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Trust still a hurdle for online-only retailers

Despite the growth of e-commerce, consumers still rate online-only retailers like Asos and The Iconic as the least trustworthy in the industry, according to new research from Monash University.

The finding is based on a recent survey of more than 630 Australian consumers by Monash University Business School’s Australian Consumer, Retail, and Services (ACRS) research unit, which asked respondents to indicate their faith in various retail businesses to do what is right.

Online-only retailers, discount variety stores and discount department stores ranked as the least trustworthy, while supermarkets, pharmacies, department stores and other specialty retailers, including clothing, homewares and sporting goods retailers, were the most trusted retailers.

Dr Eloise Zoppos, Senior Research Consultant at the ACRS research unit, said the research highlights the need for retailers to understand the factors driving consumer trust, which can then help to refine their business operations, including marketing campaigns and communications strategies.

“Our research found that trust has a strong impact on loyalty and likelihood to recommend, including the Net Promoter Score – a tool used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships,” Zappos said.

But while a retail store presence and employees are key when it comes to trust in the overall retail industry, these weren’t necessarily influencing factors of trust in specific retail sectors.

Key trust factors for clothing, footwear and personal accessories retailers, for instance, were communication and products, while data security was the key trust factor supermarkets, where customers want to be reassured that the data they provide as part of their local supermarket rewards scheme is secure.

“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,” she said.

The ACRS research unit identified five key retail trust attributes: employees, store presentation, product quality and innovativeness, communications and information security.



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