Building Consumer Trust

Building Consumer Trust: Leveraging the 5th P in the Marketing Mix

Consumer demand for more intuitive and frictionless payment experiences has elevated the importance of this critical point of engagement along their journey to the “5th P” in the marketing mix. Brands across categories are including payments as a key pillar of their strategies to build trust and engagement with their customers.

In the new normal where digital forms of payment are accepted, integrated and ubiquitous—from in-store and mobile to other connected devices, like Alexa—consumers can set payments and forget about them. Digital advancements make payments faster, cheaper and more convenient. And, as AI continues to enhance customer experiences, frictionless embedded payments will become essential to the buyer journey and experience. Yet while marketers are focused on intelligent expansion of their payment touchpoints, there is still work to be done to gain the trust of consumers.

Essentially, the critical inflection point in the buyer journey is being compressed to an instant—from promotion to purchase. And while the entire marketing mix is critical, it is often in that last step in the buyer journey where a customer is won or lost—based solely on the 5th P and whether the payment experience is good or bad.

The crosscurrents surrounding simplicity, security and safety continue to influence consumer perceptions, with convenience being the primary driver of consumer engagement. According to the 2017 Consumer Trust and Mobile Payments Growth study, only two percent of those surveyed feel speed is more important than security when making digital purchases, and two-thirds of online shoppers are concerned about online shopping security. Brands must design a payment experience that serves dual purposes—one that creates both convenience and confidence—to continually win the trust of consumers. It starts with speaking directly and openly with customers about their core concerns.

Simplicity. Behind-the-scenes payments processes are complex and users do not necessarily want or need to know about them. Brands must develop simplified narratives that are understandable and relatable to consumers without sacrificing the perfect level of detail they are looking for. Upfront brand discovery and strategy work, including comprehensive audits and consumer input can help brand marketers to strike that delicate balance.

Security. Consumers want to feel secure at every payment touchpoint, but they don’t want that security to be abrasive or get in the way. Brands must be able to address concerns surrounding security, especially within an environment of hacking, breaches and theft. A powerful tool for brands is a customer journey that builds cues into the experience that reinforces secure transactions without adding clutter. Calling out security features explicitly at the start of the purchase journey and including messaging after purchases will establish and build trust. Even proactive security messaging in between purchases can mingle with offers to reinforce the trusted relationship between the customer and the brand.

Safety. Perhaps the biggest concern for consumers is around the safety of their information, funds and identity. Brands must prove that safety is their highest concern through steadfast action—constantly developing, refining and improving their methods for keeping payment data safe. By applying a service design-minded approach to the buyer journey, brands can turn each moment of fear, doubt, satisfaction and joy into an opportunity to reinforce their commitment to safety. When a brand anchors its messaging on trust and credibility, the customer experience has to be an accurate reflection of these words, with clear and visible indications of safety integrated into the experience to maintain trust and reinforce loyalty.

Payment experiences that are seamlessly integrated into a rapidly advancing IoT environment will continue to be a priority and opportunity, and no industry will go untouched by these innovations. The winners and losers of the digital payments revolution will be determined by their ability to build an environment of trust. Brands that effectively address their customers’ desires and concerns—and deliver on them—will lead the way.

This article is excerpted from the original, published in MarTechExec by Chris Prescher, 50k Principal and Chief Strategy Officer. Chris is a recognized expert in digital payments and has built the agency’s capabilities in product marketing and service design with a focus on the financial services sector.