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Brand trust is more important than ever for digital-first consumers, says study

Brand trust is more important than ever for digital-first consumers, says study
Photo Credit: Pixabay
16 Jun, 2022
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As customers navigate a rapidly changing world, the questions of trust, values, and integrity are increasingly impacting their relationships with companies. That’s reflected in a recent report which revealed that nine out of 10 Indian customers believe trust becomes the ‘key imperative’ when dealing with brands. The report also said that brands need to gear up on their digital-first customer engagement strategies can stay ahead of the race in today's time.

The findings are part of US-based customer relationship management (CRM) company, Salesforce’s fifth edition of its State of the Connected Customer report released last month, which draws insights from nearly 17,000 consumers and business buyers across 29 counties, including 650 from Indian respondents. Releasing the India-specific findings today, the company said that 92% of Indians respondents believe that trust becomes important in today's digital-first world.

The report further showed that over 80% of respondents in India have purchased products in new ways since 2020, as looking for a seamless experience and increased personalisation. These include using digital touchpoints and technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and seamless online payment systems effectively and in a more secured manner.

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Speaking exclusively to Tech Circle, Deepak Pargaonkar, VP, Solution Engineering, Salesforce India, said, “The digital imperative is here to stay. Every brand needs effective ways to digitally engage with their customers and create connected experiences.”

He added that new digital touchpoints can provide additional data to deliver personalised experiences across channels. As customers demand more personalisation, brands have an opportunity to pivot their strategies, demonstrate their values and build trust to truly enable connected customer journeys.

The report also said that as priorities and behaviours shift, brand loyalties are undergoing challenges, with 72% consumers reportedly switching brands at least once in the past year. As Pargaonkar said, today, brands are under pressure to merge online and offline interactions into a personalised experience as in-person interaction re-emerges.

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“It is here that CIO’s must recognise that shifting to a digital-first business model that’s customer-centric, data-driven strategies delivers fast time to value is key to building business resilience,” he said.

Going forward, focus on customer experience remains imperative with an estimated 61% customer engagements taking place online. “In the long run, the speed to implement digitisation in every aspect of the organisation from marketing, sales, commerce, and service is key to aligning with the ever-changing need of the customer and market evolution,” he said. 

Salesforce is not the only company talking about digital experience in building consumer trust. According to US-based cloud company Okta’s annual State of Digital Trust Report, published in July 2021, 58% of Asian respondents would be unlikely to purchase a product from a digital brand they did not trust.

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The responsibility then falls on organisations to ensure a smooth digital experience that is secure and personalised as losing trust would be detrimental to the health of a business.