4 Tips to Drive Trust & Loyalty After The Sale
U.S. Holiday retail spending this year is predicted to gross $1 trillion dollars (eMarketer, Holiday Shopper 2019). This is the first time ever of such. Driven by low unemployment and high consumer confidence, this trillion dollar spree represents a 3.8% increase YOY from 2018 to 2019.
So, it’s clear consumers will buy, a lot, this year.
I encourage direct-to-consumer marketers and brands to go beyond the sale and make trust your goal.
Converting consumer interest to a sale can often be easy. You show a pretty product image, offer a compelling price offer, offer variety or customization, offer overnight, same-day shipping or pick up at a nearby brick and mortar location to offer convenience. But, what means more than one sale is repeat business with existing clients with which you’ve already established trust.
In the consumer purchase funnel, Awareness is at the top with the widest expanse, and Loyalty is at the bottom with the least amount of space. The reason is brands have to invest a hefty amount of resources (time and money) to garner the attention of customers to become aware of their product, before they follow the remaining stages of Consideration, Conversion/Purchase before getting to Loyalty or Advocacy.
Due to personal budget considerations, money availability and competing brands, many sales prospects fall off along the way. So, for those customers that you get into your sales funnel and through Awareness, Consideration, Conversion/Purchase, it is worthwhile to take the steps to drive trust with them so they will be loyal to your brand, and advocate via word of mouth to friends and family.
Here are my 4 recommendations to go beyond the sale, and drive consumer trust.
1. Deliver What You Say You Will
This is my number one business principle that I often reference…because it’s so easy. So many brands take their customers for granted, and don’t deliver on their promise. One of the easiest ways to win trust is to actually listen to your customer, determine if you can provide what they are asking of you, and honestly say if you can or cannot. If you can, provide it. If you can’t, say you can’t. Even if you have to recommend them to another company who can. Period. Provide your product or service in the way you agreed and in the way in which your customer expects. If you do this, which is more than some brands do, you will build brand integrity and respect with your customer, and earn their loyalty and advocacy.
2. Offer Choice
When a brand offers a limited selection of items, this is company-centric vs customer-centric. A company has a certain set of available options they can offer at that time based on their resources. So, when a brand is able to offer such options as customization, options for pick up, flexible payment or timing options, variety of size, color and shape (when applicable), it shows that the brand has the customers’ best interest at heart and values the customer. In so doing, the customer will feel seen, heard and understood and develop trust the brand as they feel the brand is willing to work with them in meeting their needs.
3. Prioritize Excellence & Honesty
Often, as brands grow, and customer orders exceed fulfillment capacity, brands begin to cut corners. Product ingredients or components are compromised and less time can go into product development thereby leaving excellence on the table. Sometimes, companies are unable to produce the product at all, and as such, may take a customer’s money as funds to purchase the supplies needed and not accurately communicate the timing for the product’s in-home delivery. There are all kinds of shenanigans that happen when brands grow. But, we urge you to be honest with your customers if your growth is exceeding capacity, and invite them to wait with you as you get what you need to deliver them excellence.
4. Deliver Value
If you make a product that customers like, that’s one thing, and you may get a few purchases here and there. But if you make a product that delivers customer true value, you have customers for a lifetime. Value is defined as a “person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” When developing your product, think about what your customer truly needs to make their life better. Does it save them time? Does your product/service make their employees more safe — thus drive employee engagement or longevity? Does it save the customer effort so they can focus on other things? Does it save them money in the short or long term? What value do you offer your customers and do you express this in your brand promise?
If you are thoughtful enough to design products and services that makes peoples’ lives better they will trust that you see them, understand them and hear them — which is what every human being wants — and as such will trust that you are worthy of their dollar. So, as yourself, what does my customer need, and how can I develop a company structure and manufacturing/organizational operational structure to deliver this.
If you follow these four recommendations, we believe you will be able to drive long-term loyalty, advocacy, growth and business sustainability.
View Business Insider article citing eMarketer 2019 Holiday Shopping Report here.
Happy Holidays, Olivia!