Since the onset of Covid-19 consumers appear to have re-assessed their priorities when they’re shopping online. Today, consumers are expecting higher levels of authenticity, seeking out brands they can trust will deliver on promises and that also align with their own values. Infact, 52% of respondents from a Lifestyle Survey in 2020 agreed that they only buy from brands that they completely trust.
Today’s eCommerce market is fraught with fulfillment issues, with a third of shoppers experiencing problems with delivery since the pandemic, something that’s leading to greater levels of disappointment and mistrust in online shopping.
Engineering trust will be a key driver of both customer retention and acquisition in 2021, so it’s vital retailers are able to cultivate and strengthen the bond between brand and the consumer which can see them through these troubled waters. Here are five strategies online retailers can deploy to build trust with their customers:
Offer A Personalised Online Experience
As retail adapts to social distancing and store closures, we can expect to see growth in the personal shopping experience, particularly at the premium end. This will be an opportunity for brands to connect with their customers on a deeper, personal level and understand customers’ needs, while the user benefits from having a great personalized experience that will see them wanting to revisit. Luxury brands Burberry and Gucci are betting on personalized video consultations spurring sales, launching their own video services. This approach retains the exclusivity, excitement and individuality of the personalized service one receives in store and we expect it will become standardized in the online space.
Offer convenient delivery options
Convenience is key to building trust, so as well as offering home delivery, aim to offer Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) wherever possible. According to recent research, 79% say Click & Collect options are very important to them. This strategy appears to have helped some ecommerce businesses weather the Covid storm. US firm BJs Wholesale puts much of its year-on-year 300% digital growth down to allowing customers to pick up in store. By offering customers extra layers of convenience, they’re more likely to secure their trust and win their business in future.
Don’t over-promise on delivery times
Promising what you can’t deliver is a sure-fire way to destroy your customers’ trust in your brand. So have realistic order fulfillment goals, and use them as a basis to improve your fulfillment service going forward.
Here’s a quick tip; implement automated forecasting features to help you gauge your shipping delivery capabilities. That way, you’ll avoid costly mistakes and unfulfilled orders. With an automated system, you can create fulfillment quotes in real-time – so they’re based on your actual inventory and warehouse capacity.
Start automating your workflows
As consumers move online, vendors must process increased demand of online orders more quickly – and that can lead to mistakes. If you’re running out of stock or shipping to the wrong addresses on a regular basis, these mishaps are often down to ineffective workflows or human error. In a poll by Brightpearl, we found that 77% of all 1-star reviews were related to issues after the buy button, like delayed deliveries, or items being shipped to the wrong place.
And, and the survey shows, these mistakes will not win you any favor with customers – it will quickly erode their trust in your brand and you can count out any repeat business. Post-Covid, maximising customer lifetime value is going to become even more essential. Recently, we’ve seen data supporting the value of retention vs. acquisition like improving customer retention 5% increases profits by 35% to 95%. With this in mind, companies simply can’t afford to utilize weak setups that lead to issues pre-or-post purchase. With that in mind, automation should top the wishlist for those wanting to build trust with customers. The best online retailers are using automated solutions to oversee the creation of estimates, sales orders, shipping orders, and invoices. Thus avoiding human error, increasing the productivity of the operation, and ensuring customers are happy.
Ask For Feedback
Customers want to feel that brands value their opinions, so asking for feedback will show you care. Send out surveys on a regular basis, have live chat or phone support available when they run into issues, and ask customers to share whether your products and service have lived up to their expectations. Use feedback as a basis to improve your end-to-end service – and then communicate that back to customers as a way to further connect with them.
Want even more tips on building trust? Brightpearl has drawn up a checklist full of innovative ways to ramp up trust, even in tough times. You can find it here.
Guest post written by Derek O’Carroll, CEO, Brightpearl. Since taking the helm as CEO of Brightpearl four years ago, Derek has led the digital operations platform to more than $18 million in revenue, $105M valuation, and managing more than $5 billion in orders. Shortlisted for CEO of the Year at the Digital Masters Awards in 2019, the father-of-two is now recognized globally as a retail expert.