The Future of Retail is Reputation
In an era of growing distrust, there’s no denying how crucial reputation is for a business. Several businesses underestimate the power of a review, so the team at Trustpilot surveyed 1,700 shoppers to prove the naysayers wrong. We recently published a report with conclusive data that shows brand reputation and reputation management are critical to a company's success.
Our report shows a whopping 90 percent of online shoppers have chosen not to purchase from a company because of its bad reputation. The results are astoundingly favorable toward keeping a good online reputation. A few key findings include:
- Online reputation is the No. 1 way to improve trust with customers.
- More than 93 percent of consumers said they read reviews before buying online from an unfamiliar company.
- The biggest factor that decreases customer trust is when companies delete negative reviews.
- Nearly 48 percent of online shoppers have recommended a brand to others because of its stance on social issues.
The survey shows customer sentiment towards brand reputation is at an all-time high. Consumers are more likely to trust brands that have an active online presence with a transparent approach to feedback, as well as a willingness to share their brand’s mission.
The importance of online reputation matters everywhere, since consumers have the internet at their fingertips. Google research shows that 42 percent of in-store customers conduct research online while in-store. So what does this mean for retail? It’s simple, your reputation follows you everywhere and will define your sales outlook for the life of your brand.
Today’s world of consumerism is digital and interconnected, which makes accountability of businesses more important than ever. Bad reputation is a direct relation to losing business. In fact, more than 42 percent of customers are not at all likely to purchase products from a business that has negative reviews on the first page of its online search results.
Brand reputation management should be a priority for all businesses. With that, we have a six-step guide that can help your business build a reputable online brand:
- Aim for radical transparency. Being transparent with customers shows that businesses care about your core values and being trusted by the public. Hiding information is the absolute worst thing you can do.
- Ask customers to talk about your products and services publicly. Proactively ask customers to share reviews and feedback about your products and services. Establishing a one-to-one relationship with customers is critical in building trust. Only 9.3 percent of people trust a company with zero reviews, whereas nearly 60 percent would trust a company with only one review.
- Monitor what your customers are saying and take it to heart. Learn from what your customers are saying about your business and be able to improve based upon that feedback.
- Remain open about criticism and address it publicly. Publicly address negative feedback in a way that’s in line with your brand. Remember, deleting negative customer comments caused 95 percent of customers to lose trust.
- Consider taking a social stand. Consider taking a stance on a social issue that’s in line with your target demographic. Millennial and Gen Z consumers are most likely to make purchases based on a company’s social stance.
- Look for tools that can help. Online reputation management tools can help significantly in understanding customer sentiment and applying it to your business.
Companies can’t afford to ignore bad reputation anymore. We’re in an era of transparency and providing the best customer service to ensure retail thrives. Brands must actively work on building and maintaining trust if they want to attract new customers, keep relationships with existing customers, and drive them to make purchases.
The full report can be found here.
Don Ross is president of Americas at Trustpilot, the world's most powerful review platform.
Related story: The Value of a Trustworthy Brand Reputation
Don Ross is President of Americas at Trustpilot, the world's most powerful review platform.
Don joined Trustpilot in October 2016. Formerly the CEO of Bankrate.com, he and his team grew the personal financial service website’s revenue from $79M to over $550M in under nine years. Don works to further grow Trustpilot’s business and revenue, and cement its position in North America. Previously, he served as the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Harris Connect, Inc. and SVP of Sales at Worldweb.net. Don holds a Masters of Marketing & Advertising from Michigan State University and Executive Education in Sustainable Marketing Leadership from Harvard Business School.