How third-party certification programs relate to consumer trust in online transactions: An exploratory study

Document Type


Publication Date



Consumer fears about Internet security and ordering over the Internet can influence online buying behavior, and these fears may be exacerbated by increasing attention to identity theft. A key strategy to increase consumer trust in ordering has been participation in third-party certification programs. This study presents a model describing the relationship between third-party identifying logos, trust transfer, and trust buildup and tests the model with data collected by an online survey. The results support hypotheses that perceptions of third-party logos are related to intensity of seal exposure, importance of trust factors in online shopping, and disposition toward third-party certification. Also, such perceptions and the current level of consumer trust in general in online shopping are positively related to transfer of trust from certification to online e-marketers. Prior research found that validating logos does not increase transfer of trust; a post-hoc analysis revealed that this finding is dependent on type of logo. The findings indicate that Web site certification can reassure potential customers and increase the probability of purchase.




This article is the authors' final published version in Psychology & Marketing, Volume 25, Issue 9, September 2008, Pages 839-858.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.20243. Copyright © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.