Which retailers do you trust?

Lots of trust from consumers

Trust is a big issue for large UK retailers at the moment. From rising food prices post-Brexit to the #StopFundingHate campaign, customers’ trust seems to be under constant pressure. Retailers know if they lose the battle for trust, their market share will slide.

The latest research from Mettle measures customer trust in some of the leading retailers over the past 12 months to predict like-for-like market share growth. The overall findings suggest customers currently find Ikea and Aldi the most trustworthy retailers. Tesco and Sainsbury’s are net neutral trustworthy and Morrisons and John Lewis have been losing trust with customers. The effects on market share correlate as you’d expect.

Trust is measured using our ABC model. In UK retailing, trust is driven predominantly by Ability trust (‘does the brand work for me?’) and Consistency trust (‘does the brand work for me over time?’). Less important is Beliefs trust (‘do I care about the brand?’).

Aldi scored highly on Ability trust for perceived affordability, whereas Sainsbury’s scored poorly for its range. Tesco scored highly on Beliefs trust for its work tackling food waste whereas John Lewis was hit hard by #StopFundingHate. Ikea scored highly on Consistency trust for its in-store experience.

To build trust, brands need to focus on the trust drivers most relevant to them. For example, Tesco needs to improve its Ability trust score by reworking its ad campaign, while Sainsbury’s needs to rethink its range of products.

Focusing on customer experience would bring the quickest benefits to Morrisons in rebuilding its Consistency trust score. On the other hand, John Lewis’s Consistency score would be restored by improving its delivery services. Lastly, Ikea can take a page out of Aldi’s book and build its Beliefs trust score by highlighting the community engagement that underpins its Beliefs trust score.

The research is based on relevant publicly available digital conversations about the brand from traditional (national newspapers, trade press, local press) and social (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, forums) media. This comprises more than 500,000 brand-specific relevant conversations. A net trust score is calculated, correlated against market share data from Kantar Worldpanel, and benchmarked to the sector average to give an indication of direction and likelihood of like-for-like sales growth per quarter.

As retailers learned during the 2013 horsemeat scandal, trust can evaporate quickly. The opportunity presented by the explosion in shared digital conversations is that retailers can now understand quickly what drives it. So they can now build trust proactively rather than wondering where it all went.

Dr Andrew Tucker, founder and CEO, Mettle.