Word is Bond: How to Build Trust and Drive Customer Retention
Price is no longer king, and brand name alone won’t get you very far with a consumer that now values trust above all else when selecting which retailers and brands to shop with online. Since March 2020, the sustained influx of retailers into the online shopping space has severely damaged the relationship between customer and merchant. Tens of thousands of retailers began trading online, many without the correct digital infrastructure in place, and as a result some 42 percent of consumers say that poor experiences and unreliable delivery during the pandemic has lessened their trust in e-commerce.
With store closures also likely to continue well into 2021 across the majority of U.S. states, it's imperative that brands look for ways to repair trust with their online shoppers and incentivize these customers to continue to shop with them throughout the year.
So with that in mind, here are a few strategies that should help to strengthen that ailing bond between consumer and merchant.
Provide Value When Connecting With Your Customer
Put simply, your average consumer has a lot on their plate at the moment, which is why it’s imperative that when you do connect with your customer, you provide them with valuable information. In an e-commerce market that's fraught with fulfillment issues, services such as real-time updates on deliveries will both assure your customer that their goods are en route and improve the overall transparency of the purchase experience.
In fact, some 76 percent of consumers would welcome real-time updates on delays or changes in shipping. Not only would this reassure your customer that their order is in transit, but also that you as a retailer are listening to their feedback and expectations.
Building trust this year will also be very much about where you connect with your customers. The pandemic has changed the playing field and the consumer needs to feel safe when engaging with your brand. In order to keep up with the competition, you must offer the mode of fulfillment that your customer feels most comfortable with, be that curbside pickup; buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS); or home delivery.
Be Attentive to All Aspects of the Customer Experience
One surefire way of forging stronger bonds of trust between your business and its customers is to ensure ownership of the entire customer experience. Given that six in 10 consumers reported issues when buying from online brands last year, it's likely that many retailers are focusing on the shiny shopfront of their e-commerce store, and neglecting the nuts and bolts of what goes on behind the scenes post-purchase.
Not only does great management of customer experience improve your customer’s trust in you, but it will also engender trust with new prospects. Customers who receive top tier buying experiences are likely to be more receptive to requests for them to leave a review, and as 95 percent of online shoppers read online reviews or ratings before buying, positive reviews can instill a sense of trust within them before they’ve even converted.
Don’t Get Caught Out on Delivery
According to Shipmatrix, an estimated 1 million packages were not likely to make it to their destination in time for Christmas Day 2020. In short, the increase in online holiday shopping overwhelmed already ailing fulfilment processes, and as a result millions missed out on important deliveries. Strategic management of delivery based on demand is key to engineering trust between vendor and consumer. If you can deliver on time during a pandemic, this will go a long way to strengthening those bonds of trust with your customer.
Succeeding in this area will require that fulfilment be both flexible and fast. The strategic implementation of automation into order processing, inventory management and shipping will not only speed up distribution, but also allow you to provide those aforementioned real-time updates that the consumer finds so valuable. In order not to be blindsided by sudden spikes in demand, retailers should also make use of their own product data to plan ahead, ensuring that stock levels are optimized to avoid any large surplus or oversold stock situations.
Derek O’Carroll is the CEO of Brightpearl, a retail operations platform for retailers and wholesalers with a clear mission to automate the back office so merchants can spend their time and money growing the business.
Related story: How to Build Online Shoppers' Trust
Derek O'Carroll is CEO of Brightpearl, a cloud-based ERP for retailers and wholesalers. Recognized as a leading retail expert, his mantra is to deliver on Brightpearl’s mission to automate the back office for today’s merchants.
Brightpearl is a retail operations platform for retailers and wholesalers with a clear mission to automate the back office so merchants can spend their time and money growing the business. Brightpearl’s complete back office solution includes financial management, inventory and sales order management, purchasing and supplier management, CRM, fulfillment, warehouse management and logistics.