E-commerce Expert Emily Levada: Understanding The Trust Equation for Product Managers

E-commerce Expert Emily Levada

As e-commerce continues to evolve, so too does the role of product manager. With this in mind, how do product managers keep ahead of industry developments, build trust in their brand, and ensure seamless cross-functional collaboration?

In the latest episode of The E-commerce Toolbox, Kailin Noivo welcomes former Head of Product at Wayfair, Emily Levada who’s recently started a new role as a Sr. Director, Consumer Product at Babylist for a discussion on her experience as a Product Manager in e-commerce.

Emily shares insights into the trust equation, and its role both within organizations and in brand-customer relationships, how to handle rapid scaling, and the tensions product managers have to resolve.

What is the Trust Equation and Why is it Important for E-commerce Product Managers?

Building trust with customers has become more important than ever for e-commerce businesses. It is the foundation upon which successful products are built, and it plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining customers.

When customers trust an e-commerce platform, they are more likely to make a purchase and become loyal users. This is where the ‘trust equation’ comes in.

The Trust Equation comes from a book called The Trusted Advisor by David Masters, Charles Green, and David Masters. It is a framework that helps people understand what trust is made up of, splitting it into four components that are easily applicable to e-commerce:

Credibility: In short, does the business know what they’re talking about?

Reliability: Does the business do what they say they will do? Emily cites the ‘say/do ratio’ as an important part of reliability.

Discretion: Emily boils this idea down to whether customers can trust a business with their emotions or secrets, whether that’s data, personal information, or buying habits.

Self-orientation: Does the business have the customers’ best interest at heart?

The reason the trust equation is particularly useful to e-commerce businesses is that it’s easy to get feedback based on credibility, reliability, discretion, and self-orientation.

Customers vote with their feet, and businesses lacking in any part of the trust equation will soon suffer. Emily says that what that feedback cycle helps businesses to do is understand what behaviors are adding to or subtracting from trust in the organization.

Emily recommends teaching the trust equation to employees and giving feedback to them based on the trust equation. What this does is encouraging them to implement behaviors and actions that increase trust in the organization, and discouraging them from taking actions and engaging in behaviors that decrease trust in the organization. The trust equation is simple. It makes building trust into something that can be accomplished in the normal course of business.

Emily Levada on The Trust Equation

Cross-Functional Collaboration In Remote and Hybrid Work Environments

One of the roles of a product manager is to make the experience as seamless as possible for vendors and those in your organization. In a sense, the work of a good product manager should be invisible!

For instance, as Emily says:

“Your customer isn’t buying your checkout experience.”

The customer is buying a product that you’re selling, and your ability to help them understand that product, select a product, feel confident in that purchase—especially if it’s a high-value purchase—is of vital importance. Emily uses the example of standardized crib sizes.

The reason this is important at Emily’s company, Wayfair, is due to their high average order values, returns are very hard for large goods. By ensuring a seamless ordering process, Wayfair is able to save money, as well as build trust with customers.

Emily Levada on cross functional collaboration

Listen to the Full Episode Below!

Tune in to this episode of The E-commerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives with Emily Levada and Kailin Noivo to learn more about how the roles of project managers are changing, and the ways they can keep ahead of developments.

Apple: https://apple.co/3KhMwfI

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3x4H78B

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