The French want brands to be more transparent (study)

Sitecore® reveals the results of a new “Sitecore Brand Authenticity” survey conducted among more than 1,000 consumers in France. Two years into the pandemic, consumers no longer have the same expectations as brands. Sitecore conducted this survey with Advanis among French consumers to monitor new buying behaviors and see how brands can align with these trends. As a customer experience management company, Sitecore creates connections between brands and their customers, so it is critical for the company to better understand consumer expectations, especially after the disruption caused by the shutdowns.

The online shopping experience has improved since the beginning of the epidemic

The first observation is that, in the booming e-commerce market, 50% of French consumers find that their shopping experiences have generally improved in the past two years.

  • 53% find it easier to pay online;
  • 54% believe that the purchase process is faster, especially in terms of order confirmation and even delivery times;
  • 57% estimate their ability to buy online with just a few clicks;
  • Only 15% of consumers surveyed reported negative shopping experiences within two years. The main pitfall is the lack of substitutes offered when the product is not available (58% of consumers).

However, French consumers in general remain little reactive to brands:

  • Only 22% of respondents followed the brand’s social media account;
  • 20% viewed the brand’s YouTube channel;
  • Only 46% of consumers surveyed want a more personal relationship with brands.

Price increases are not a brake on buying, but transparency is essential

French consumers feel the impact of inflation in their daily shopping habits, but most (63%) are aware that brands can pass additional costs (materials, shipping, etc.) into the price of the product. However, they do not blindly accept price increases, because nine out of ten require brands to communicate their new prices with complete transparency (94%).

Overall, the study reveals that transparency is really a critical factor in consumer choice:

  • 35% of respondents believe that brand transparency and credibility is a more important buying factor than price.
  • 63% are willing to pay more if the service or product is environmentally friendly and 60% are also willing to pay more if they know the brand’s employees are well paid.

Consumers want to buy from committed brands but have doubts about brand communication:

  • 38% of French consumers have doubts about the correctness of the information provided by brands in their communications;
  • 73% of consumers believe that brands should be transparent about political parties and the social issues they financially support;
  • 83% of French consumers don’t know if brands are already making efforts to support the environment or are just doing it;
  • For 79% of them, saying we are committed to a cause is not enough. You have to prove it.

“Brand commitment has been tested over the past two years. Consumer expectations today are very different from what they were before the pandemic, and all types of customers — from brand believer to bargain hunters — are sensitive to the values ​​embodied by brands.”
“To re-engage and retain consumers, brands must embrace transparent communications. Transparency can build a personal relationship of trust with the customer, to the point where price can become secondary.”

Cyril Reinhard, Vice President of Setcor France

Towards hyper-retail marketing?

Certainly, the main challenge that brands will have to face in the coming years is adapting to the changing relationship that different generations have with brands. In order to be able to deliver a relevant message to the entire audience, it is necessary to adopt segmented marketing strategies. If expectations in terms of transparency, customer representation in brand communications, and actions in favor of the environment are similar between different generations, then many differences can be observed, both in terms of the company’s words and actions, and in the buying process:

  • 45% of consumers aged 18-34 believe brands should be politically involved compared to 30% of consumers aged 45+;
  • 22% of consumers aged 18-24 feel they are a member of their preferred brand community, compared to 6% of those aged 45 and over.
  • 59% of 25-34-year-olds want to make all or most of their purchases online compared to just 22% of respondents aged 45 and over.

“It is imperative that brands take into account the different expectations between generations in their marketing campaign.”
“It allows them to focus their resources on specific sectors and target a precisely defined audience.”

Cyril Reinhard, Vice President of Setcor France


methodology :

This survey was conducted by Advanis on behalf of Sitecore with 1,054 French consumers, in April 2022, in order to understand the evolution of buyer behavior and what strategies brands can adopt to improve customer experience.

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