3 qualities of authentic retail shoppers value most.
It's a term that retailers are using increasingly to describe how they aim to be and communicate with customers.
It's also a word that customers use to describe their ideal retailer.
Shoppers' expectations have changed. It's no longer enough to just sell quality products to your core customers; the retail personality is important and extends to how shoppers relate to and interact with brands.
But what makes a brand authentic in shoppers’ minds?
1: Honest communication
An "authentic brand" refers to one using less marketing-speak and more honesty.
Today's customers are less impressed with fancy slogans than with accurate, interesting, and socially aware mission statements.
They want product features detailed in plain English with no "fluff." They view traditional advertising with skepticism and, often, disdain.
Millennials in particular don't want to be "sold to." Authentic retailers have integrity and demonstrate honesty as well as a certain level of transparency.
Customers are interested in learning what a brand stands for, what causes it supports and how its offerings help achieve its stated goals.
2: Quality & fairness
"Brandless" is a retailer that believes in "Life, liberty and the pursuit of fairly priced everything."
It appeals to customers who are price conscious but who are also interested in value.
Products are high quality, featuring low prices and no brand names.
Brandless is targeted to the savvy, budget minded shopper who wants quality but not necessarily a brand.
Brandless does not have to contend with adding markups for distribution, in-store advertising and shelf stocking.
It also provides organic, non-toxic, hypoallergenic products that aren't tested on animals. Those globe-conscious characteristics resonate with their customers.
3: Standing for more than just the bottom line
Now more than ever people want to know the history of retailers, what their mission is and how they conduct business.
To a degree, customers view retailers and brands as an extension of their own beliefs. Retailers are expected to have values that reflect their customers'.
For example, family-oriented shoppers may not shop on Thanksgiving, because they believe sales associates should be able to spend the day with their families. They might then shop on Black Friday at retailers who were closed the day before, thereby rewarding the stores that align with their value systems.
They want to do business with an "authentic" brand, one which has a core business strategy that evokes the virtues they themselves consider important.
A retailer must walk the walk as well as talk the talk, or customers will find one who does.