Why honesty in marketing matters
How much do consumers care about a brand’s honesty?
It’s an important question: concerns about topics like diversity and the environment have deepened over the pandemic period and consumers have been active participants. Brands have responded by taking stances on issues and bringing a message of purpose to their marketing – to varying degrees of success. At Trustpilot, we wanted to learn just how important this is to consumers, and how brands can use this knowledge to reach more customers.
In September 2021, we surveyed almost 15,000 people in the UK, US, Australia, Sweden, France, Germany, and Italy who bought electronic and tech products, fashion, home and garden items, or financial products over the past year.
We explored how they feel about brands adopting an ethical stance or purpose and how they feel about honesty in marketing.
The survey results are valuable to any business interested in behaving more ethically. The results give brands a roadmap using honesty to appeal to the growing number of consumers who want political, environmental, or sociological issues taken seriously.
The biggest reason to buy is transparency
Usually, brands find that quality and price are some of the most important attributes of their product or service. Well, according to our research — not any longer. 46.4% of respondents said that honesty and transparency about a brand's activities and the impact they have is among the top three factors that would make a consumer buy from a company. That’s compared to the 45.7% who said that providing an excellent product or service is one of the top three impactful factors.
Further, over a third of respondents also said that a brand putting their customers’ opinions and experiences front and center will make them more likely to buy. Why is this? Well, perhaps because consumers know they can trust their fellow consumers to speak honestly about their experience with a company and its products.
Businesses perceived as dishonest or harmful will lose customers
We weren’t just interested in looking at the main reasons consumers decide to purchase – we also wanted to dig into the reasons why a consumer would be less likely to buy from a business or brand. Once more, we asked consumers to pick from a few statements to consider which would make them less likely to purchase.
47.1% said they’d be less likely to purchase if the brand appears to be boastful or dishonest in their marketing. And this explains why over a third of respondents said they’re encouraged to buy when a brand puts their customers’ words and experiences front and center – if consumers can’t trust brands to be honest in their marketing, they’ll look to other consumers to get an honest review of the brand.
44.2% of respondents said that if the company ignores its customers' experiences and feedback, they’d be less likely to purchase. If a shopper personally attempts to engage with your brand and doesn’t get a response, or gets a response that doesn’t address their issue, that’s going to be a major mark against you for that person. But it’s not just these one-on-one encounters that matter. Consumers can see how you deal with customer feedback on public channels like social media and review platforms. The way you handle these encounters publicly can have a major impact on buyer trust and their likelihood to purchase.
The full report, Brand integrity: the new frontier for marketing, is full of even more insights into consumer expectations and advice for brands. Download the report at no cost here.
Read on for the steps you can take to put these insights into action.
4 Steps to use customer reviews to build a more honest brand on PrestaShop
We know now that honesty matters to consumers, and that customer reviews can be used to convey your brand’s honesty. It’s simple to put this into practice on your PrestaShop store.
1. Listen to your customers
What are consumers saying about your brand? You might think you know the answer, but remember: consumers don’t only rely on your brand-owned properties. They’re checking independent sources too. Search on social media, message boards, and third-party review sites to find out where your customers are having conversations about your brand. Listening to your customers on their preferred platforms is the first step to showing you care about their experience.
2. Ask for feedback
Invite every single one of your customers to leave a review of their experience. This is the best way to get a representative sample of the user experience. It helps you prove that you’ve got nothing to hide: you’re a transparent and honest brand who collects and showcases reviews from everyone.
If you have concerns about receiving negative reviews, then this has an added benefit. Unhappy customers are all too willing to leave a bad review without being prompted, skewing your public perception on third-party sites. When you invite every buyer, you’ll hear from happy customers too and likely achieve a more accurate rating.
For PrestaShop users, this is simple to action. Just install the free Trustpilot module to set up automated review invitations.
3. Answer and Act
If a consumer is interacting with you on any public platform like social media or a third-party review site, respond to every reviewer. Solve problems when possible, respond publicly to issues, and thank everyone for their feedback. When you resolve issues, customers will often come back and re-rate you with a higher score. Even if they don’t, other consumers are checking those reviews. When they see that you care about their customer experience and respond to poor reviews, it builds trust with these consumers – even if you aren’t able to fix every single problem encountered. Responding to reviews shows how much your company cares about its customers.
4. Showcase your customers’ experiences
Feature ratings and reviews throughout the buyer journey to prove to new buyers your store is trusted. We’ve seen from our research that consumers are more likely to trust brands throughout the journey when real customer feedback and experiences are shared. When brands put the customer experience first and feature the customer voice, their bottom line feels the benefit.
Collecting and showcasing reviews is easy with the free Trustpilot’s module for PrestaShop stores. Install it in just a few clicks to start collecting reviews automatically, to drag-and-drop them onto your site, and to prove to consumers that you care about your customers and act with honesty and integrity.