March 19, 2010, 12:00 AM

A new web shopping guarantee clicks for 1StopCamera.com

A new online security assurance service and shopping guarantee program has produced a 7% increase in conversion rates at the e-commerce site of 1 Stop Camera, the retailer says.

A new online security assurance service and shopping guarantee program-which pays shoppers up to $25,000 to cover online orders gone bad-has produced a 7% increase in conversion rates at the e-commerce site of 1 Stop Camera, the retailer says.

The multichannel photography products retailer recently conducted an A/B test of buySafe Inc.’s Bonded Merchant program. The test recorded more than 1,000 online orders among 89,000 visitors to 1StopCamera.com, and some test participants were presented the option during checkout to sign up for the buySafe bonding program. Those who were were presented with the option were 7.3% more likely to complete a purchase, compared to those who were not presented the option, says Albert Fouerti, CEO and founder of 1 Stop Camera.

"Implementing buySafe Bonding on our web site was a savvy business move and has provided an immediate impact on our business,” Fouerti says. He declined to disclose the percentage of shoppers that opted for the program.

The buySafe Bonded Merchant program has two components, one related to online security and the other a product and service guarantee.

It provides assurance to shoppers that the merchant web site is secure and protects customer identification information, with up to $20,000 offered to shoppers if their confidential personal data such as payment card account numbers and passwords are stolen, says buySafe president and CEO Jeff Grass. It also provides identity theft victims professional services from buySafe partner Assurant Specialty Property, which will take such steps as working with credit bureaus to remediate a shopper’s credit rating.

In the product and service guarantee, buySafe pays shoppers up to $25,000 to compensate them for online orders that never arrive or shipments of damaged merchandise, Grass says. To carry out the guarantee program, buySafe works with insurance industry partners Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., The Travelers Companies Inc. and Ace USA.

BuySafe, which was founded six years ago, has about 3,000 merchant clients-a business that has grown beyond the company’s initial focus on serving sellers and buyers on eBay.com. “We have bonded more than 20 million online purchases, representing over $1 billion,” Grass says. He notes that buySafe has paid out claims to shoppers on thousands of orders.

The Bonded Merchant program is free to merchants except for the I.T. staff time-20 to 30 hours-that may be required to integrate the program with a retailer’s shopping cart, Grass says. Consumers who opt to purchase the bonding service pay 3% of the purchase price; the merchant then forwards that fee to buySafe.

As an outgrowth of its roots in serving eBay sellers, buySafe’s Bonded Merchant program is pre-integrated with several shopping carts that cater to small merchants. The company is hoping to also pre-integrate with shopping cart platforms designed for larger merchants, Grass says.

BuySafe is also considering a separate version of the Bonded Merchant program that would charge fees directly to merchants instead of to online shoppers, Grass says.

The company is backed by several investors, including Internet security services provider VeriSign Inc. and venture capital firms GroTech Ventures, Core Capital Partners and Hartford Financial Services Co.

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