1. Trustworthiness is a Function of Time and Specific Formal
Characteristics of SitesIn order for trust to occur, individuals first rely on certain forms being followed. Over time,reliance on these forms gives way to a reliance on experience. Such experience is a necessity fortrue trust to develop.
2. Six Fundamental “Forms” Communicate Trustworthiness
Brand, navigation, fulfillment, presentation, up-to-date technology and the logos of securityguaranteeing firms constitute the essential formal characteristics of Web sites that communicatetrustworthiness to visitors. These six forms, in turn, can be divided into a total of 28 componentsthat can be used to communicate trustworthiness.
3. E-Commerce Trust Begins in Chaos and Ends in Trustworthiness
Consumers see the world of the Web as one of chaos, offering both possibilities and threats. Onlyafter they believe they have secured control over their own personal data within the system, arethey willing to begin to try out e-commerce. While trust develops over time, communicatingtrustworthiness must occur as soon as interaction with a site begins.
4. Effective Navigation is Generally a Precondition to Communicating ECommerce Trust and the Perception that Sites Meet Consumer Needs
…Effective navigation is a necessary pre-condition to successfully communicating thetrustworthiness of a site. Having a well-known brand is also tremendously important. Generallyspeaking, effective navigation combined with a well-known brand is the best way ofcommunicating trustworthiness. Combining strong navigation with effective fulfillment can alsoachieve this
.… and a Lesser-Known Brand Must Have Quality Navigation andFulfillment to CompeteFor lesser-known brands, navigation of and fulfillment from their Web site play significant rolesin establishing trust. Any new Web-based brand MUST build in excellent navigation andfulfillment if it is to be trusted.
5. Web-Based Seals of Approval Matter More than Credit Card Brands inCommunicating Trustworthiness
…The presence of credit card symbols do little to communicate trustworthiness, even though they’reuniversally recognized by consumers. In contrast, Web-based “security brand” seals of approval,such as VeriSign, when recognized, DO communicate trustworthiness. Given the choice, smartWeb retailers will place security brand logos on their sites.eCommerce Trust Study January 1999© 1999 Cheskin Research and Studio Archetype/Sapient 4…but Their Technology Matters Even MoreOn the other hand, consumers want to see that specific security brands use technologiesunderstood to be important to security, such as encryption. Savvy security brands will work toequate their brands with such technologies, and explicitly mention their use of these technologies.
6. The Most Trusted Web Brands Are Well-Known Brands
…Seven of the 12 most trusted brand names in e-commerce originated on the Web. Regardless ofwhere a brand established itself, however, one key aspect of establishing trust with consumers isthe reputation of a brand, together, in many cases, with personal experience
.… and the Least-Trusted Sites Aren’t Well-KnownAll of the least-trusted sites on the Web originated there. Virtually none are well-known, however.Generally speaking, a site that has never been visited and isn’t well-known is unlikely to be atrusted site.
7. Trustworthiness Isn’t the Most Important Attribute a Site Can Possess, Iut It’s Still Fundamental
While trustworthiness matters, it’s not necessarily the key attribute of a brand in cyberspace.Strong fulfillment and navigation are key, independent of trust issues. In addition, overall value,selection and lower cost all can be more important. Trustworthiness, however, is oftencommunicated when other fundamental needs are met, such as effective fulfillment. Consequently,taking steps that communicate trustworthiness simultaneously satisfies many of the other needsexpressed by consumers.
8. Effective Navigation Key to Meeting Needs
Beyond the question of communicating trustworthiness, consumers rely on the quality ofnavigation, more so than other components, to tell them if a site is likely to meet their needs.
9. Clearly-Stated Policies, Limited Information Requests and Guarantees Are Keys to Future Growth
To maximize growth, brands focusing on e-commerce need to address concerns about security andprivacy. Some things that an e-commerce site can do to address security and privacy concerns are:• Clearly state their policies on security and encryption;• Ask for only necessary information;• Provide shipping and return guarantees; and• Provide good communication with consumers.eCommerce Trust Study January 1999© 1999 Cheskin Research and Studio Archetype/Sapient 5
10. Consumers Expect the Future of E-Commerce to be Like the Present
Generally speaking, consumers expect that they’ll be engaging in e-commerce in much the sameways they are today — buying books, CDs and software. Some product categories, such asjewelry and groceries, are expected to do poorly on the Web.
11. Brand Now Matters More than Medium
Seven of the 12 most trusted sites originated on the Web and have no presence outside of it. Inaddition, 3 of the five dirt-world sites most trusted by consumers aren’t seen as particularlyappealing sites from which to purchase.
In addition, some Web-based brands, such as Amazon.com, have established brands with moredesirable attributes than their traditional retail competitors. Increasingly, these Web-based brandscould snare a significant market share if they choose to open traditional retail outlets. Overall, wefound that brand attributes increasingly matter more than the medium in which they areestablished. This suggests that traditional retailers need to see Web retailers as a far moredangerous threat than they have previously.