Transparent reviews; an emerging trend in Fashion & Apparel.
In recent years, online clothing retailers have seen a concerning trend. Customer acquisition is going down while the churn rate is skyrocketing.
This is partially due to an ever-increasing number of options in the market, as well as the continued growth of "fast fashion" — low-quality apparel, usually from questionable manufacturing practices, to suit the current trends. High-profile data breaches play a role as well.
However, the core of the issue is that consumers no longer trust online apparel brands like they used to.
If you're a smaller eCommerce entrepreneur, it's hurting you too. You're getting lumped in with the big brands that are sowing the seeds of distrust, and even if you've maintained a sterling business model, the damage is already done.
So, what can you do to change things? In this piece, we'll assess the current climate around distrust in the fashion industry — especially online — and show you how you can use positive reviews and user-generated content to show customers why they should trust your brand.
Why Is Trust Lower Than Ever?
There are several reasons why the last decade has seen lower and lower rates of consumer trust in online fashion retailers.
There's compelling evidence to support the fact that Millennials and members of Gen Z are more conscious of environmental and ethical concerns in the production of clothing, and the rise of fast fashion had made consumers cynical about current options on the market.
Less Personal Connection
In an eCommerce environment, you're no longer doing business with a human being at checkout. This removes some of the trust and replaces it with the uncertainty that can lead to suspicion and distrust.
High-Profile Data Breaches
Consumers are already more hesitant to use their personal and financial information in online transactions than with in-person purchases. The breaches that have plagued top fashion eCommerce brands hasn't helped.
How to Turn the Tides and Regain Trust
Faced with all-time low customer trust in the fashion industry, online retailers are trying something new — radical, unflinching transparency.
This means laying your cards out on the table. Fashion brands that had previously not given much thought to the way they operate are now changing their business models to accentuate the best parts of their brand. Here are some things you can adopt and/or highlight to maintain transparency in your brand:
- Shipping tracking
- Facilitating transactions using trustworthy payment software
- 24/7 customer service
- Ethical or sustainable production
- A friendly return policy
- Acknowledgement of mistakes
Where Reviews and UGC Fit In the Picture
One factor that can make up a trust deficit is social proof — the concept of consumers taking actions after seeing their peers take and benefit from the same actions.
So, how can you inject social proof at the top of your sales funnel? With reviews and user-generated content.
Over 95% of consumers say that they trust a brand more if it has a sterling reputation. It makes sense. After all, if you know that others have had positive experiences with a brand, it can make you more confident about purchasing from it. It's important to showcase your ratings and reviews everywhere you can on your website and social media pages — anywhere that customers will be engaging with your brand early in the decision-making process. This shows them evidence that they need to trust you.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
In the context of eCommerce, user-generated content often comes in the form of a customer posting pictures or videos of themselves using (or in this case, wearing) your products. For fashion retailers, UGC is an important opportunity to give a more vivid, visual depiction of another customer's positive experience with your brand and your products.
You can think of UGC as unpaid influencer marketing — real customers who liked their experience with your brand enough to extoll its virtues on a public forum.
Win Trust with a "Reviews First" Approach
In the eCommerce space, reviews are statistically proven to foster trust: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Effectively, if your brand has a large quantity of very positive reviews, it's like you're restoring some of the personal touches lost when choosing an online retailer over a brick-and-mortar store.
In addition, with the growth of new technologies like Google Ad Syndication, content from one place online can easily make its way anywhere else. This shows the importance of good reviews and high-quality user-generated content (UGC).
At the time when a person is making their first contact with your brand, put your best foot forward. Stamped.io can help you connect your audience with high reviews and visual UGC that builds customer trust and separates your brand from the competition!