Brands still have many opportunities to earn and maintain the loyalty and trust of consumers in today's experience-driven economy, according to a study from customer experience (CX) intelligence firm InMoment. This article is copyright 2018 The Best Customer Guide.

The 2018 UK Retail Trends Report surveyed 900 consumers in the United Kingdom to understand the state of trust and loyalty, as well as customer perception about retailers' attempts to offer more experiences versus simple transactions. The following themes emerged from the study:

  • Trust and mistrust are earned
    Eighty-two percent 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-nine percent of respondents say brands can earn their trust by simply delivering what they promised, while keeping data safe came in at just 11%, and other factors like personalisation and supporting shared values registered only in the single digits.
  • Loyalty is alive, and well - complicated
    Nearly 80% of UK consumers consider themselves about the same or more loyal to brands than their parents. However in comparison to US consumers, UK consumers report being slightly more careful with their loyalty. For those consumers who see themselves as more loyal than older generations, the two top reasons were more variety (40%) and having conducted extensive research and experience with the brand/product (38%). While this may come as a surprise to many retailers, the story the data tell is that while consumer commitment may not come easy, the due diligence that goes into the process creates a particularly resilient form of loyalty.
  • Bad experiences lead to brand breakups
    Twenty-six percent of UK customers said they only give a brand one chance to fail before they leave, seven points higher than what US consumers reported. Multi-market retailers should note that they have fewer chances to disappoint and recover with their UK customers than their American colleagues. However, nearly 45% of consumers said it takes several "really bad" experiences to leave, with 28% saying it's a matter of "growing apart."
  • Loyalty and trust = more customer data
    Consumers who feel high levels of trust and loyalty said they were significantly more likely to share ratings (in the 85-90% range for both) and detailed commentary (nearly 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. This rich, qualitative data paired with digital intelligence is also the fuel for well-executed personalisation efforts.
  • In-person Experiences Still Key, Younger Consumers Value Hybrid
    Nearly 60% of consumers said that their "recent, enjoyable" shopping experience was in a store, however Millennials have highest rate of reporting enjoyable digital experiences. Product quality was ranked the top retail interaction (35%) that elevates a mere purchase to an "experience," with personalised treatment in store following at 29%. Additionally, the report revealed that the younger the consumer, the more likely they are to have enjoyable retail experiences in the digital realm alone (31%), and as a hybrid blend of digital-physical (18%).

"Many retailers assume that today's empowered customer is stingy with their data, fickle with their spend and easily swayed by gimmicks and perennial sales, but the findings in our Retail Trends report tell a very different story," said Simon Fraser, Senior Director of CX strategy at InMoment. "The modern customer is more than willing to trust and reward brands that keep their promises, and on top of this, share their increasingly valuable feedback and other data. But like any relationship, trust and loyalty must be earned, and this is something that retailers across every industry must deliver on."