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Socially-Savvy Consumers Prioritize Trust in Retailer Relationships

Securing the trust of a socially-savvy shopper isn’t a complete bust for retailers.

Today, consumers are turning to digital platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to make purchasing decisions. With this change in shopper behavior, retailers can secure consumer loyalty and stay on top as the retail sector continues to evolve.

At NRF 2017, 500 Startups venture partner Tristan Pollock, along with executives from The Honest Company and Ikea, discussed how retailers can win today’s socially-aware consumer with a trustworthy and authentic market presence.

“It is a human movement that we are holding our companies and organizations to be accountable for and be a proactive member of the global community,” Pollock said.

The Honest Company and Ikea, two consumer-favorite brands, demonstrate how retailers could hone in on shoppers’ needs beyond efficient products. Both brands have earned consumers’ trust with their humanitarian efforts.

“Remarkable product is a given,” The Honest Company founder and CPO Christopher Gavigan said. “Being remarkable is that you have a particular kind of view in the marketplace and the brand is setting the standards.”

As The Honest Company’s CPO, Gavigan is responsible for ensuring that the company’s merchandise—including baby swimwear and home cleaning products, are free from harmful chemicals. To further commit to consumer trust, the company also established a medical advisory board for product evaluations and continued sustainability. Consumers are buying The Honest Company’s products without loopholes and know that their families won’t be negatively impacted by hidden ingredients.

The Honest Company’s presence isn’t just about its organic consumer goods though. As of Sept. 30, 2016, the company has donated 6,118,677 diapers and 789,810 personal care items to the greater community. Furthermore, The Honest Company supported the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and participated in Heal the Bay’s beach cleanup in the past year.

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The Honest Company doesn’t only secure a place on consumers’ shelves. It also leaves a positive imprint that bridges organic products with a meaningful purpose—to work together for better worldwide wellness.

“Consumers in particular are looking for partnership,” Gavigan said. “You fail the consumer once, they are really going to notice.”

Ikea U.S. president Lars Petersson also emphasized how genuine branding goes a long way for retailers.

“We are a home furnishing company, but for us, everything circles around people,” Petersson said. “It is important to be consistent in all touch points from the material we put in the products and the people we interact with in the supply chain.”

Known for its affordable home goods, Ikea has provided consumers with kitchenware and dressers for many decades. Democratic design is at the heart of Ikea, so consumers can use products for multiple purposes without sacrificing convenience. Many products, including the Riggad work lamp, are incorporated with wireless charger abilities and are designed with environmentally-friendly materials. By establishing functionality and sustainability in their product lineup, Ikea puts consumers’ values first.

Ikea is also known for its greater community initiatives. To date, the Ikea Foundation has contributed over $1 billion to local organizations and in partnership with Save the Children and UNICEF, has improved the education of over 12 million African children.

When consumers buy Ikea products, they know that they are not only adding flair their own homes, but improving the lives of other people as well.

The purchasing process of a socially-savvy consumer doesn’t end with a product. In a time where brick-and-mortar is fighting digital competition, the socially-savvy consumer wants be ensured that a retailer is not only providing efficient products, but also taking part in building a better global future. As demonstrated with The Honest Company and Ikea, a trustworthy and authentic market presence goes a long way for retailers.