Consumer trust and omni-channel, neither are easily mastered and both are fragile even when grasped, but when applied effectively can be powerful levers for topline growth.
Winning consumer trust emerged as the top priority for executives following growth. And, while it may not necessarily be a direct pathway to growth, one in three executives said it was an area for increased investment.
Particularly for the food and beverage companies, the top two areas of importance for building consumer trust for both retailers and manufacturers were consumer health and wellness and food and product safety.
The new consumer is demanding more information about the products and services they buy – in fact, three-quarters of the respondents agreed that “our consumers demand transparency.”
When it comes down to it, no matter how good your product or service is, you will not be able to grow without credibility and trust of your customers. Trust alone cannot sell a bad product; but a lack of trust can thwart the sale of a good one.
Omni-channel promises the ultimate goal – letting every consumer shop and purchase on their terms, consistently and seamlessly no matter the platform. The linear business model has been disrupted as the digital world has consumers “coming at manufacturers and retailers from all directions--and not just through their own channels or in a predictable order” says Jeanne Johnson, Head of Omni-channel at KPMG in the US.
Along with consumer trust, omni-channel is one of the top issues of importance. Just over half of retail respondents say they offer a seamless shopping experience across channels, and just slightly fewer offer the ability to shop from a mobile device. This may represent progress, but many retailers are unable to meet these new consumer demands – demands that competitors are actively fulfilling.
Since omni-channel is both a key area targeted for investment and a top challenge, this aptly summarizes the issue: it is both a threat (need to adopt new technology – often before it’s totally tested) and, if it works well, an opportunity.
In the last year, some industry players may feel they have a better handle on the omni-channel challenge. However, it is still certainly high on the consumer executive agenda. In fact, the most often cited strategy for growth this year, “new sales channels and distribution strategies," undoubtedly has a component of omni-channel for many.