Most consumers believe that 'brand trust' is extremely important when deciding where to shop, but they also feel that trust involves a lot more than simple data security, according to study from customer experience intelligence firm InMoment. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The '2018 Retail Trends Report' surveyed 1,300 US consumers to gain a snapshot of the state of brand trust and retail loyalty, as well as customer perceptions about retailers' attempts to offer more experiences rather than simple transactions.

Four key themes emerged from the study:

  1. Trust and mistrust are both earned: A whopping 88% of respondents said they believe trust is extremely important when deciding where to shop, but the report reveals that trust is about more than data and security. Fifty-five percent of respondents say brands can earn their trust by delivering what they promised, and another 19% say brands must deliver consistent experiences to earn trust. Keeping data safe came in at just 13%, and other factors like personalization and supporting shared values registered only in the single digits.
  2. Loyalty is alive and well - and very complicated: Even with endless access to supply and choice, brand loyalty is far from dead. Eighty-three percent of consumers consider themselves about the same or more loyal to brands than their parents, and nearly 30% of Millennials see themselves as being more loyal than their parents, the highest percentage among all demographics. For consumers who felt they were more loyal than mom and dad, 42% said it's due to doing more research and having first-hand experience, with 35% saying its because they have a larger variety of choices.
  3. Loyalty and trust result in more feedback: Customers who feel high levels of trust and loyalty said they are significantly more likely to share ratings (in the 90% range for both) and detailed commentary (both exceeded 70%) about their experiences. Conversations captured directly from customers can serve as early warning signals for product and marketing campaign failures, indicate emerging opportunities for competitive differentiation, and help brands allocate resources to the most essential areas of their business.
  4. Consumers crave experiences, not just purchases: More than half of consumers (53%) said that their "recent, enjoyable" shopping experience was in a store. Product quality was ranked the top retail interaction that elevates a mere purchase to an "experience," with personalised treatment in store following at 30%.

"There are many myths about today's empowered customer," said Brennan Wilkie, SVP CX Strategy at InMoment. "We hear that they're stingy with their data, fickle with their dollars, and easily swayed by gimmicks and perennial sales. The data in this study, however, tell a very different story: Today's customers - Millennials included - are more than willing to trust and happy to reward brands that keep their promises. They will open their hearts and wallets, serve as advocates, and share their increasingly valuable feedback and other data. However just like any other relationship, trust and loyalty must be earned."