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Building trust in your business

Building trust in your business
Summary: We take a look at how trust factors have evolved as we emerge from the pandemic.

YouGov’s recent Retail Rankings Survey ranks brands based on Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend & Reputation, and shows surprisingly little change to previous years:

YouGov Retail Rankings Sept 21


Are these brands the UK’s most trusted though?

Retail Week’s recent report created through research from Okta, says not necessarily.

With 88% of respondents saying that they are unlikely to buy from a brand they don’t trust, maybe this is the beginning of change for the UK’s biggest retailers. The report explores how trust factors have evolved over the period of the pandemic, and cites data breaches, missed deliveries and delayed refunds as critical factors in compromising shopper trust.

The results are still highly recognizable brands, and heavily grocery led, but also include online only players, with reasons for voting for consumer favourites extending beyond price/value and achievement of “first time, on time, in full delivery” into actions businesses have taken to drive CSR and sustainability initiatives, particularly during the pandemic.


The top 10 most trusted retail brands in the UK :

Most trusted UK retailers Source : Otka survey – Oct 21

It’s also great to see some fashion brands in the top 20 – ASOS’s carbon footprint reduction, Primark’s “what you see is what you get” attitude, New Look’s presence on local high streets and H&M’s reputation as the UK’s most sustainable fashion retailer have all won consumers hearts and trust.

The report also demonstrates a trust dichotomy – 72% of respondents said they trust physical shops over any other channel – face to face interaction remains an important factor in nurturing trust –  but when they ranked industries based on which they trusted most with their data, only 42% of people voted for Retail as an industry as 7/10 or above. There is certainly room for improvement.

Register to download the full report here.


Building Trust Online

With 50% of UK consumers saying they are still concerned about shopping in store this Christmas, and 30% saying they will shop Click and Collect (Sensormatic Survey Sept 21), there is continued pressure to make digital services, particularly use of customer data, more trustworthy.

When Apple and Google started to introduce their improved privacy settings earlier this year, the Digital Marketing world was awash with articles about how the changes would negatively impact the efficacy of online advertising.

However, Think Google’s latest research shows that people are comfortable to provide personal information to companies that they trust, as long as they know how it will be used and what they’ll get in return. Google’s take-outs are :

Make it meaningful – people find ads useful when they are tailored to their interests and buying mindset. Education and entertainment are important methods of engagement.

Make it memorable – people prefer to buy from companies that are clear, open and honest about how they collect data and why. If consumers recall giving you their data and why you plan to use it, they’ll be happier to buy from you.

Make it manageable – people are 3 times more likely to respond positively to advertising when they feel a sense of control over how their data is used by the advertiser


Which advertising channels endorse trust?

Another YouGov survey in Jan 21 suggests there is some correlation between trusted advertising channels and key retailers’ advertising behaviour. Television and Radio is still favoured by the UK public, whilst less regulated channels such as Direct Mail, Websites and Social Media are felt to be brand building as opposed to trust building.

Which advertising channels do people in the UK trust?

Only 10% of UK adults surveyed said they trust Social Media advertising – the lowest out of any country surveyed, with the highest being India (48%) and UAE (45%). Personally, I suspect that the use of Social Media in UK & US politics has taken it’s toll recently. That said, with Gen Z now using Social Media more for their World News feed than TV, along with the advancements in privacy controls, trust in Social Media will undoubtedly rapidly improve.



Delivering on your brand promises has always been critical in building consumer trust. Similarly, a genuine heartfelt apology and appropriate remediation when things go wrong really helps.

Winning trust in today’s world is broader than this though – consumers are also interested in privacy and data handling, as well as your sustainability credentials. Trust and Respect are now inextricably linked.


WSI Digital Advisors are a full service Digital Marketing Consultancy, with specialisms in Retail, Retail Services and ECommerce.

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