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Trust Deficit Rises With Digital Shift

It seems almost illogical that just when consumers are spending record amounts of personal and professional time online and enthusiastically embracing the pandemic’s digital shift, they’re also becoming increasingly leery of with whom they do business.

And yet, research from PYMNTS shows that’s exactly what’s happening. The online trust hurdle is not only getting higher and higher, but the array of “trust traps” that can destroy a good business relationship are spreading and rising.

PYMNTS’ Inspiring Trust In The New Digital Economy report uncovered such findings when it surveyed nearly 2,500 consumers. The study found that whether it’s first impressions or parting sentiments during the checkout or delivery process, trust is a critical but tricky thing to build.

For example, the report found that it’s not enough for merchants looking to succeed in this new digital-first economy to create websites that are visually appealing and easy to use. Firms must also make sure that their sites provide the brand-name buy buttons and payment platforms like Apple Pay or Amazon Pay that consumers know and trust.

And as much as hitting all the right notes on these visual cues can go a long way in making a good first impression, sites must also have features that can help deliver the shopping experiences that consumers expect.

What that means is providing customers with things like real-time order status updates, easy product return, loyalty and rewards programs, strong data security and clear privacy policies, the report found.

The 80/20 Split

The PYMNTS study also revealed that while 20 percent of consumers said visual and social cues are factors in the buying, nearly 80 percent said experiential factors are more important drivers of trust.

Among the digital experiences customers said they valued most are a site’s ease of use, easy product returns, clear delivery status updates as well as good service, guarantees and rewards.

Trust Is the Constant

All of that is clearly on merchants’ minds, as most are acutely aware of the digital shift — and racing to become seamless omnichannel purveyors of excellence.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Patrick Gauthier, vice president of Amazon Pay, said consumers are looking for merchants to trust amid all of the pandemic’s uncertainty.

In fact, he said 85 percent of consumers that Amazon polled rated trust and security as “somewhat” or “very” important in their buying decisions. Additionally, 70 percent said they’d switch away from a seller following an experience that’s disappointing, unpredictable or untrustworthy.

“Trust is the foundation on which commerce is built because without trust, there’s all sorts of breakdown in the relationship between the merchant and the buyer,” Gauthier said.

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