Thursday, February 22, 2024

Supermarkets more trusted than online-only giants

Most consumers trust supermarkets more than online-only retail giants, new research has found.

According to Monash University Business School’s Australian Consumer, Retail, and Services (ACRS) Consumer Retail Trust Index 2018, consumers see online-retail and discount-variety stores as the least trustworthy of the retail industry.

“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 Research Consultant Paolo De Leon at the ACRS research unit.

“Unlike with the retail industry overall, when it comes to clothing retailers, communication and products are also key in driving trust. This differs again for supermarkets, where we saw trust in information security emerge as important.”

Fears around computer hacking and personal data breaches are stronger than ever. Customers want to feel sure the information they give as part of supermarket rewards schemes is secure.

However, it was a different story in clothing, footwear and personal accessories. Here, communication and products, rather than data security, are the key trust factors.

Overall, the research shows that Australians value five key retail trust attributes:

  • Employees
  • Store presentation
  • Product quality and innovativeness
  • Communications
  • Information security.

ACRS Senior Research Consultant Dr Eloise Zoppos says the research highlights the need for retailers to understand the factors driving consumer trust. These can then help them refine their 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,” Dr Zoppos said.

“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.”

More than 630 Australian consumers took part in the study survey. It asked them to indicate their faith in several retail businesses “to do what is right”.

For comparison, ACRS also collected trust ratings in automotive, food and beverage, media and entertainment, and financial services.

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