10 e-commerce sites engendering trust

These retailers and deal sites use reviews, user-generated content, supply chain transparency and other tactics to make online shoppers feel more confident about hitting the “buy” button.

So you’re waiting for an e-commerce page to load …

Is your trust in the retailer eroding by the second?

Mine does. And as it turns out, I’m not alone.

Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg — who will present his popular e-commerce and retail podcast with Scot Wingo onsite at Retail’s Digital Summit — says when it comes to trust, retailers manage to blow it in a variety of ways. From a user experience standpoint, that includes how easy — or challenging — it is to make a purchase, how visually attractive the purchasing experience is and how much friction and cognitive load is present.

There some who are absolutely getting it right. Jason, who is senior vice president of commerce and content at Razorfish, highlights a handful of retailers who are experts at engendering trust, demonstrating social proof, being transparent or understanding absolute value. These are the new tenets of meeting today’s consumer expectations, including mine.


There’s just no site more powerful than Amazon when it comes to reviews — or when it comes to understanding how much consumers innately desire to follow the crowd. Visitors to Amazon even review the reviews of others; Hall of Fame reviewer Joanna Daneman, for example, has had more than 83,000 people vote that her reviews are helpful.

Joanna is one of Amazon’s top 10 reviewers, with 3,879 reviews and 83,148 “helpful” votes.

Payment options

Flying in the face of conventional wisdom about creating a frictionless experience, Walmart offers a buy online, pay with cash option to reach those uncomfortable with the idea of using a card online. Fully 4 percent of the company’s online sales — about $600 million each year, Jason says — are made this way. A great many of these consumers still end up paying with credit onsite.

Walmart gives online shoppers the option to pay with cash at a local store.

“People like us”

ModCloth features photos of “people like us” wearing its vintage-style products; this user-generated content includes measurements such as height, waist and bra size to help other consumers feel more comfortable about purchasing. Rent the Runway takes a similar approach and adds body type, weight and category of the event the item was rented for. Golfsmith allows visitors to filter reviews by skill level and frequency of participating in the sport.

ModCloth’s product reviews include customers’ measurements.

Social proof

We can’t underestimate the worth of seeing photos (and implied endorsement) of those in our social circles; that’s why Travelocity shows your Facebook friends’ activity on individual review pages.

Sur la Table includes badges on individual product pages stating which items are most popular in cooking classes.

Sur La Table spotlights products used in its cooking classes.


Daily deal site Meh goes beyond the ho-hum by answering transparency questions such as, “Who’s buying this crap?”

Ikea overcomes worries about posted store inventory not matching reality with a peek at its supply chain. Site visitors can view not only how many pieces are there, but also how many should be in the next few days.

And Everlane continues its “radical transparency” with extensive details about its factories and the costs of production.

Stats for Meh’s daily deal on August 29, 2016.

Some of these companies are established and familiar. Their individual approaches may be, too. But considering these features in the context of engendering trust adds another layer — one that consumers will have noticed, even if retailers haven’t.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Artemis Berry’s story.