A new study by Chain Store Age and J. Shapiro & Associates deals with trust and how it influences where consumers shop. While one generally thinks of successful retailers as stores that have the right merchandise at a fair price arranged attractively and/or efficiently in a clean, inviting space, further consideration makes one realize that trust is an influencing factor in determining where people shop.
The Chain Store Age report focuses on issues such as fairtrade and products that fail, both important in the current environment in which, for instance, customers eschew clothing made in sweatshops or dangerous toys that come from China. But other, less obvious, factors also add up to either trust or mistrust.
Does your store have a high trust quotient? To find out, consider the following:
1. Quality. Does the quality of your merchandise match the price? If there is a mismatch there — meaning that you are selling marginal merchandise at too high a price — your customers will, over time, find another place to shop.
2. Inventory. If your customers repeatedly come in to your store to find the item they want is out of stock, eventually they will stop coming.
3. Comfort. Make sure that your customers know your returns policy, and make it as customer-friendly as you possibly can. Nobody likes to get stuck with something that doesn’t work for them because of an unfair returns policy.
4. Excitement. Whether you own a hardware store or a boutique, are your customers always pleasantly surprised when they come in? Do you rotate the merchandise often enough to keep it interesting? And, do you put new merchandise in a place where customers are sure to see it?
5. Expectation. If you aren’t doing so already, always strive to give your customers more than they expect.