A new European trustmark is to be launched with the aim of giving consumers absolute confidence that they are safe when they shop online.
UK e-retail industry association IMRG has teamed up with European trustmark market leader Trusted Shops to create the new Trustmark Online in an alliance unveiled today.
The new trustmark will guarantee that retailers who display it have passed a 70-point audit of their website and business, covering areas from terms and conditions to site and payment security through to fulfillment. In addition, it guarantees consumers their money back should a transaction ever go wrong, through what it promises will be a hassle-free experience.
James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, which already runs the UK-specific Internet Shopping Is Safe accreditation scheme, believes that the trustmark is a crucial step in encouraging more consumers to buy over the internet, particularly those who currently will not shop online because they simply do not trust the technology.
“It provides absolute confidence,” he said. He added: “We have compelling data which shows that the future of retail customer relationships is online. Our research reveals that retailers need to address the security and certainty concerns of their online audience – which is international now, not just within the borders of a city or country.”
The new scheme, he believed, would answer a need for consumers to be reassured about online shopping. "What Europe needs to work as a marketplace is a proposition consumers can relax and rely on. Consumers don’t want to think about trusted schemes – they just want the market to work and to think that someone is taking care of this for them.”
Jean-Marc Noël, managing director of Trusted Shops, said the need for a strong, single European trustmark was clear. “Online retailers throughout Europe need to expand their market and target customers outside of their own country,” he said. “Without ecommerce, this is a prohibitively expensive venture; safe, secure online shopping gives these organisations the opportunity to sell to more customers, and gives shoppers the confidence to buy.”
Malcolm Harbour, MEP and chairman of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, said: “Our Committee has been calling for more intensive efforts to raise consumer confidence to boost internet shopping especially across Single Market borders. This new collaboration should have the scale to promote Trustmarks to consumers and encourage more take up by retailers."
Trusted Shops was founded in Germany in 2000 and today operates in 11 European countries. To date it has accredited more than 10,000 retailers.