Businesses, take note: Price and convenience do not equal consumer trust

Elizabeth Barry 30 July 2018 NEWS

shopping in a supermarket

Supermarkets may be more trusted than retailers like ASOS, according to new research.

Store presentation and employees are important factors of trust to consumers, so important that Australian consumers rank department stores, supermarkets and pharmacies as being more trusted that online-only retailers and discount stores. The research, from Monash University's Business School, was gathered by asking more than 630 Australian consumers to indicate their trust in several retail businesses to do right by them.

“Surprisingly, despite the e-commerce and online shopping boom, the least trusted retail sector was online-only retailers who were rated well-below their retail counterparts,” said Paolo De Leon, a research consultant in Monash Business School’s Department of Marketing.

According to De Leon, there were differences in trust factors for each type of retailer. For clothing retailers, communications and products are important factors to drive consumer trust. For supermarkets, information security was an important factor. This may relate to a concern around data breaches and a concern for data security around a supermarket's loyalty program.

The preference for physical retailers and security concerns is also found in other markets. The SAI Consumer Trust Index, released in September 2017, found that 43% of customers would never return to a company following a data breach. This research, which surveyed over 3,000 consumers globally from November 2016 to January 2017, also found that a reputation for good quality products and services was the most important factor in building trust in a business.

According to senior research consultant Dr Eloise Zoppos, businesses can use the research to understand the key drivers of trust in their industry and use it in their business strategy, marketing and communications.

Zoppos said that the research found trust had a strong impact on loyalty and likelihood to recommend.

“Trust varies greatly by retail sector. Brands and retailers need to know their trust drivers and which trust levers to pull, as it’s only after that point that an effective trust-building strategy can be developed.”

Most trusted retailers Least trusted retailers Important factors of trust
  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies
  • Sporting goods
  • Computer/technology
  • Department stores
  • Homewares
  • Clothing/accessories
  • Footwear
  • Online-only retailers
  • Discount variety stores
  • Discount department stores
  • Employees
  • Store presentation
  • Product quality and innovativeness
  • Communication
  • Information security

Key takeaways for your business

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