Small issues do matter

Cast your mind back to the amazing summer of 2012, when London hosted the Olympics. One of the most successful teams at the event was our cycling crew who showed the sporting world, through their marginal gains policy, that it is the small things that count.

This is equally true of the relationships that shoppers have with the retailers and brands that they buy from, because trust issues are not only born of the one big event that shatters illusions, they can also emerge from frequent, possibly trivial looking disappointments. In our own recent shopper trends research we identified a range of small irritations that may seem relatively harmless in isolation, but create real frustration and annoyance among shoppers. For example:

  • 59% of UK shoppers scored at least 8 out of 10 irritation points for promotions that aren’t as good as they sound
  • 52% gave the same score to products that end up being smaller in reality than their packaging suggests
  • 50% to companies that lack honesty during bad publicity

In all 10 factors were scored at least 8 out of 10 by 40% or more shoppers.

If you were a medical team asking a patient to score their pain out of 10, and they consistently referenced figures of 8+ you’d be pretty quick to sort out a solution. So, to see a considerable proportion of shoppers giving such high annoyance points for so many factors should be a red flag to retailers and brands.

Many of these issues are day to day features in our shopping lives. How many times have you queued at the till to find one of the products you thought was in the pick and mix promotion was wrongly labelled? Or looked at the promotional small print to find that 2 for 1 isn’t a bargain when the SKU cost is 50p! Or opened that huge bag of crisps at home to find you appeared to have bought a packet of air?

In a world where choice is the name of the game, as shoppers we all know that we have multiple options when it comes to our day to day shopping. We can change brand, switch to an own label, change retailer or channel with relative ease. So, for retail-related businesses, it has never been more important to protect hard won loyalty by avoiding tripping up on factors that feel small to a business, but can so obviously irritate shoppers.

As we all know, trust is hard won and easily lost.

By Danielle Pinnington, MD at Shoppercentric