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Online retail rated third least trusted industry in APAC

Just over half of consumers around the world (56 per cent) say online retail is a trustworthy industry. That number is even lower in APAC, where just 49 per cent of consumers say online retail is a trustworthy industry.

The statistics are from SAI Global’s inaugural Consumer Trust Index, which shows that bricks-and-mortar retail still holds sway over the majority of shoppers today.

Retail (understood to mean bricks-and-mortar retail) was rated as the fourth most trustworthy industry globally by 70 per cent of consumers, behind farmers, healthcare and postal service. In APAC, it was the third most trustworthy industry, behind farmers and healthcare.

SAI Global conducted the yearlong survey of 3,035 consumers around the world to help businesses understand how trust is lost and restored, and how to build and protect it.

“With technology rapidly altering and expanding public access to information, understanding consumer trust and knowing how to protect it is imperative,” said Peter Granat, CEO of SAI Global.

“Trust is a powerful, valuable and fragile business asset – once lost, it can be difficult to win back.”

The most important factors in gaining customers’ trust are a reputation for good quality products and services (88 per cent) and transparency and ethical behaviour (83 per cent).

Meanwhile, just under half of survey respondents (43 per cent) say they would never return to a company following a data breach. Poor customer experience (31 per cent) and poor treatment of employees (29 per cent) would also keep customers away.

“Today’s consumers wield enormous power in the trust relationship, which is why it’s so important to understand and protect their trust – particularly during times of crisis,” said Granat.


The report highlights three key areas that can help businesses minimise the loss of trust and protect it going forward.

  1. Handle failure well

Forty-seven percent of consumers strongly believe that trust can be won back if responsibility for a failure is acknowledged, systems to prevent repeat errors are established and quality service is ongoing. Companies that are vigilant in their response to crises and use a risk management framework to prepare and guide them through, are more likely to win back the trust of their customers.

  1. Embed a risk-aware culture

Eighty-two percent of consumers believe excellent customer service and providing quality goods and services are signs of trustworthiness. The use of quality management systems that embed a risk-aware culture are essential for companies to deliver a positive customer experience and build trust.

  1. Take an intelligent risk approach

Taking an intelligent risk approach – identifying, managing and optimising risks – will help organisations minimise consumer trust issues. This enables organisations to focus on strategic goals, understand their risk appetite and allow them to take advantage of opportunities – all while building trust with their customers.

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