Digital Hubs Help Boost Emotional Connection to Products

Blog Post01 Dec, 2021

The Big Idea

AMERICAS – Digital is getting attention from American companies across many industries as a new way to engage customers. Walmart is live streaming more than 30 shoppable events this holiday season to better connect with shoppers and combat falling e-commerce sales. As part of their businesses, retailers in the United States are newly diving into this growing sub-industry, valued at $6 billion in 2020. Here, innovation meets authenticity as companies try to build a more emotional connection with consumers.

RepTrak Perspective

Engaging consumers through products is an enduring business practice – and a tested recipe for reputation success. The Products Factors "Offers high-quality products and services" and "Meets customer needs" continue to be in the top three most significant in the United States. The challenge for companies is to adopt a more community-driven, digital solution to sustain consumer support.

Reputation Context

Why is this important?

Global supply chain bottlenecks and high transportation costs affect product delivery as companies prepare for the holiday sale season. In the United States, affected industries such as Household Products, Consumer Durables, and Retailing have consistently strong (70>) Reputation Scores. Despite those favorable positions, RepTrak data shows room for improvement – among all three industries, "First to market with new products and services" is the lowest-performing Factor, with average (<70) scores. While ground delivery of packages is irregular, companies that establish digital hubs can continue to reach consumers.

What can companies do?

In the US, more than half (50-56%) of the public are advocates across "Would buy" and "Recommend products" for the Household Products, Consumer Durables, and Retailing industries. There is room for improvement across how companies connect with the consumers; across the "Communicates often" Brand Expressiveness measure, a range of 25% - 29% of the public is advocates in Q3 2021.

How are other companies creating online communities for consumers?

- In November 2020, L'Oréal recreated beauty consultations by live streaming masterclasses to connect consumers with social media influencers, beauty advisers, and brand experts. Since then, in the United States, L'Oréal's Products Driver Score increased 3.5-points, and Innovation Driver Score increased 2.4-points from Q3 2020 to Q3 2021.

- Macy's-owned Bloomingdale's reached consumers by hosting more than 50 shoppable live-streamed events over the past year and a half with cooking lessons, fitness classes, and conversations on sustainability. Over the past three quarters, Macy's Inc. Products Driver Score increased 3-points, and Innovation Score moved out of the 'weak' score range (<60) with a 2.5-point increase.

Convo Starters

Would foregoing shoppable events, or equivalent virtual hubs, have long-term effects on your business?

Are there opportunities for your company to innovate human connections with consumers?

Among critical demographic or market groups, how can you optimize communications?

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