One lasting consequence of the digital revolution and the pandemic was the increase in consumer choice. From being able to purchase cars and furniture online, to the pandemic’s effect of pushing more shopping into infinite virtual shelves, consumers are facing more options. Brand loyalty has been affected by the variety and strain in supply chains, although not as much as you may think. For marketers looking to expand their brand by acquiring new customers, this choice can mean a lot of competition for buyers.
While wooing customers is important for marketers, they are less likely to form a long-term relationship with a brand new customer. SME Commspoint Journey research, which assists clients to understand attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that drive purchases shows that 85% consumer purchases were made in 80 different categories by people who had used the brand in the past. It is possible to expect high levels of repeat buying in areas where purchasing behavior has become routine and customers shop automatically. However, even though these categories are high in consideration, which is defined by long purchase journeys of more than a week length, the hesitation to try a different brand remains high. SME data shows that in these high-consideration categories, 75% of consumers still buy from a brand they’ve bought in the past.
Consumers are reluctant to buy from new brands because it is risky. This could explain why repeat buying is so high. Commspoint Journey data indicates that close to one-quarter (22%) of U.S. shoppers report feeling nervous or anxious during a purchase decision to purchase a brand new product. That’s double the level of anxiety consumers feel (11%) when they are re-purchasing a brand they’ve bought before. Unsurprisingly, customers are less anxious when cost plays a major role, like in financial and tech services.
Consumer hesitancy can be reduced by brands building trust. Brand-consumer relationships are based on trust. This is especially important for those who have just started a relationship. SME Commspoint Journey data has shown that consumers who consider a new brand are 25% more likely to identify their ideal brand relationship to include trust than average consumers.
Consumers evaluate multiple sources of information along their purchase journeys to assess a brand’s trustworthiness. A brand’s reputation, reflected in reviews and word of mouth, certainly carries significant weight. SME’s U.S. Trust in Advertising survey found these sources to be among the most trustworthy among more than 20 sources considered. It might be surprising to marketers that advertisements are more frequently cited than recommendations or reviews as helpful or influential resources during a journey. Commspoint Journey shows that 18% of brand new triers remember using reviews during their journey. Comparatively, 33% used recommendations while 45% said they were influenced or useful by advertising.
Marketing is crucial and marketers need to be mindful of where they put their ads. U.S. Trust in Advertising’s survey revealed that sponsorships, newspaper ads, and advertising before movies are among the most trustworthy marketing investments. Contrary to this, advertisements that were found in social media, mobile text and online banners, as well as ads on the internet, are less trusted. Influencers who combine elements of social and sponsorship were viewed as average marketing investment investments.
For brands that want to target specific audiences, it would prove valuable for media companies to understand the trustworthiness of their audience. For example, Gen Xers are more trusting than ads that are broadcast on radio while senior citizens are much more inclined to trust emails from advertisers.
For certain industries, choosing channels that will increase trust is even more crucial. The least trust is shown by financial and pharmaceutical advertising, so advertisers should be careful to choose channels that will elicit trust.