Reply is the place to meet an incredible variety of enthusiastic, passionate, ideas-driven people, who want to make a difference and an impact.Would you like to know more?
It’s never been better to be a consumer than today; new digital business models mean that brands come to us (we don’t need to go to shops anymore if we don’t want to), they’re answerable to us (through Twitter, Facebook, reviews and ratings) and the opening up of the global market place means prices have never been cheaper.
But has all this digital disruption brought with it feelings of anxiety about how our data is being used, whether the reviews we’re reading are fake, and how far we’re willing to give up control to save time and effort buying things.
Who and what can we trust?
Trust is everywhere around us right now. Retail has not been immune. In recent years, we have witnessed the horsemeat scandal, retail workers’ working conditions criticised and suppliers complaining about onerous Supermarket contracts.
But what about consumers and technology? How has trust been impacted by the unprecedented levels of data being shared, new technologies such as apps and location-based services, and the rise of online reviews?
Trust has been historically generated via a high-touch, brand-led relationship, but increasingly is being generated within a high-performance executional relationship.
We believe that delivering a superb end to end customer experience that helps to build trust, is increasingly about execution, with technology supporting the experience all the way.
However, whilst we have seen that adoption of ecommerce amongst consumers is huge and unprecedented, technology is still feared and misunderstood by consumers, and if we don’t position innovation correctly, this can lead to mistrust.
There are therefore different manifestations of trust, falling into two main camps: Reputational trust and Executional-earned trust.
Reputational trust is a form of trust derived from going above-and-beyond, and creating strong emotional bonds. This derives from the brand, advertising, and from personal encounters with engaged and helpful service agents.
Execution-earned trust derives from consistently doing what is promised. This is built from frequent successful transactions, and effective customer service, and has been turbo-charged by technology, with the smartphone at the heart of the experience.
Trust plays a varying role as an influencer across different sectors, and where it plays a significant role, it often goes hand in hand with quality and value for money.
High quality products (“High quality products” 55% *) is the top factor that influences trust.
Price is an important trust-driver. However clear and transparent pricing is more important than low prices (“Clear and simple pricing” 53% and “Low prices” 43% *), which can damage trust if the value proposition is not understood. Variable and adaptive pricing also causes mistrust. The idea of variable pricing implies rewarding or penalising shoppers depending on their profiles and/or circumstances. This practice is poorly understood by consumers.
Lastly what about the future? We have heard that excellent end to end customer experience delivery can be supported by technology, technology that is being widely used by consumers across mobile, tablets and desktop, but what about new ideas? What will be the game changers?
There are five
future-retail concepts that can enhance and streamline customer experience and purchase process: facial recognition, mobile tracking instore, smart connected kitchens, social media shopping and virtual assistants. The Smart Kitchen is the most appealing concept to consumers, but whilst the other innovations are met with caution by more mainstream shoppers, more tech-savvy consumers are willing to adopt all of these innovative ideas (“Smart Kitchen” 28%, “Facial Recognition” 21%, “Virtual Assistant” 21%, “Social Media Shopping” 18 %, “Mobile Tracking” 16% *).
The ecommerce genie is out of the bottle and won’t go back in. Widespread adoption is huge.
Trust is the sum of the parts of many factors, not least quality and value for money. But increasingly we believe that
trust is influenced by a retailer’s ability to deliver an excellent and consistent end to end customer experience, which is increasingly being delivered by technology.
However we need to continue to beware of the ‘Terminator’ effect: positioned in the wrong way, technology can cause fear, uncertainty and ultimately lack of trust. And innovation needs to therefore constantly focus on the benefits to consumers.
In order to generate trust, it’s important to build a
This is the new space that brands need to get right; how to redefine themselves as services that can be trusted to deliver a consistent and reliable experience to consumers vs the competition.
(*) Open Reply, Portaltech Reply and Retail Reply with the support of Basis, a leading research company, has conducted a comprehensive research to understand the impact of trust on brand loyalty in this digital age. Trust has been explored across the full retail landscape, covering all touchpoints and incorporating online and offline retail environments. The Retail research combines both quantitative and qualitative phases and a roundtable event with top customers. The sample (n=3000) includes a mix of gender, ages from 20 to 55 and socio demographic backgrounds.