A huge selection, permanent availability and comfort: these are the main features of online shopping making it so popular among consumers. However, these very features also lead to consumers perceiving a higher level of risk when shopping online than in traditional shops.
Reduce risk perception
That’s where trust comes into play thanks to its deciding role in reducing the perceived risk. Trust is therefore crucial for success in e-commerce. It is indeed an integral part of a successful marketing strategy, because success in e-commerce means being able to reduce the risk consumers perceive when shopping online.
The notion of trust is therefore key since it serves as an effective mechanism to reduce risk perception. Online retailers can build trust mostly through reputation which is best achieved through transparency. As an online retailer, transparency is achieved by integrating customer reviews. It is a universally accepted truth: public reviews lead to an increase in sales, as all statistics show.
“Communication makes no sense if trust is lacking”
Customer trust in the field of e-commerce has frequently been the subject of research which has shown that a consumer’s trustful buying intention largely depends on the retailer’s trustworthy attitude. Reputation plays an even more important role if a consumer has little or no experience with a particular online retailer.
Franz Kafka: “Communication makes no sense if trust is lacking.”
According to the psychotherapist and management consultant Dr. Alfried Längle, “trust is not just an existential emotion but an act of consent whereby one chooses to rely exclusively on an existing structure to overcome the perceived lack of security (risk)”.
A fundamental value
In professional and private life alike, trust is therefore an important component from which self-confidence and, as a consequence, performance derive. That is why we value trust so much.
Trust gets us closer and makes us stronger not just from a personal point of view but also in dealing with others. We all experience trust as a fundamental value, no matter if we trust somebody or somebody trusts us, in professional and private life, in dealing with friends and colleagues or with products and brands.
Lao-Tzu (Chinese philosopher): “Where trust is missing, it is suspicion talking”.
It is quite surprising that such a deeply emotional notion can be connected to the hard facts of business, isn’t it? How can the belief that something (a company/a brand/a product/a service) or somebody (an entrepreneur/an employee/a seller) is real and honest (=trustworthy) ultimately be the deciding factor in an otherwise fully rational business sector where statistics, sales figures and profit margins largely determine every-day life?
Dr Baldur Kirchner, professor of personal development, defines trust as “the emotional ability fully to rely on somebody else giving up whatever control or protection”.
In e-commerce, quality seals contribute to building trust, especially if your shop is new or still unknown. Indeed, an investigation carried out in spring 2016 by Dr Grieger & Co. from the Hamburger Markforschungsinstitut showed that the purchase probability increases by 4.2% on average if a range of products bears a quality seal.