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What marketers say has the biggest impact on customer trust

July 12, 2021

Trust. It’s always been a critical ingredient in successful commerce. From the start of tribal bartering in 6000 B.C. to the mediaeval markets of the 15th century, trust remained an important prerequisite to any transaction. When salesmen began going door-to-door selling everything from encyclopaedias to vacuum cleaners and silver polish, their success often hinged on the trust they could obtain from an effective product demo or pitch. And when televised home shopping networks first became popular, it was trust that motivated a buyer to pick up the phone and actually place an order.

Fast forward to present-day e-commerce environments and the same holds true. In fact, 70% of consumers go as far to say that trust is more important today than it’s ever been in the past. Customers need to trust the companies they purchase from. They need robust, accurate, and up-to-date information to feel confident that a purchase will meet their expectations. Brands must earn the trust of their customers; that is clear. But how? And what can they do to really make a meaningful impact?

Product information is part of the customer-trust equation

In our 2021 Widen Connectivity Report, we explore the role of product information in helping brands succeed in e-commerce environments and connect with their customers in more meaningful, trust-provoking ways. We learnt that 81% of brands “always” or “usually” use product information in their e-commerce marketing efforts. Product information includes: product data, product marketing content, and product digital assets (see diagram below).

Marketers leverage all three of these information types together to help them better communicate and market their products. In e-commerce environments, buyers can’t take a product off the shelf and experience it in the same way they can in person. Product information — whether data about a product’s colour or size, a breakdown of its benefits, or powerful imagery — is often all buyers have to understand what a product is and if they can trust that they’re making the right purchasing decision.

The mere presence of product information is not enough

In a previous Drum article, we shared in-depth findings from our Connectivity research about the role product information plays in building customer trust across the various stages of the buyers’ journey. Product data, marketing content, and digital assets all do their part. But what happens if this product information isn’t accurate?

The majority of marketers we surveyed (33%) say that accurate product information — even more so than customer reviews, visual design, and social media activity — has the biggest impact on customer trust in marketing efforts. Product information (no matter what kind) needs to be correct. It needs to be up-to-date. And it needs to accurately represent the product that will eventually show up on a buyer’s doorstep. If a brand falls short and fails to deliver 100% accurate product information, they risk losing the trust of their customers.

“From an e-commerce and digital standpoint, there’s still a lot of trust that needs to be built with customers to get them to continue to leverage it,” shared one Connectivity interviewee. “It only takes a one-time [online] purchase and getting the wrong thing to say, ‘Well, I’m okay with going to the store for this because I know I’m going to get the right thing because I'm going to grab it and hold it in my hand before I buy it,’” continued the interviewee.

E-commerce offers brands a tremendous opportunity to connect with more customers than would be possible from within the walls of a brick-and-mortar store. However, e-commerce is a challenging space that comes with a large responsibility. Brands must be able to control the quality and consistency of the product information they share across their various digital channels and customer experiences. Unfortunately, this is not always happening.

Marketers know the importance of providing accurate product information. However, only 35% of marketers we surveyed claim to have “very high” control over the information on their e-commerce sites. And while slightly better, only 55% say they have “very high” control over the information presented on their own website. To overcome this, brands are prioritising processes and technologies that allow them to tighten their grip and better control the accuracy of their product information. Here’s how some brands are doing just this.

Get the 2021 Widen Connectivity Report

E-commerce environments are tough, but with the right strategy in place you can use your product information in ways that are sure to garner the trust and loyalty of your customers. Want more marketer insights, inspiration, storeys, stats, and tips? Download our 2021 Widen Connectivity Report today.

By Nate Holmes, product marketing manager at Widen