Washington, D.C. —Consumer trust is of supreme importance for retailers, translating to brand confidence and consumer loyalty, but knowing how to gain and maintain it proves is difficult.
In May, WholeFoods Magazine publisher Heather Wainer moderated a webinar held by the Natural Products Association (NPA) with Abraham and Gabe Nabors, second-generation own-ers of Mustard Seed Market & Café of Akron, OH. Consumer trust is their top priority and greatest strength, and the NPA webinar was aimed at helping retailers build trust in their customers.
During the webinar, Gabe and Abraham spoke about "walking the talk" to establish credibility, especially for natural products re-tailers, where the standards and expectations are often higher. "Walking the talk" is devoting attention and energy to making sure your core values are being upheld at all business levels. Gabe and Abraham refer to it as "doing what you say you will do."
For example, rathcr than prepare a act amount of food each day and continuing to use it until it is depleted or inedible, the Mustard Seed Market prepared foods department tries to cus-tomize the quantities they put out for the amount they expect to sell that day, every day. The Nabors say that while this may cause a slight financial hit, it allows them to say their prepared foods are made fresh every day, establishing consumer trust by keeping to one of their core standards: freshness.
Having a customer-centric policy was also promoted during the webinar. As the Nabors put it, "the customer isn't always right, but they should usually win." Policies regarding things like returns should exist and be reinforced, though there will always be exceptions, such as with habitual customers and the like. It is also very important that all employees know these policies so each situation can be handled in a uniform manner.
The other side of "walking the talk" is handling mistakes prop-erly. Even when things go wrong, going above and beyond to fix things quickly can serve as a big confidence boost for customers.
Read this Entire Mini-Series
Part 2: Establishing Core Values (story available on 7/1/14)
Part 3: Education Tips (story available on 7/8/14)
Part 4: Community Involvement (story available on 7/15/14)
Part 5: Fostering Transparency (story available on 7/22/14)
Part 6: Promotions and Discounting (story available on 7/29/14)
Information about future Wednesday Webinars from the Natural Products Association is available here:
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2014