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Competing on Trust

Competing on Trust

Trust continues to evolve with each generation, major life shift, and new technology. For brands and retailers, that means following trends and embracing these changes. Finding new ways to build and maintain customers’ trust and loyalty is an important way to differentiate and compete. 

Let’s take a look at some of the trends that relate to shoppers’ decision-making when it comes to purchasing products online and how trust plays a role in making more confident purchases.

The Pandemic Sped Up eCommerce Growth

eCommerce was already steadily on the rise and taking over shopping behavior more and more each year. However, the movement restrictions brought about by the lockdowns caused online retail’s share of total retail sales to increase at an accelerated rate. In the chart below we see a distinct upward jog in total global retail sales from 2019-2020, giving a strong boost to a steady 8% growth.

“Years of digital acceleration have been kind of compressed into months,” said Mastercard CEO, Michael Miebach. But as eCommerce grows, customer trust in online shopping remains shaky. In fact, researchers have cited a lack of trust as the top reason shoppers don’t purchase products online. 

One way to provide a better, more trustworthy experience right on your site is by creating and posting content that features 3rd-party validation. There’s a reason 85% of shoppers regularly seek out trusted 3rd-party experts when considering a purchase – it’s a great way to know if a product is right for you without physically being in front of it. 

Placing a product video on your site makes shoppers nearly 1.5X more likely to purchase. And on average purchase intent increased by 38% with 3rd-party reviews over branded content and 83% over user reviews.

Fake or Untrustworthy Reviews are on the Rise

Fake reviews have been in the headlines as governments around the world have been working on laws to make it illegal for businesses to pay for fake reviews. And the United States is no exception. Just recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued ​​a Notice of Penalty Offenses.

Companies including Amazon and Facebook could face fines over fake reviews or other misleading endorsements online, according to the new warning. The agency sent more than 700 companies a notice that they could incur penalties of up to $43,792 per violation.

And fake or misleading reviews are not without consequences for brands and retailers. They have led to the loss of customer trust for many businesses – 40% of consumers have said that they would never buy from a brand again after being duped by fake reviews. 

Read our post on how to spot fake reviews and what to do about them. 

Social Advertising and Influencer Marketing are Changing

Social commerce is filling the gap created by broken customer trust in traditional eCommerce (as highlighted above). Displaying customer testimonials and reviews online goes a long way in showing your product works and is a good fit for your customer’s needs. Online reviews are instrumental in helping customers make purchase decisions and their importance will continue into 2022, with 85% of customers today turning to them to decide what to buy online and in stores.

While many marketers are still wondering whether influencer marketing is here to stay or how to add it to their media mix, modern social media is already evolving to its next stage. Businesses that are serious about building trust will acknowledge this reality and leverage the power of experts in enhancing their marketing efforts. According to Nielsen, 67% of shoppers agree an endorsement for an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider a purchase. 

What You Can Do:

In 2022, brands and retailers have an opportunity to regain trust with their audience in a more authentic way: by engaging professionals who truly care about and use a product and can share their genuine experiences.

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