Entrepreneur and former Dragon's Den star James Caan has shared words of advice to heads of IT at small and medium businesses on how to make the most out of their e-tail web sites.
"Once you've mastered your domestic market, the best way to reach a wider international audience is through online business.
"E-tail has been on an upward curve for years and the European market is expected to rise another 13 per cent this year to reach €92bn (£80bn)," said Caan.
He teamed up with security firm Symantec to provide tips on how businesses can maximise the return on their web site investment.
1. Keep your web site protected
Small businesses must ensure that they protect their web site from viruses and other malware that could impact customers and result in the site being blacklisted by search engines.
2. Encrypt customers' personal details
Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to protect online transactions and increase trust in a web site.
3. Use security certificates and trust marks
Ensure the site uses a security certificate to demonstrate to customers that their information is safe, and keep the certificate updated. Expired pop-ups might lead to customers going elsewhere.
4. Protect customer accounts
Usernames and passwords help keep user accounts safe, but add a second layer of authentication, such as asking a security question before a customer enters sensitive information.
5. Boost consumer confidence
Publish security certificates and display contact details to build trust between the business and your customer.
By eliminating high entry costs for big data analysis, you can convert more raw data into valuable business insight.
A discussion of the "risk perception gap", its implications and how it can be closed