Hard times? Ramp up the reassurance.

17 Feb 2009|Leah Hunter

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Speaking as both a shop-aholic and someone who focused on how to improve the retail experience in a tight economy, I know: Shoppers want to make sure they’re spending money in the smartest way possible. They want to be sure they’re making good decisions, getting a great value — and they need you to reassure them of that.

Want to know how (and what in the world donuts have to do with anything)? Read on.

There are lots of ways to offer reassurance at retail, when you own the stores and train the staff. But what about when you aren’t in control of how or where shoppers are introduced to your products? What are some of the ways you can make them feel confident that they’re making the right decisions?

The Experience Design team at Cheskin put our brains together and came up with loads of examples of how the companies we admire and work with reassure customers in powerful and unexpected ways. We’ll have a white paper on it out soon. Here are a few to start:

Compare and compete on price – Prevailing logic might say that competing on price is the wrong approach. But what if you flipped that on its head? Price matters to consumers. Period. And the brands getting play right now are the ones that make it easy to compare their prices to others. Think Geico. They are up front about how their costs/offering stacks up against competitors. Doesn’t that make you feel more reassured?

Show how it’s made – Seeing the process and people who create a product builds trust, (That is, assuming that we’re not talking a sweatshop in Guam.) Whether you’re an artisan bread makers or large-scale furniture manufacturer, putting a face and stories to the team making your products can make customers feel more connected to the brand. Making the process transparent makes consumers confident about what they’re getting. Just look at Krispie Kreme donuts; it’s much easier to buy that the donuts are fresh when you can see them rolling off the line yourself.


Match packaging quality to product quality
– The box is the first impression customers get of a product. A cheap box? Not the best way to send a soothing message about what’s inside. Apple does an amazing job of building reassurance through great package design. I sure didn’t save my iPhone box just because I needed it.

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