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Study: This is who consumers trust most for shopping recommendations

Despite their high-profile, influencers and bloggers are among the least trusted sources of shopping recommendations. So are tech-related sources such as Alexa.

That’s according to a study conducted by Oracle in partnership with Jeanne Bliss, customer experience pioneer and founder of Customer Bliss, which revealed that consumers are twice as likely to trust family members (77%) and friends (75%) than any other source for shopping recommendations. The next most trusted source is colleagues (38%).

The study found that it is getting increasingly difficult for brands to influence purchasing behavior as consumers. Politicians (2%), celebrities (7%), a company employee you engage with online (12%) and influencers/bloggers (14%) are among the least trusted sources of shopping recommendations, according to the report.

Consumer trust in technology is also limited. Ninety-two percent of consumers do not trust recommendations from chat or messaging pop-ups on websites, 89% of consumers do not trust voice-activated services like Alexa or Siri and 81% do not trust ads on mobile devices. The most trusted source of tech-driven recommendations was social media ads, which are trusted by just 23% of consumers.

The study, "One Size Doesn't Fit All," includes insights from over 1,100 U.S. consumers across four generations, also and found that 43% of people blacklist brands that fail to meet their expectations and that a lack of trust in brands is making it increasingly difficult to influence purchasing behavior. The majority of consumers (82%) have had an experience with a brand that is disappointing or upsetting and more than three-quarters of consumers (78%) say they have had an experience where they were not satisfied with the customer service provided.

As brands fall short, consumers are taking decisive action. More than one third (34%) of consumers said they would never shop with a company again after just one bad experience.

"As this study shows, consumers are attracted to brands that go the extra mile to deliver personalized experiences and are willing to take decisive action when their expectations are not met,” said Bliss. “The key takeaway here is that one size doesn't fit all and if you invest in customer experience, your customers will invest in you."

In other findings from the report:

• 88% of consumers share their negative experiences. The majority will tell their friends and family (59%), while only 35% will contact a company to give it the chance to resolve the issue.

• Only a small percentage (15%) of consumers expect a brand to have a social media presence, followed by a stance on social/environmental issues (9%) or political issues (4%).

• Consumers are willing to pay a premium for personalized and novel experiences and more than half of consumers (57%) are comfortable sharing personal information to receive a better experience. But the majority of consumers do not expect brands to deliver.

• 41% of consumers, and almost half of millennials (47%), are willing to pay as much as 20% more for an impressive customer experience.

• 68% of consumers think it is important for a store to tailor its experience based on their tastes and preferences.

• 42% of people are more likely to buy from a company that offers novel ways to experience its products and services. This is especially true for Gen Z (58%) and millennials (56%).

• Consumers from different age groups have very different attitudes toward sharing personal information. 64% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers are comfortable sharing personal information to receive better experiences compared to 50% of Gen X and 35% of Baby Boomers.

• Consumers expect to have the flexibility to return products for free (66%) and get a refund when a product or service does not meet expectations (64%).

• Consumers also want flexibility around when and where they purchase products. Respondents listed surprising places for buying products including standing in line to buy the product in-store (17%), while in a meeting at work (9%), while driving (9%), while on a date (6%) or in the shower (4%).

"True customer experience today is not a one-size-fits-all model and as this study shows, brands are increasingly having to operate in a world where customer understanding is at a premium and there is virtually no tolerance for mistakes," said Rob Tarkoff, executive VP and general manager, Oracle CX Cloud. "Brands are in a race against time to meet these ever-changing customer expectations and will need to take a data-driven approach to ensure they can make every customer interaction matter."

Read the full report here.
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