The meteoric rise of eCommerce has been a boon to brands. Especially to those that have cracked the code to building trust among consumers. At Sezzle, as the highest consumer-rated Buy Now, Pay Later solution out there, we know a thing or two about connecting with shoppers in a sincere way. But we certainly don’t pretend to know it all. Therefore, we asked some of our amazing partners – brands, agencies, and fellow tech companies – to share their secrets to building trusting relationship with customers.
How we build trust… And we asked some of our favorite partners – brands, SaaS companies, and agencies – for their thoughts on the subject. We hope you’ll enjoy their contributions as much as we did. And if you’re interested in any of their products or services, let us know or get in touch with them directly. They’re great.
UNTUCKit – Using Technology to Instill Trust in Customers
At UNTUCKit, our goal is to create the most comfortable untucked shirts—and help our customers find them easily. So, we’ve deployed the latest technology to help guys through every step of their journey. Here’s what we’ve done so far:
Find Your Fit — The UNTUCKit in-store fit experience is unparalleled, but we wanted to make it accessible online as well. Our new Fit Finder creates a 3D model to show how our shirts will fit any body type. With frequent engagement, the tool is now more than 90% accurate at finding the perfect fit.
Live Chat — This new chat feature connects customers to their nearest in-store associate—and our customer service team. They can provide fit and style recommendations and answer questions about products and existing orders, making it a great boost for customer satisfaction and engagement.
Local Delivery — This year, we launched local delivery via courier from most of our stores—sometimes same day—for just $15. It’s been a great service for those who need looking for the perfect last-minute style.
Verified Discount Program — We partnered with ID.me to offer discounts to first responders, medical personnel, active military, students, teachers, and more. We’re happy to report it has helped expand our customer base and made our shirts more accessible to those serving our communities.
About UNTUCKit: UNTUCKit shirts are designed to be worn untucked so they fall at the perfect length. Experience the all shapes & sizes fit. Click here to learn more.
Yotpo – Tips and Tricks to Building Customer Trust
It’s no secret that customers have begun to broaden their horizons when it comes to choosing brands. In fact, in the past year alone, 35% of American buyers have tried a new brand, and 77% have also tried a new way of shopping (McKinsey). With increasing competition in online and offline channels, it’s critical to establish trust with your shoppers to keep them coming back.
Brand trust goes beyond product quality. It also encompasses customer experiences, robust reviews, brand values, and more. Delivering in each of these areas and, in turn, building multifaceted trust among customers is key to future-proofing your business.
One way to accomplish this is through a loyalty program. Your best shoppers — your loyalty program members — are eager to share their love of your brand with others. Give them ways to do this through educational content, reviews, and referrals.
- Educate members to highlight brand values
It’s no longer enough to be a business that wins on product or pricing — shoppers want to buy from a brand that shares their core beliefs, whether they focus on sustainability, social responsibility, or something else.
With an established loyalty program, you can build campaigns that incentivize members to read a blog post or watch a video about your brand values. You can also allow shoppers to donate to causes or participate in cause-related events, like clean-ups, in return for loyalty rewards. These campaigns both educate and engage customers, and they help to forge a connection that lasts.
A perfect example is TomboyX, a socially conscious underwear brand with strong values around creating inclusive apparel. To give loyalty members a chance to actively participate in their brand mission, TomboyX looked to Yotpo’s integration with ShoppingGives. The partnership leveraged rewards for donations, making it easy for customers to align with the brand’s values and make purchases that serve a greater good.
- Incentivize detailed and thoughtful reviews
Yotpo’s research on eCommerce stores found that 94% of purchases are for products with 4- or 5-star reviews. This shows how much trust consumers put in the word of their fellow shoppers. So how do you get more positive reviews? Reward satisfied customers, like loyalty members, with perks for leaving reviews. You can even provide the option to earn extra points for providing visual content, like photos and videos, to incentivize detailed review collection.
With Yotpo’s AI-powered review engine, shoppers are prompted to write keywords and frequently searched topics, making it easy for them to leave thoughtful reviews full of helpful information for other shoppers. This user-generated content (UGC), like reviews, photos and videos, boosts brand trust and, ultimately, sales.
- Leverage referrals
Your happy customers are your best marketing tool. Over 93% of consumers trust recommendations from friends or family over brand advertising (Kantar). Use your loyalty members to sing your brand’s praises wherever possible, whether it’s through a referral link or a positive review.
Fan-favorite hair care brand Moroccanoil’s “Give $10, Get $10” program helps acquire new customers while incentivizing both the referrer and the new customer. Referred shoppers feel confident giving the products a try, and with a built-in incentive, the path to purchase is shorter than ever.
Yotpo is an eCommerce marketing platform with the most advanced solutions for customer reviews, visual marketing, loyalty, referrals, and SMS marketing. Click here to learn more.
Grounded – Leading with Purpose to Build Trust
Evolving consumer habits, in the face of lockdowns and e-commerce acceleration the past 15 months, have unbundled the customer experience. Fueled by the need to shop from home, how and where shoppers discover, browse, and research products rarely happens in the channel or store where they ultimately choose to buy. As a result, shoppers demand that brands engage with them on their terms, where they are and when they choose, setting an expectation for omnichannel convenience.
Unfortunately, shoppers are often left wanting for more, as disjointed touchpoints and inconsistent communication across different channels and media result in varying levels of (dis)satisfaction. That dissatisfaction leads to shoppers’ increased willingness to change their normal routines, as close to 1 in 2 shoppers have switched brands and retailers, with budget-conscious consumers 37% more likely to have switched from their primary brand.
How do you build consumer trust in the age of omnichannel convenience?
Consumers expect brands to be transparent not just about their products and how those products are manufactured and distributed through their supply chain, but how their overall company runs. This expansion beyond the core product and sole emphasis on profitability has changed the value exchange brands must offer – consumers want to build a relationship with brands they buy from.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 71% of consumers agree that if they perceive that a brand is putting profit over people, they’ll lose trust in that brand forever.
Consumers, led by Gen Z and millennials, demand impact-oriented brands that represent who they are and what they believe in, seeking alignment with their own values. Brands must ensure a strong connection between those consumer values and their own purpose – what they stand for and how they address the human problems faced by consumers and the community around them – to influence purchase decisions.
Lead with purpose
At Grounded, we believe the way people shop and the brands that they buy have the power to change the world, and that every purchase should be a step towards a more sustainable future. According to research from Deloitte, 60% of shoppers believe brands should make it easier to know their purpose when making a purchase. To do that, brand owners must first ask themselves, can I articulate what I stand for?
We spend time with clients thinking through this challenge, helping them answer 3 critical questions through our BPP (Belief-Purpose-Pursuits) framework:
- BELIEF: What do you believe about the world? This is the single-minded, profoundly human belief that the brand has about the world. It anchors the brand’s ambition and provides the inspiration for its purpose.
- PURPOSE: What do you exist to do? Consider how their brand affects culture, serves people, or changes the world for the better in some way.
- PURSUITS: How are you going to make that a reality? Specify what you sell (products), how you sell (platform), and set goals for the difference you hope to achieve (impact).
Transform purpose into profit
Companies that lead with purpose, such as Unilever, Danone, and Allbirds, have already discovered its amazing ability to accelerate value creation for consumers and companies alike, as their brands enjoy faster growth, higher market share gains, and improved employee and customer satisfaction.
Grounded World is a certified B Corp and award-winning agency, helping brands articulate their purpose, activate it through an omnichannel approach, and accelerate impact through digital and data-driven marketing. Click here to learn more.”
How Enso Rings is Building Trust Through Customer Service
A pair of Icelanders decided to tie the knot. They ordered a pair of silicone wedding rings from Enso Rings, set a date, picked a place and got ready for the happy day. But then, just a few days before the ceremony, chaos and chance bull-rushed the plan. The rings disappeared in transit, and there was no way conventional shipping could deliver their rings in time.
Naturally frustrated, they called our customer service department and explained the situation. Without hesitation (and at great company expense) we internationally overnighted them a set of replacement rings. The transaction was a massive net loss for us — and the couple exchanged their Enso wedding rings the day of the ceremony.
When many companies talk about customer service, the conversation tends to orbit around a few core ideas: satisfaction, trust, timeliness, excellence, etc. The corporate world shouts from the mountaintops about how businesses should do everything and anything to keep their customers happy and satisfied — especially at points of formal complaint.
Alternatively, we have organized our customer service strategy around an easy-to-remember concept that encapsulates everything that matters about customer service without buzzwords, aphorisms or flashy phrases:
- Treat your customers like true friends
We trust our true friends. We know they’d do anything for us. When things are great, we share our time with them, and when things go wrong, we go to them for help. Thinking of your customers as true friends gives your professional support staff an intuitive way to approach customer questions and issues. And when you treat your customers like friends, they’ll invite your brand into their lives. They’ll share their time with your brand, and they’ll go to your brand when things go wrong.
That Icelandic couple that bought our rings may have represented a net fiscal loss for us on that single transaction, but it changed the way they will view our brand forever. There are more than 125,000 third-party reviews of our company, and when you read them, you won’t just hear customers talking about a company. You’ll hear friends talking about their friend.
About: Enso silicone rings are safe, versatile & engineered to adapt to your job & active lifestyle. Click here to learn more.
Friendbuy – Using Referral Programs to Build Trust
The pandemic has forced brands to act quickly and pivot to a more comprehensive and cohesive digital experience for their customers, which also means they need to find more cost effective ways to acquire new customers. Previously, brands could achieve product validation by getting their products distributed through large retailers, such as Nordstrom or Whole Foods. For these brands, the fact that their products were sold in these stores meant that people could trust their products.
Now, brands are turning to their existing customers to help demonstrate that their products are trustworthy to a wider market. Here’s where referral programs come into play in a major way. A well executed referral program, combined with a great product, is a recipe for building trust and accelerating growth (and customer retention) at a low cost per acquisition (CPA).
Successful referral programs inherently allow brands to build trust with their customers. Digitally native, D2C brands such as FIGS and Imperfect Foods are great examples of companies who rely heavily on their existing customers to achieve coveted brand validation; so much so that they’ve all partnered with Friendbuy to power referral programs that help drive new customer acquisition as well as keep their existing customers coming back.
FIGS customers, for example, are medical professionals who wear FIGS scrubs often for more than 12-hours per day. Their apparel is incredibly comfortable, yet functional, and FIGS customers love that there’s an easy way to share FIGS apparel with their friends and co-workers. FIGS customers refer and purchase often, which has helped solidify them as an aspirational brand.
Another example of a brand growing through trust with existing customers is Imperfect Foods. When the pandemic started, consumers fled to social media asking for recommendations for a healthy and organic meal delivery service, as they did not wish to shop in grocery stores. Imperfect Foods customers immediately responded with their personalized referral links, inviting their friends to try out this great new service that could provide them with everything they needed to cook healthy meals during this stressful time. Imperfect Foods has been able to build trust with their customers through their vast range of healthy grocery options and easy-to-use referral program.
Friendbuy is the only referral platform loved by product teams and marketers alike. With flexible APIs and event-based triggers, your referral campaigns will integrate seamlessly with your optimal user experiences. Click here to learn more.
Exclusive Concepts – 5 Tips to Build Trust
It takes multiple good experiences to create a trusted relationship with a shopper, but just a single bad experience to ruin it forever. If you’re concerned about customer lifetime value (CLV), which you certainly should be, you need to do business with a mindset that every touchpoint and every interaction either builds trust or breaks it. That said, as important as it is to make a good first impression, the best consumer brands consistently over deliver in every interaction.
A shopper’s introduction to a brand may be through a search engine like Google, a marketplace like Amazon, a social media channel like Instagram, in a physical store, or by hearing about it from friends or family or reviewers. At this point, the shopper is unfamiliar with the brand and in research mode. Every shopper at this point is balancing price, delivery time, convenience, privacy and security, and brand reputation. A shopper may be willing to sacrifice in one area if another area is particularly strong, but a shopper will never make a first purchase from a brand with overwhelmingly poor reviews. The transaction and the relationship must start with trust.
There is a lot of uncertainty when a shopper is engaging with a brand for the first time. You can call this the benefit of the doubt with regard to trust (the shopper assumes the best about the brand given there has been no friction or negative experience). Thus, the brand benefits from positive reviews and reputation or even a neutrality or absence or negativity. But from this point on, the game changes and the brand makes a promise to the shopper, a sort of contract to do fair business and to value the customer for the duration of the relationship.
Say a customer finds your brand through a Google search. After coming to your site, the shopper does not make a purchase but does provide an email address for a 15% discount off the first purchase. The shopper has signaled interest and enough trust to continue the conversation. Now it’s your responsibility to keep the conversation going and to engage this potential new customer with a message that speaks to the shopper and reinforces the promise of value and service.
When leveraging an omnichannel strategy like re-targeting with social ads, emails, and display campaigns, a brand must resist the temptation to automate the entire process and to treat all shoppers identically and without gleaning more unique information along the way. At EXCLUSIVE, we recognize shopper intent using data and we work with our clients to deliver appropriate messages based on the shopper’s signals, including signs of interest or concern. This is what makes the messaging resonate, makes the shopper feel understood, and fosters trust.
Gather all of the pieces in your marketing strategy and use these tips to unify your messaging and deliver a seamless and consistent experience from channel to channel. Remember that if you break a shopper’s trust by sending an ill-timed offer or displaying different prices for the same item across channels, you won’t get a second chance with that shopper.
5 Tips to Unify Your Messaging and Deliver a Seamless and Consistent Omnichannel Experience
- Make your brand’s look and feel and tone consistent. Shoppers should be able to identify your brand regardless of channel or platform or device.
- Target and re-target shoppers with relevant, appropriate, up-to-date messages and offers that align with their specific engagement across your marketing and on your site.
- Honor every offer you make. If you need to make an exception, do so. It’s okay to lose a bit of margin in order to be a customer service hero and build a relationship. CLV is all about the long game.
- Don’t make shoppers work to find the best deal and don’t make them wonder if they could have gotten the product cheaper on your Facebook page or Amazon or by holding out for a sale or coupon.
- Highlight what makes your brand unique: return policy, shipping, quality of product, customer reviews, etc. And as for reviews, remember that what your existing customers say about your brand is more important than anything you say about your brand.
Once you convert a shopper to a customer, continue to always build that trust so the shopping experience becomes a relationship. Remember that it’s easier and less expensive to keep customers than to win them back.
In addition to creating a consistent positive experience, stay on top of your brand identity and differentiators. Also mind your brand integrity (customer service, quality, etc.) Lastly, leverage those customers that you’ve built your trust with to be your biggest cheerleaders. Ask for reviews and feature them across your site, on product pages, and even within your social and email marketing messages. Encourage shoppers to share user-generated content (UGC) across their social channels and highlight them on your own social networks. Use these images, unboxings, testimonials, and usage examples to create shoppable content on site and to highlight what your customers love most about your product.
Now, more than ever, it’s essential that your brand is building trust with every potential customer. With more than 93% of shoppers checking reviews, 77% comparing prices across sellers and channels, and 33% asking friends for recommendations, you need to do everything possible to make trust a part of your brand identity. The best way to do that is to value every shopper, keep your brand promises, and go the extra mile on a shopper’s behalf. Doing the right thing once will bring you accolades and new customers; continuing to do the right thing will encourage repeat purchases and loyalty; and doing the wrong thing even once will cost you sales and existing as well as potential customers.
Exclusive Concepts is a full- service performance marketing agency for eCommerce brands. Delivering the strategy and execution for merchants across all industries for both D2C and B2B Brands. Exclusive’s services span across SEO, PPC, PLA, Social, Email, Conversion testing, and Marketplace advertising. Click here to take advantage of their complimentary eCommerce analysis.