More than a third of consumers regard customer reviews as the number one factor that makes them trust an online store. According to new research by GetApp, just a quarter of consumers indicated that secure browsing (including the presence of https) was most important to them when shopping online.

Key findings

  • For 33.8 percent of consumers, customer reviews are the most important feature that makes them trust eCommerce stores when shopping online.
  • A quarter of consumers say that secure browsing is the most important trustworthy feature of an online store.
  • Almost 1 in 6 consumers favor a clean website design, layout, and navigation when assessing the trustworthiness of a website.
  • Only one in ten of consumers say that the ease of contacting a company is the most important factor that makes them trust shopping on a website.
  • Almost 15 percent of consumers value accurate and up-to-date content as the benchmark of a trustworthy online store.

Late last year, Gartner wrote about the importance of trustworthiness in digital commerce, predicting that “by 2020, companies that are digitally trustworthy will generate 20 percent more online profit than those that are not”.

This research, combined with our own survey, suggests that businesses need to consider how potential customers view their online stores in terms of trustworthiness in order to effect more profit and attract and retain customers. This is an ambition which more than half of small businesses said was their number one priority, GetApp reported in late 2016.

What should small businesses prioritize to ensure consumer trust in eCommerce?

For consumers, handing over their money to a cashier in a brick-and-mortar store gives them more peace of mind than filling in their payment details online; in traditional stores, money is safely transferred to the cash register, and they’re physically handed their receipt for the transaction.

If there are any issues with their goods, then going back to the store to resolve them (for refunds, returns, queries, etc) isn’t a big problem. The exchange of goods and money is instantaneous, and their issues will be dealt with by people, in person.

People are far more wary when shopping online, due to concerns of identity theft, credit card fraud, and insecurity over the reliability of the company. As the online store is somewhat ‘intangible’, consumers have less on which to assess its trustworthiness. Potential customers look to a variety of factors such as design and content to judge your store.

However, as our survey determines that customer reviews are the most important factor for consumers, let’s dig a little deeper into why customer reviews are so important in helping to improve trust in your eCommerce store:


Details of the research:

Respondents answered the question: “When shopping online which one of the following features of an online store makes you trust it the most?”

#1. Customer reviews – 33.8%

#2. Secure browsing (e.g. the presence of https) – 25.3%

#3. Clean website design, layout, and navigation – 15.4%

#4. Accurate and up-to-date content – 14.6%

#5. Easy to contact the company – 10.8%

Demographics: Over 200 US-based consumer respondents. Respondents are all aged over 18 and have an average inferred annual income of $24k – $150k.


Are you interested in getting access to more original research like this? Sign up to our free email newsletter and we’ll keep you up-to-date with our latest B2B and B2C surveys, data, and analysis.