Is trust the next omnichannel inflection point?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the blog of Nikki Baird, VP of retail innovation at Aptos. The article first appeared on Forbes.com.
Transparency was the first shift that changed the retailing game with the rise of internet shopping and mobile followed. In 2019, trust will become omnichannel’s third inflection point.
We’ve seen all the elements of it – a demand from consumers for greater corporate responsibility, whatever that means, alongside the rise of Instagram brands and online-only brands that thrive on personality.
The big inflection point: retailers traditionally have used discounts to entice consumers to do business with them, in the hope of providing a good enough customer experience to earn their trust. In 2019, retailers must earn consumers’ trust, if they ever hope to gain their business.
And that trust is won or lost almost exclusively in digital channels – specifically, social channels.
Social channels are for being social, not for selling. And personality is exactly what makes social work. People follow you because you’re interesting or funny or helpful. And when you can demonstrate that you offer value as well as entertainment – valued advice, helpful hints, and yes, even product recommendations – that’s when you earn the mindshare that makes them think of you when it comes to actually buying something. In short, their trust.
This is antithetical to big brands, whose operating mode is to protect and control the brand at all costs. Moosejaw, Casper, Dollar Shave Club and Glossier – these are all companies that are not afraid to put some people off in order to be true to the people who “get” them – and love them. And they carry that through to all of their touchpoints.
The playbook here is unknown. Yeah, you can copy digital-first brand methods, but , but if you don’t have conviction and authenticity behind it, consumers will smell that out a mile away. And how to truly bring a digital personality to life in stores – not even digital-first retailers have figured that out entirely.
To paraphrase Casper ‘s Philip Krim, the 2008 downturn took out the retailers who were financially weak. The next downturn will take out the retailers who are experientially weak If you can’t win consumers’ trust with something – anything – other than a discount or a search term, you’re in trouble.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is what it takes for a consumer to trust a brand fundamentally shifting with the rise of social media? Should traditional brands be copying the playbook of digital-first brands in creating online personalities?