WHY BRAND TRUST MATTERS IN RETAIL & E-COMMERCE

Consumer trust in the retail space held steady throughout the global pandemic, even as retail sales slipped and thousands of stores were forced to shutter.

Average trust of retailers -- the share who say they trust a retailer on Morning Consult Brand Intelligence, the company’s flagship platform which collects and organizes nearly 12,000 survey responses every day for thousands of brands in 15 countries, minus the share who say they distrust that retailer -- has stayed relatively stable for the past three years.

Average net trust by industry

(Respondents who offered no opinion or said they weren’t sure of their trust level of a brand were not calculated in average net trust nor in top brands in consumer trust.)


WHAT IT MEANS:

That retailers emerged from the past 15 months with no deterioration in consumer trust shows they balanced high demand, low supply and the needs of consumers who typically don’t buy much online. Overall, a positive sign for the industry.

WHAT'S MORE:

Grocery stores quickly and efficiently worked to become an oasis of safety and a provider of necessary products during an uncertain time, remaining open due to their “essential” federal status when other retailers shut their doors in early 2020. Grocery stores’ role during the crisis, paired with many brands’ adaptation of safety policies to protect consumers, lead to an increase in consumer trust. As the country’s crisis mode has softened, so has consumers’ focus on grocery stores, resulting in a slight downtick in trust.


Home improvement brands have earned consumers’ highest trust: Home Depot, Lowe’s and Ace Hardware are among the top five of Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Retail Brands.

THE 20 MOST TRUSTED RETAIL AND GROCERY BRANDS


WHAT IT MEANS:

More time at home meant more time spent on home improvement projects, which contributed in part to home improvement retailers’ top spots on the list. But these brands have also for years invested in key trust builders -- good customer service, a straightforward return process -- in addition to pairing their thousands of stores with a big online presence.

YES BUT:

Home Depot’s major data breach in 2014, which impacted 40 million consumers, proves that a brand can recover from a “trust breaker.” Remember: Consumers can have short memories when it comes to scandals.


BEHIND THE DATA:

While many consumers continued to frequent grocery stores in person, droves went online. Forty-four percent of the country said they've ordered groceries online, ever, and another 41 percent said they have used a grocery app, including 62 percent of millennials.

Up Next: The Current State of Consumer Trust in Retail and E-commerce

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