The effectiveness of trustmarks on e-commerce sites depends on customer recognition of the logo, meaning that they are almost useless if you use a lesser known provider. 

Stats from Actual Insights suggest that just a handful of trustmark logos are actually recognised by consumers.

Indeed, 76% of survey respondents had not purchased something because they hadn’t recognised the logo. 

The study tested the responses of users to 20 different trustmark logos: 

Customers recognised several of the logos, but the most well-known were: 

  • McAfee (79%) 
  • Verisign (76%) 
  • Paypal (72%) 
  • BBB (37%)
  • TRUSTe (28%)

Respondents were asked which single logo gave them most reassurance, and the three most recognised ones are clear winners here: 

The results showed a chasm between the top three and the rest: 

  • PayPal (29%)
  • Verisign (25%)  
  • McAfee (23%) 
  • BBB (7%)
  • TRUSTe (3%) 

The survey (of 150 mainly US respondents) which accompanied the Usabilia test also reveals much about consumer attitudes to trustmarks. 

  • 76% said that trust logos did affect their sense of trust in a particular website, which 64% said unknown logos affected their level of trust. 
  • 61% had not made a purchase because no trust logos were visible, while 76% hadn’t because they didn’t recognise the logo. 

The results therefore suggest that

  • Trustmarks do matter. 
  • Only a handful are instantly recognisable. 
  • If your trustmarks aren’t recognisable, then you may be better without them. 

How do consumers decide whether to trust a website they don’t know? 

As the results from a recent Econsultancy / Toluna survey show, trustmarks are significant, though there are other factors when deciding whether to trust a site. 

If you are shopping from a retailer you don’t know well, how would you decide whether to trust the website?

How else can etailers convey trust? 

Apart from trustmarks, there are many other factors that can show consumers that a site is trustworthy:

Clarity of product and price information

Retailers should be upfront about pricing and delivery charges, and the total price of the purchase should be made clear before customers enter the checkout.

Being coy about extra charges or only revealing them at the last possible moment will not make customers trust the site.

Our recent checkout abandonment survey found that 71% are deterred by ‘hidden charges’ when they reach the checkout. 

Provide user reviews

Reviews of both products and retailer can provide more credibility and reassure customers that, since others have has a positive experience, they are safe to shop at a site. 

Clear contact information

If customers can see clear contact details, a telephone number or live chat option especially, then they will feel more confident that they can get in touch if they have any problems when making a purchase. 

An error-free process

Broken links, slow-loading pages, roadblocks in the process, or simple spelling errors will all have customers thinking twice about trusting a site with their card details. 

A good online reputation

If I find a site I haven’t heard of, I’ll often put the brand name into Google and see what comes up.

If customers do this and see any negative comments left on comparison sites, forums, or Twitter etc then they will think twice.


If your site is easy to use and navigate around, customers are more likely to trust it. 

A professional look to the site

Customers will make a judgement about the site as soon as they arrive. If it looks professional and well-designed, then that will increase the trust factor. 

However, if it looks like it was designed 15 years ago, alarm bells may ring: 

Do all e-commerce websites need trustmarks? 

This is debatable, as brand recognition can play a big factor here. I would argue that trustmarks are more significant for smaller and less well-known retailers, as they offer some form of reassurance to first time shoppers. 

After that, a good customer experience will play more of a part in a customer’s decision to make a return purchase. 

If customers are shopping from a known high street retailer’s website, then they recognise the brand, and are predisposed to trust the site. 

Indeed, several well-known retailers, (including Amazon and Tesco) don’t feel it is necessary to display trustmarks at all. And, as these examples show, good checkout design can trump trustmark logos

Is it worth using some trustmark logos? 

If we assume that smaller online retailers need to use trustmarks to reassurance first-time customers, then which trustmarks should they use? 

If customer recognition of some logos is negligent, then why bother at all? Or should SMEs pay extra for PayPal, Verisign or McAffee logos? 

I’d love to read any feedback from retailers on this issue – do trustmarks make a big difference to your conversion rates? Which are the most effective ones to use?