Yell has commissioned a unique piece of research from Southampton University* which has identified what makes individuals trust one company website rather than another – and, therefore, choose as a supplier. This research has identified that the size of business behind the website does not matter.
This article summarises how size was found as not being an important criteria to trust a business website, and provides a practical checklist for what this means for your business.
Small companies can be chosen in preference to larger companies in the online world. Size seems unimportant. Criteria which are the least important and don’t matter to users when evaluating a potential supplier when looking at their website:
- Size of the organisation
- Videos to illustrate what you get
- Sense of Community
The research results
- In focus groups, in 5 out of 6 cases the smaller company was preferred to the larger company website after a review of the sites. This was a resounding preference for the smaller companies.
- In the quantitative survey where people perceive a company is smaller, they may still choose it. In fact, generally more people will choose the smaller business than will perceive it as the larger company. Customers still preferred the smaller company in 4.5 out of 8 cases.
- Overall, more than half the time, smaller companies seem preferred.
- It’s clear some individuals don’t trust the corporate world very much. Women and those over 45 are particularly sceptical.
Contributors to trust
Criteria which are important to users when evaluating a potential supplier when looking at their website show that size is not as important to the customer as:
- Ease of use
- Easy to find information
- Easy to read descriptions
- Being coherent and Simple
- A good reputation
- Attention to detail
- Customer focus
- A local presence
What this means for your business and website
Review your website to make sure it is:
- Easy to use
- Information is easy to find
- Descriptions of your business and products are easy to read
- It is coherent and simple
- You demonstrate your good reputation with testimonials, reviews, accreditations.
- You check the detail of your site for accuracy.
- You provide informative details from product descriptions, pricing, opening hours, how customers can contact you, what giving you business will mean for them.
- You demonstrate who your customers are and that you understand their needs.
- You demonstrate your local presence.
*The source for this is:
“Website Research project for Yell” by Dr Alan Rae – Ai Consultants, Dr Lisa Harris, Southampton University, June 2011
Summary of research methodology:
(1) selection of sites to be compared from relevant industries (having a consumer rather than a b2b focus) one of which would be a small company and one which would be a larger one from the same sector.
(2) focus groups in London and Brighton plus one for Students in Southampton
(3) online questionnaire