As 2019 settles in, elaborate strategies are drawn by eCommerce businesses whose ultimate goal is to get more customers through the digital door. It’s easy for online companies to lose focus by terms like ‘native social selling’, ‘experiential retail’ and ‘chatbots’ populating business and sales plans. But in a market that invariably gallops forwards, the answer to success may surprisingly lie in taking a step back.
Picture the original consumer cunningly sauntering through the ancient marketplace. They have the same purchase behaviour as their tech-savvy modern-day counterpart; swap the basket for a mobile-optimised checkout page, and the same habits apply.
They will only buy from places they trust.
In an online market where choice is endless, brands are becoming increasingly aware that they not only need to understand their customers better, but know how to gain their trust as well. For eCommerce businesses in 2019, reputation is still everything. But how do you approach building buyer trust and brand reputation if you’re relatively new to the market?
1. Speak to your Customers in a Credible Voice
A brand’s voice should be polished and authoritative, but also approachable and human. When writing content or copy, keep it somewhat conversational so that your messages are an extension of the actual people behind your brand. Hyper-polished language has its place, but it’s not what builds friend-like trust: real-life interactions and authentic dialogue do.
And remember, every single area of your business is an opportunity to show off your authenticity. The trap brands often fall into is investing lots of time and money on acquiring new users on their platforms and even getting consumers to purchase their products for the first time. Top-of the funnel activities are important, but you will see little ROI if you don’t invest in ways to make those customers your ambassadors.
Move away from individual sales and cast your ambitions on customer lifetime value. Insert personalised letters or offers in orders to make customers feel valued by your brand. The more appreciated they feel, the more likely they are to choose you over a competitor for their next purchase.
2. Capture Founder Authenticity
In today’s homogenous market, history is a huge asset. If your brand has it, flaunt it. Telling the founder and product story is an effective way to demonstrate the passion, sweat and tears that went into the product you’re selling. By sharing the thoughtful design process and the countless prototypes and failures, a company can build emotional connections and earn the buy-in of new customers. Everyone loves a David and Goliath story, and it is an advantage corporations cannot compete with.
3. Offer Great Customer Service
Do you prioritise customers or revenue? People know when they’re just a pound sign to you. And this does not build long-term trust of encourage repeat sales. Show customers you care by providing them with the best customer service, night and day. Never be dishonest about what you provide. Always be transparent, and don’t forget to give a perk every once in a while, just because.
Servicing your customers also means rendering your brand accessible. Be available to your customers and allow them to interact with you. If users have questions and there’s nowhere for them to get their queries answered, or you don’t respond in a timely manner, you could begin to lose credibility.
From answering enquiries to managing customer returns and complaints, consider setting up a proper customer support infrastructure or using a customer service specialist.
Dimensions offers returns management as part of our order fulfilment services to eCommerce brands provide a seamless experience to end customers from the moment an order is placed up until your customer is happy with the products they have received. Which bring us to…
4. Create An Experience
Traditional “branding” tactics are largely ineffective now. Marketers don’t create brands, people do. So it’s important for eCommerce businesses to provide the context for them to do so.
But creating an experience does not necessarily require you to re-invent retail. Simply ensure your purchasing process is straight-froward, simple and aligned with your target market. If your ideal customers are 18-25 year olds, invest in buying options on platfroms such as Instagram and Facebook, where this demographic spends most of their time.
Review your brand’s online social presence and make sure the image and voice you put forward makes user want to engage with and be part of it. Pay attention to how your customers receive their purchased products and choose a fulfilment partner, like Dimensions, who can accommodate specific presentation requirements in the packing process. And above all, maintain consistency.
Consistency ensures that your prospects and customers know what to expect. You can set both internal and external goals to maintain the quality of service. The building blocks of a consistent brand include:
- Your message. Your brand message should be an extension of your actions and behaviour.
- Your design. Creating consistent imagery across your logo, website, social networks and print materials is an easy win that can help you build trust with customers.
- Your delivery. Show your customers you value them after they’ve spent their money with you. Provide a seamless delivery process with accurate picking and packing, timely dispatch, precise tracking information and timely delivery.
5. Embrace Transparency
Being transparent means recognising and being open about both your strengths and weaknesses. The most successful brands are able to build trust by reducing the gap between a brand promise and its delivery. Whether that’s through crowd-sourcing new products from customer feedback or implementing socially conscious practices across an entire supply chain – including order fulfilment, such tactics help leading brands deliver trust and a superior user experience.
A strong marketing action we recommend is using customer testimonials as proof points of the value a brand delivers. Effectively approach social proof through:
User-generated content gives today’s consumers an added sense of security and confidence to know that another customer bought, used, and enjoyed the product being considered.
By showcasing UGC you are:
- Helping shoppers see how products are used in real life
- Showing that other people were pleased with the quality of their purchase
- Encouraging shoppers to relate to like-minded customers
In today’s eCommerce space, shoppers expect a tailored experience. Showing your shoppers the wrong products will lead them to lose trust and interest in your brand.
Alternatively, relevant, hyper-personalised ads and on-site experiences will:
- Improve customer experience.
- Eliminate purchase friction by showing your customers exactly what they’re looking for.
- Build an emotional connection with your brand, as customers feel their needs are being comprehended.
User-generated content and personalisation go beyond display and even conversion: it impacts everything from brand recognition to product development. Customer reviews are always a window into consumer sentiment about products, service and ethic, giving brands a far more in-depth view of customer satisfaction than any survey or questionnaire can provide.
Trust is a byproduct of a commitment to quality and excellence. If you can deliver the right results to the right people over the long haul, they will come to believe and trust in your product and service offerings.