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How trust and transparency are transforming retail

In today’s retail landscape, the transparency and connectivity enabled by the internet means consumers no longer rely on retailers to educate them about products. We explore how retailers can use experiential retail to promote trust and forge authentic connections with shoppers.

By Sarah Dunn | October 30, 2019 | Sponsored Content

In its Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2019, Euromonitor expressed the concept that the increasing accessibility of intelligence is changing retail significantly. 

Its ‘Everyone’s an Expert’ trend expresses the switch in power between retailers and consumers as shoppers have developed an “almost compulsive need… to absorb and share information”.

“Previously shoppers relied on a certain brand or information source to get what they wanted, now companies must constantly innovate, drive prices down and streamline and aestheticise their offerings to entice shoppers.”

Latitude Finance’s Commercial Director Peter Newton says retailers need to offer a point of difference in a market where many products have become commoditised.

“We all know that if you’re offering a product that’s more or less the same price as somebody else or the consumer knows who’s the cheapest, then you’re going to have to have something special in order to create that stickiness.”

“In our business, it’s about supporting our retailers with every purchase. The change we see is the ever-increasing importance of delivering a really outstanding experience of service.”

Newton says it’s now become important for retailers to create a customer-facing experience which is a unique expression of their brand. This sees the focus of the retailer’s expertise shift from product knowledge to experience creation, allowing the retailer to then advise customers on how they can use the retailer’s products to recreate a similar experience for themselves.

“When you create an experience, you’re decommoditising the situation,” Newton says. “You’ve got to deliver a very strong element of service but you can also have a conversation about how to match products, ask, ‘Have you thought about this?’ It depends on the category but your staff member becomes almost a consultant.”

Part of creating an attractive brand and experience is communicating that messaging in a way the customer can connect with. Newton says brands are increasingly turning to storytelling to meet this need.

It’s not enough to simply communicate facts about your products, says Newton – brands can be expected to know where their products are sourced, be seen to look after their employees well-being, have a point of view on social and environmental issues, and more.

“You’re tying your philosophy and your purpose into that of your consumers and your potential buyers,” Newton says. “And that’s really important because we have a cohort of Millennials whose values and ethics need to be reflected back in what they buy as much as the price of the product and what’s being delivered.”

“Organisations more than ever are understanding the importance of their people being the face of their brand,” says Newton.

The latest research from the Edelman Trust Barometer illustrates how staff advocacy and company values are intertwined. Fifty-eight percent of general population employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues.

Employees who have trust in their employer are nearly 40 percent more likely to advocate for the organization , are 33 percent more engaged (33 points), and remain far more loyal (38 percent) and committed (31 percent) than their more skeptical counterparts.

“Staff advocacy supports that brand and those values in the eyes of the consumer,” Newton says. “The way organisations connect their brand purpose and values to customers is critical to build trust and loyalty.”

This story was created with the support of Gem powered by Latitude.

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