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How to Build Customer Trust in Retail


“Trust blossoms when companies prioritize it, develop strategies to build it, track metrics that can show them when and where to change course and then consistently apply those learnings over not just days and weeks but years and decades.” – Hayden Harrison.


Consumer trust drives purchasing decisions, creates loyalty, and enhances the overall shopping experience.

However, when trust is lost, it damages a brand’s reputation, leading to decreased sales and challenges in attracting and retaining customers.

Retailers like Amazon, Zappos, Costco, and L.L.Bean invest heavily in building trust through customer-centric policies and transparent practices.

This article explores the vital role customer trust plays in retail. It highlights retailers investing significantly in cultivating trust and provides tips for its development and maintenance.


What is Customer Trust in Retail?

Customer trust in retail refers to the confidence and reliance that shoppers have in a brand or store.

Trust signifies the belief customers have in the retailer’s integrity, reliability, and the quality of their products or services. 

Why is Customer Trust Important in Retail?

Customer trust is vital in retail businesses as it directly influences purchasing decisions. Therefore, prioritizing trust enables retailers to build lasting relationships with customers, encouraging repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. 

What Happens When Customers Lose Trust in a brand?

When customers lose trust in a brand or store, it harms its reputation, impacts sales, and makes it difficult to attract and retain customers.

Negative word-of-mouth and social media backlash can exacerbate the situation, further damaging the brand’s image and hindering recovery.

In short, losing customer trust has profound and lasting consequences, affecting revenue, employee morale, and brand value. 

What Does the Data Tell Us about Customer Trust?

  • 83% of consumers say they will not do business with brands they don’t trust. (Source: Gartner)
  • 67% of consumers must trust the brand before they’ll continue buying its products or services. (Source: Edelman)
  • 81% of consumers must be able to trust that a brand will do what is right. (Source: Finances Online)
  • 50% of consumers would pay more to buy from a brand they trust. (Source: Salsify) 

What companies invest a lot of time, energy and money in trust?


Amazon’s emphasis on customer-centric policies like hassle-free returns, fast shipping, and responsive customer service, has built a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness.

Amazon’s customer-centric infrastructure ensures that customers feel confident in their purchases and shopping experience. 


Known for its exceptional customer service and emphasis on creating a positive shopping experience, Zappos invests heavily in building trust with its customers.

A notable example is the company’s renowned 365-day return policy, which allows customers to return products with no questions asked, demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction and building long-term trust with shoppers. 


Costco invests in customer trust by maintaining a strong emphasis on product quality and value. For instance, the company carefully selects suppliers and rigorously tests products to ensure they meet high standards, providing customers with confidence in the quality and reliability of the items they purchase from Costco.

What’s more, the company’s generous return policy, member-focused approach, and commitment to ethical business practices contribute to building trust among its members, stakeholders, leading to strong customer loyalty, and reputation for excellence. 


L.L.Bean demonstrates its commitment to customer trust through its legendary satisfaction guarantee. An example is the company’s lifetime return policy, where customers can return products at any time, for any reason, exemplifying L.L.Bean’s dedication to standing behind the quality and durability of its products and fostering trust among its customer base.

Best Practices for Building & Maintaining Trust

Tips and Best Practices for Building & Maintaining Trust

  • Prioritize Customer Service Excellence:
    • Train staff to deliver exceptional service.
    • Empower employees to resolve issues swiftly.
    • Ensure consistent, friendly interactions at all touchpoints.
  • Transparent Communication:
    • Provide clear information about products and policies.
    • Be honest about any changes or issues.
    • Maintain open channels for customer feedback and concerns.
  • Consistent Quality Assurance:
    • Offer high-quality proven products and services.
    • Regularly assess and improve product standards.
    • Address any quality concerns promptly and effectively.
  • Build Community Engagement:
    • Participate in local events and initiatives.
    • Support causes aligned with customer values.
    • Foster a sense of belonging and connection.
  • Honesty in Marketing:
    • Avoid misleading or exaggerated claims.
    • Highlight genuine customer testimonials and reviews.
    • Be transparent about pricing and promotions. 



Remember, customer trust is earned when companies take customer feedback seriously and then act on it. If enough people acknowledge the same pain point or issue in their reviews, do something about it. – Court Bishop. 



Customer trust is the cornerstone of successful retail operations, driving purchasing decisions and fostering loyalty among shoppers.

However, when trust is compromised, it jeopardizes a brand’s reputation, leading to decreased sales and customer retention challenges.

Recognizing the significance of trust, retailers like Amazon, Zappos, Costco, and L.L.Bean invest heavily in customer-centric practices to cultivate lasting relationships.

Thus, by prioritizing transparency, quality, and community engagement, retailers can build and maintain trust, ensuring sustained success in the competitive retail landscape.


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