To sell your products and services nowadays, brands switched their focus to building brand trust among their target audience before inviting them to become a paying customer. This fact is mainly due to the increased competition among businesses. When talking about e-commerce businesses, there are some ways to help increase trust among your target audience that will help you build a community of loyal customers.

“The psychology behind building trust: consumers want transparency with your brand.”

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Brand trust is an important aspect of a customer’s buying journey, so being able to map out that journey, along with your ideal customer profile will help you clearly define the path that you need to take to make a sale. We’ve identified a couple of ways you can use to increase trust below:

1. Consumers understand your value proposition

Before they decide to make a purchase, people want to know how much you understand the industry, the problem, and the solution that your products will solve. According to Jay Gronlund’s article, Wally Olins wrote in his book, ‘Brand New: The Shape of Brands to Come’, consumers today eagerly look for authenticity from brands. Gronlund supports this idea by referring to Gallup’s State of the American Consumer Report in June 2014: the major issue with some companies is that customers do not understand what the company stands for and why they are special to solve existing problems. Also, the 2014 report states that customers’ engagement with business’ social media accounts is high when they understand the company’s purpose and mission. The essential part of converting to sales and gaining lifelong customers is to communicate how your brand’s drive and methods to solve their problems. 

2. Responsiveness to customers’ inquiries & feedback

When customers send inquiries or reviews about your product, it is crucial to be responsive as fast and effective as possible. Renfrow demonstrates that CMO council’s report shows only 16% of brand marketers feel they are responsive to customers’ needs and feedback; some possible reasons to hinder rapid response include the lack of customer experience data and communication challenges with separate teams that make decisions on marketing and packaging decisions. As the response should be helpful, timeliness of response can significantly impact the business’s reputation. When companies take too long to respond, they will move on and hunt for different products. If you feel your company does not respond to meet your customers’ needs, then carefully analyze the problems within the business operating system with your teammates and discuss how to invent an effective system to improve communication with the brand consumers.

3. The validity of reviews on your products

Many businesses’ websites display positive reviews from their customers because reading product reviews is a critical decision-making process before making a purchase. However, relying on online reviews can be tricky often. The major downside of reviews is the uncertainty of trustworthiness, meaning that anyone can leave their comments on the products whether they are legit customers or not. In other words, some people might leave negative, unreasonable reviews without the brand experience. Besides, reviews can be biased: some brands pay people to leave reviews so that the reviewers are more likely to leave positive comments. Therefore, companies should thoroughly evaluate whether customers’ reviews are valid and acceptable to use for promoting their products with authenticity.

4. Your stand on social issues and action to help overcome injustices/ obstacles

Company’s messages on social issues and their actions matter to consumers more than any time in these days: nearly 40 million U.S. adults prefer companies that support equality and acceptance of communities facing injustices. However, a sympathizing statement on social issues is not enough. E-commerce businesses should focus on becoming transparent as possible as they can, showing their corporate values and cultures and “real actions and impact” to support the community. Not only do brands have the power to spread awareness of social issues, but they can be great examples to show ways to help. It is challenging to address the controversial issue and open up, but this is the part where transparency becomes very, very important. 

Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman Group, said “brands are more effective in dealing with the social issues of our time than the government” during his interview with CBSN about Nike’s collaboration with Colin Kaepernick in 2018.  Watch the full interview here: 

5. Use word of mouth marketing to increase referrals

Word of mouth marking (WOMM) is the most powerful way to spread information and increase brand awareness. People can casually learn about new brands and their reputation through conversations with close friends. When sharing their brand experience, customers have a great impact on others’ brand impressions. In addition, online reviews from trusted sources such as friends and influencers can help contribute to a brand’s sales performance– valid reviews demonstrate that the reviewers are verified customers, and they have left an honest input for potential customers. Therefore, WOMM can not only bring more sales conversions but also gain trust from more people.

Earning trust from many consumers is not as instant as getting new sales. It will take some time. To e-commerce businesses, referral programs are great tools to increase brands’ authenticity and openness to their customers. Through an accurate, clear Return of Investment (ROI) data and valid reviews from actual customers only, referral programs like btwn can gain and maintain customers’ trust in many kinds of businesses.

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