Foundational Insights into Shopper Trust & Stubbornness – CPG vs. Services/ E-Comm

As we mentioned back in October, about 100 new categories have been added to the BrandSpark Trust and Stubbornness database in conjunction with our recent BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards (BMTA) Services & E-comm awards. One interesting area to explore has been the ways that Services & E-comm results differ from the CPG categories. But perhaps more importantly we’ve discovered important ways the results are very similar, creating foundational shopper insights and benchmarks that span all categories.

The most important similarity is that if you take the average category winner in CPG vs. Services / E-com, their trust and stubbornness lead over the nearest competitor is almost identical – in each of Canada and the U.S. This provides further support to our ongoing learning that the overall benchmarks on trust and stubbornness are applicable across a wide variety of categories and industries. There is something fundamental about them, having been built on the collection of positive (and negative) brand experiences people have, that makes the same standards applicable regardless of what product or service a company offers.

What also became clear is that the “stubbornness gap” between Canada and the U.S. is rather large – making it another foundational shopper insight. Even more so than with CPG, U.S. shoppers are stronger in their brand convictions than Canadians in relation to service / e-comm brands they trust. Flipped the other way, it means Canadians are generally more open to switching to alternative options. This indicates marketers in Canada typically need to invest more into holding onto their current base of customers – but also may find an easier to win-over new shoppers than their U.S. counterparts.

But once you take the next step down to the drivers of brand stubbornness (we look at 8 unique drivers), there are some interesting and important differences that emerge. Today we’ll focus on Canada.

The first is in terms of innovation. It is the #2 driver of brand stubbornness for CPG, but drops down to #7 for Services / E-com. Among other things this highlights why the Best New Product Awards (BNPA) program is so important for CPG – successfully launching new products that resonate well with shoppers have a powerful effect on strengthening the overall brand trust, and generally making companies more resilient to competitive pressures.

While innovation is further down the list for services & e-comm, a number of other drivers move up the rankings. The biggest shifts are in customer support and transparency that move up the most – which makes sense given the nature of most services and e-comm platforms. But it’s “values” moving up to #2 overall that might be most interesting to consider.

While values are the 2nd ranked driver, this is where shoppers indicate the gap between brands is currently the narrowest. Among other things, this points towards the opportunity for specialty retailers to really differentiate on and compete with Amazon, particularly if they find competing on innovation a challenge.

These are just of a few of the insights we have gleaned so far from an “overall” perspective. But similar to what we learned in the CPG categories, the performance on (and ranking of) drivers can vary widely by specific category, even when at first blush they might seem fairly similar. And for brands competing in both countries, the differences between the two are often quite stark and need to be accounted for.

If you compete in any of the BMTA categories from this year, feel free to reach out to learn more about the specific dynamics you currently face – and how your brand can increase trust, resiliency, and ultimately market share.