More than two-thirds of consumers say their level of trust in a brand will greatly affect their purchase decisions, according to recent research. Clearly, if your company wants to continue earning customers, you need to protect your brand’s reputation to maintain this all-important consumer trust.
When we speak about brand protection here at TrackStreet, we’re usually talking about making sure your resale partners are honoring your Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy, and that unauthorized retailers aren’t able to acquire your inventory and then unfairly undercut your legitimate sellers. But as important as MAP monitoring is for protecting your brand, particularly online, you’ll need additional tools as well.
In this post, we’ll discuss a few of the brand protection technologies we believe are the most important to have in your brand’s arsenal.
1. Customer review tracking and analysis
Three out of four consumers say they read product reviews before making a purchase. In the internet era, when a customer who finds poor reviews for your product can immediately move on to a competitor, you need to make sure your products are earning high ratings and positive customer reviews. If a customer writes a negative review of one of your products, you need to know about it immediately so you can take the appropriate actions.
But you can’t possibly monitor the entire Internet at all times looking for customer feedback. And even if you could, you’d need some sort of intelligent system to help you organize and analyze all of this data, so you could use it to make better-informed business decisions.
Solution: You need an online brand protection platform that includes a sophisticated Review Tracking engine.
2. An online dealer management portal
As I alluded to above, one of the big threats facing brands today is the ease with which unauthorized resellers are able to acquire a company’s products using dishonest means — and then resell those products online without the brand’s permission and usually at advertised prices that the brand’s honorable sales partners cannot compete with.
A common reason for the rogue-seller problem is that manufacturers fail to set restrictions on where their own internal sales reps or wholesale partners are allowed to sell their inventory. Additionally, in most cases these brands do not keep track of what happens to their products after retailers buy them for resale. This is how manufacturers end up with rogue sellers misleading consumers, creating lousy buys experiences, and generating negative reviews that lead to public distrust in the brand itself.
The fastest way to deal with this problem is to start tightening up your distribution channel. And the fastest way to do that is to set up an authorized dealer network that limits which sellers are allowed to buy and retail your inventory. Ideally, you’ll want an automated online portal that lets you easily manage and oversee your network of dealers. For example, this portal should streamline the application process for new dealers and existing dealers’ requests for updates to their terms.
This online portal should also sync with your ERP or inventory management systems, so as dealers enter their inventory updates into the portal (so you can track your products through the distribution channel), your offline systems are automatically updated with this important information.
Solution: A brand protection platform that includes an easy-to-use online Dealer Management Portal.
3. Clickable trust icons for your authorized dealers’ listings
Nearly 80% of shoppers expect to see a trust seal or icon on the sales-listing pages they visit to confirm the company’s trustworthiness.
In other words, if you don’t arm your authorized dealers with some sort of trust icon that lets a consumer verify the retailer is in fact one of your brand’s official resellers, your retail partners — and your company — are almost certainly losing business.
You can help your authorized dealers quickly establish that trust with online shoppers — and at the same time make it more difficult for unauthorized retailers to advertise your products without your permission — by creating trust icons that your sellers can post everywhere they sell your products online.
Ideally, you will want to make these 3rd party trust icons clickable links, which verify that the dealer is part of your authorized sales channel and clearly demonstrating why that’s important. That will give wary customers the comfort of knowing that your brand stands by this retailer’s commitment to service and honorable business practices. It can also help to reassure a shopper that the dealer whose sales listing they’ve found will in fact honor any warranties, customer service promises, and other incentives listed with your products.
Solution: A brand protection platform that includes an automated solution to implement Authorized Dealer Badging.