IBM study shows retailers and manufacturers gaining trust among Canadian consumers

In fact, our trust in retailers and manufacturers has doubled over the past year.

While family and friends still rank highest among trusted influencers, they and all other sources including product experts and customer reviews lost trust to the benefit of retailers and manufacturers, who collectively scored 26 per cent of the “trust ranking” score (12 and 14 per cent respectively) in the 2011 study, up from 13 per cent in 2010 (four per cent and nine per cent respectively).

The Canadian results were part of IBM’s third global study to examine peoples’ shopping beliefs, attitudes and habits. In the most recent study, more than 28,000 consumers in 15 countries were surveyed, and approximately one million digital conversations were listened to.

“The survey shows Canadian retailers are gaining traction as they begin to recognize trust – which is the strongest driver of both advocacy and spend – matters,” says Pinar Cardwell, associate partner in IBM’s retail consulting practice. “The key is retailers must monitor consumer dialogue and sentiment on how well they are faring. Retailers who listen and engage in these dialogues will be best-positioned to build trust and loyalty by addressing consumers’ evolving expectations.”

Canadian consumers empowered by digital shopping technologies

The survey also showed Canadian consumers are digitally savvy in their shopping habits. Fifty per cent of survey respondents in Canada said they would use mobile devices to check out of a retail location and receive promotions at the point of sale, and 68 per cent said they were not concerned with security when using their mobile device. Thirteen per cent of Canadian consumers are willing to use three or more technologies such as websites, social networks, videos or mobile devices, to shop. Among them, the idea of buying with a TV remote in response to a commercial or product placement in a show is quickly gaining popularity, the survey also revealed.

The rapid influx of digital data is posing new challenges for retailers. Customers are sharing experiences widely online, giving them more control and influence over brands, and are looking for a more personalized shopping experience. Increasingly, retailers are responding and using sophisticated analytics to gain insight and adjust marketing messages to address what they are hearing on the wire.

"Retailers must now deploy an evolved strategy for redefining the customer experience to deepen the brand relationship and build the trust necessary to create brand advocates who will promote the retailer to others," said Elizabeth Evans, associate dean, Ted Rogers School of Management.

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