It’s no secret to retailers, whether large or small, that customer service has a direct and meaningful impact on the loyalty of their customer base. However, what may come as a surprise, is that in a world that is becoming increasingly less personal, one of the most important individual components of that customer service is still good, old-fashioned gratitude.
In a recent survey TD Bank polled over 1,000 consumers across the country about brand gratitude, and then compiled their answers into usable data sets that can be effectively utilized by retailers. It should come as no surprise that over three-fourths (77%) of consumers like it when retailers express gratitude. TD Bank partnered with Lizzie Post, the President of the Emily Post Institute. What did the etiquette expert have to say? “Customers know that they have a choice when it comes to where they spend their money and where they take their business,” said Ms. Post. “When a brand demonstrates genuine gratitude and respect, it builds consumer trust. And business success relies on that trust.”
All over the world, we often hear about unfair business practices, including apparel companies that rely on sweatshop labor to make huge profits. Sweatshop workers across the globe are often paid substandard wages for long hours, are subject to poor and hazardous work conditions, and are oftentimes very young children.
This is not the case with Timberland. Known for their signature 6 inch tan boots, the New Hampshire based apparel company’s reputation is solid. They dedicate themselves to protecting the environment, particularly tree conservation. As part of their service to the world, they plant 15,000 trees throughout China and the Dominican Republic.
The retail landscape is shifting radically and quickly. This is not your grandmother’s shopping trip, and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Now, consumers have access and agency like never before. For the retailer, that means that customers are able to interact with businesses and buy products in a way that is flexible and fun. Here are three major trends affecting the retail industry today.
One of the most recent trends in the retail world is the implementation of chip-embedded credit cards. Those credit cards were developed and are being employed all in the name of safety. Safety is, absolutely, a top priority, especially with large-scale security breaches like Target’s still fresh in the minds of most.
Here’s the irony: Visa and MasterCard are now under fire for the apparent lack of safety provided by those very cards. Largely, because the cards require signature authorization, instead of PIN numbers. Signatures are notoriously easy to forge, especially under the untrained eye of cashiers. Because of this, major retailer Home Depot is suing MasterCard and Visa.
Success in e-commerce has come naturally to many small and large retailers. However, such success seems to be forever evading one of the top retailers in America, Wal-Mart. The store’s online retail sales growth has been dropping steadily since the beginning of 2014. In the first quarter of 2015, the retail titan saw a glimmer of hope with slight sales growth. This was short-lived. In the past year, their sales have only grown by 7 percent–and this in comparison to their previous year’s growth of 17 percent and an industry average of 15 percent.
So, why is Wal-Mart struggling? In 2015, they invested 2 billion dollars into e-commerce advancements. These advancements included everything from upgrading their e-commerce fulfillment centers to other innovations that made the website more user-friendly.