible to facing an increase number of failed transactions due to not correctly or in a timely enough manner upgrading to make their checkout SCA compliant. I predict those who have not been in the habit of updating and where their website is slightly older are going to suffer the most. As a potential rock and a hard place scenarios of ‘update everything and cross your fingers’ or slow and meticulous testing in a staging environment would in that instance be the main options.

Of course, if you have been using the same shopping cart for customers since 2012, or perhaps simply want the more feature rich experience of a fully managed eCommerce checkout then considering a full migration to Shopify becomes a viable option.


In with the New…

When you upgrade your company’s eCommerce checkout, then if you haven’t already make sure you take advantage of accelerated payment gateways. Here are a few examples of these abandoned cart busting powerhouses.

  • Apple Pay
  • Amazon Pay
  • PayPal Express
  • Google Pay

The above are all examples of the more commonly used accelerated payment gateways and what they all have in common is that using these swift payment gateways only takes a few clicks to get through the simplified checkout process. What’s more, they are SCA compliant right out of the box allowing your customers to use things such as biometric fingerprint scanning to authorise their transactions.


Take Advantage of Upgrading

So since we’re going to be poking around under the hood of the website anyway, take the opportunity to add nitros and go faster stripes to it’s ability to convert customers. Many eCommerce stores have already begun to take advantage of features such as:


Smart Recommendations

Falling under the category of cross-sells and upsells, Smart Recommendations involves automatically suggesting a product to go along with the one being purchased. Suggesting socks to go along with a purchase of shoes is an excellent example of a smart recommendation.


Contextual Calls to Action

Using a call to action that is bespoke based on your customer’s browsing habits and keyword triggers. For example, if a customer arrived on the webpage via an email giving a nod to this fact enhances affinity with the brand.


Customer Nurturing Campaigns

A feature in the growth marketers arsenal that focuses on building customer loyalty and long term retention through the long term nurturing of customers who interact with a brand. This is generally done via trigger based email workflows and lapsed customer win back series.

Lastly, older eCommerce sites are becoming instantly noticeable to today’s consumer who are becoming more and more conditioned to expect brands to have an uncanny knack of anticipating their needs. Of course, from our side of the fence it’s simply clever marketing. But often the single biggest upgrade which you can give an existing website is to make a commitment to deliver your information to the right customers, at the right time and with the right context.


Make the Change. Start today

While becoming SCA compliant may seem somewhat of a chore, not only is it necessary but it is actually an opportunity to bring your website up to date and add newer automated marketing features that will engage, convert and delight your customers.

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