Research Indicates Consumers Have Little Trust in Retailers

According to a recent study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers that feel as if a retailer has taken special steps to keep their account safe are more likely to shop at that store. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is interesting to see the facts discovered through this survey, which was conducted in February of this year.

The survey found that the majority of consumers also feel as if retailers are equally responsible for protecting account information. In addition, they held credit card companies, banks, and processors accountable for keeping this information safe. Despite their belief that retailers are of equal responsibility, most consumers feel as if the retailers are not carrying their weight. Perhaps this perception was spurred by the recent TJX scandal, but it may also be a perception that was developing long before this major security breach took place.

According to the survey, which involved talking to 1,200 consumers via telephone, 63% of those surveyed felt retailers were the weakest link in the chain of security. 16% felt credit card processing companies were the weakest link, while 5% felt networks such as MasterCard and Visa were most at fault. This figure tied with the banks that issue the checks for last place.

When viewing these figures, it should come as no surprise that 49% of consumers said they would consider the retailer the most likely cause for a breach of their account information.

Retailers should pay close attention to these findings and should even incorporate some of the information found into their marketing campaigns. For example, 85% of those surveyed stated they would most likely shop more often at a store that was known for being a leader in account information security and had an excellent record of doing so. Conversely, 20% of those responding said they would continue shopping with a retailer that had encountered a known security breach – 78% said they wouldn’t continue shopping at the store at all.

95% of those surveyed also stated they felt it was important for banks to notify them about data breaches and to tell them the name of the retailer with whom the breach occurred. Frankly, I am surprised that only 95% of respondents felt this way, unless those that did not feel this way felt it was someone else’s responsibility to notify cardholders. In my opinion, cardholders have the right to be notified – and in a timely manner – so they can make financial decisions that will help keep them protected.

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