Trust Is the New Battleground for Digital Success

Trust: It’s a term we come across more and more often in the context of digital business. In our digitally enabled lives as consumers, we have to trust in order to engage. When we order a pair of jeans online, we inherently trust the retailer to not only deliver the correct size, cut and color on time, but we also trust that the retailer will safeguard and not misuse our credit card details.

Without this trust, we as consumers cannot engage. Furthermore, failure of the retailer to honor this trust will drastically undermine the potential for further engagement, significantly diminishing the business’s market value. Our data backs this up; in a recent study, we found that nearly 40% of consumers would switch brands if trust concerns arose with current suppliers.

But even as trust has fast become one of the new digital currencies, many consumers (65% of our study respondents) are still unaware of how and where their data is being used and potentially abused. That may soon change; new data legislation such as GDPR in the EU aims to address this and is set to fundamentally shift how organizations marshal consumer data in their operations. Failure for organizations to get this right could mean crippling financial penalties, in addition to the loss of trade brought about by diminished consumer trust.

Organizations, therefore, now find themselves on the brink of a trust war, with soon-to-be-informed and volatile consumers on the one hand, and draconian legislation in major regions on the other, coupled with the potential for massive earnings fallout. The problem is, not all organizations recognize the implication of this trust conundrum. In the same study referenced above, only 52% of business leaders recognized that trust is vital for succeeding in digital.

Securing Trust: A Win-Win Scenario in Industry 4.0.

Trust can no longer be an afterthought for organizations – it must be given top priority. Not only does trust retain consumers and prevent financial penalty, but it also converts into bottom-line benefits. In our study, half of respondents say they are willing to pay a premium for products and services from companies they trust.

So how can organizations marshal trust in their operations? We’ve identified three areas to build trust to succeed in the digital ecosystem:

  • Data can be yours as long as you ask clearly and keep your word. Transparency is the top factor (67%) affecting a company’s trustworthiness. In fact, 45% of respondents are willing to share personal data if a company asks upfront and makes clear how the data will be used.
  • Show consumers a return on the value of their trust. About 66% of respondents view personal data as valuable and are willing to share it with companies in exchange for some form of value. This positive “give-to-get” ratio is at the core of the economics of trust.
  • Diversify your trust portfolio. Trust today is moving to third parties; the rise of services like PayPal, Google Wallet and DasCoin has reduced the burden of trust on organizations, at least from a financial perspective. Take advantage of these where possible.

We live in a time when technological advances are outpacing the rate of legal and cultural constructs, causing significant consumer confusion, even fear, when it comes to trust. By making trust top priority, businesses can ease consumer concerns and reap the benefits.