Building Merchant Trust Among New Digital-First Consumers


PYMNTS research finds that roughly 40 percent of all U.S. consumers who shifted to digital commerce during the spring — approximately 99 million people — don’t plan to resume regular in-store shopping after the COVID-19 incident is declared over. For them, stores are “over.”

That’s more than a reset of commerce. It’s a mass economic migration.

Inspiring Trust In The New Digital Economy Report, a new report from PYMNTS, studies suddenly dominant eCommerce, and how merchants can reinvent themselves accordingly.

“Twenty percent of all consumers rely on visual and social cues to determine which brands to trust when shopping online, looking for sites that are not only visually appealing and easy to use but also ones that offer familiar payment options such as digital wallets,” the report says.

Friends and family continue to carry weight with consumers trying new brands, but “having a positive first-time shopping experience with a merchant just might be the most important factor in establishing a long-term customer-merchant relationship, as 24 percent of consumers cite it as the most important factor in helping them build trust in their eCommerce sites,” according to Inspiring Trust In The New Digital Economy and its insights on this critical topic.

Who’s Who, And Visual Cues

In order to cater to digital shifters, it’s a good idea to know something about them.

“Digital shifters are more likely to be women, for example, with 59 percent being female and 41 percent being male. They are also more likely to be baby boomers and seniors than they are to represent any other age group, with 36 percent of all shifters coming from that demographic,” per the report.

Researchers also found that millennials are the second-biggest generational move, with 30 percent of all shifters being millennials. “Generation X and bridge millennials follow, comprising 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively, of all consumers who have gone from shopping in stores to shopping online during the six months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.”

Among the overlapping generational groups, commonalities exist, and this is where merchants and sellers should focus as they seek to establish trusting commercial relationships.

“Visual and social cues … are important to consumers of all ages and income brackets, albeit to varying degrees. Generation Z and millennials put more stock in sites’ usability, design and reputation than consumers in any other generation, with 32 percent and 27 percent, respectively, saying that factors like these are the most important for feeling more confident in a site’s trustworthiness,” the report states. “Bridge millennials and Gen X are the third- and fourth-most likely age groups to say that visual and social cues are the most important for merchants to offer to earn their trust, with 24 percent and 15 percent, respectively, saying so.”

eCommerce First Impressions Matter

Intuitive websites and dazzling mobile apps are indispensable now, but voice commerce ends up being a major focal point of post-pandemic eCommerce, and a core component of the new experiences that consumers are demanding from online interactions.

Our research shows that 13 percent of all consumers — some 32 million people in the U.S. — used voice assistants to make a purchase during the 90 days prior to our survey.

“Merchants looking to succeed in this new digital-first economy must not only create websites that are both visually appealing and easy-to-use but also make sure that those sites provide the brand-name buy buttons and payment platforms that consumers know and trust,” according to Inspiring Trust In The New Digital Economy.

“Hitting all the right notes on these visual cues can go a long way in making a good first impression on first-time shoppers, and they must be accompanied with shopping features that can help deliver the shopping experiences consumers expect.”

Real-time order status updates, easy product returns, integrated loyalty and rewards and ironclad data policies all contribute to engendering trust among the new digital consumer.



Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border.

Together with Visa, PYMNTS invites you to a month-long series of livestreamed programs on these issues as they reshape B2B payments. Masters of modernization share insights and answer questions during a mix of intimate fireside chats and vibrant virtual roundtables.