Retail: How to Keep it Personal & Take Care of Privacy

For years the retail sector has been making use of customer data to propel their own marketing campaigns forward. What remains to be seen in this regard is, how the future of better data collection and technology, coupled with an enhanced need for customer personalization shakes up this procedure in the future. 

For the retail sector the future promises amplified feasibility and a better distribution network. We even have data centric innovations that use up data to point out towards what the customers want. On the other side of the coin, customers love every little bit of personalization that is thrown at them. Personalization feels like a brand is communicating with them, and they love every bit of it. But, the only drawback here is that customers are beginning to question what happens to data collected by or through them? Simply put, customers want the best of both worlds; a complete personalized experience, with the perks of enhanced privacy. The onus now lies on protagonists within the retail sector, and how they are able to meet these enhanced needs from customers. 

Up Close with Customers 

The recent wave towards providing a better customer experience has meant that retailers now value customers more than they ever did before. This has meant that retailers are bidding to go up close with customers and find out exactly what they are looking for. A recent study conducted at a mass level across the globe has garnered sufficient insight into what the customers want from this digital transformation. Are they okay with the huge chunks of data that is collected through them? Or, are they just indifferent to the whole issue? Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting facts and figures found out through an  authentic research. 

  • Almost 90 percent of all customers are concerned regarding the security of their data. The study found out that no less than 9 out of every 10 people were concerned about data security and the privacy that was compromised in collecting such data. This means that a vehemently strong subgroup within the large group of customers is definitely not ok with the current flow of data achieved by moguls in the retail industry. The 90 percent customers that felt their data was insecure and that they needed more transparency in this respect also pointed out that they wanted to know where their data is going. What happens to the data should be communicated to them and they should know what happens with their personal information.
  • 80 percent of all customers want to enjoy a personalized experience from their retailer. The personalized experience makes them feel more at ease and they can communicate at a whole different level with retailers of all sorts. Customers don’t want to be treated as numbers on a fact sheet and love it when organizations show a semblance of personalization towards them. This now presents a conundrum for retailers vying to put customers first. For personalization to be provided, customer data has to be collected. Both these activities walk hand in hand and it is imperative for one to happen for the other to take place. 
  • 86 percent of all customers want to know whether their data will be transferred to other third parties to feed their marketing campaigns. This is a genuine claim as customers have long been kept unaware of whether their data goes on to other parties or not. 
  • Customers that were part of this global survey also outlined three of the factors that they would like to see before they get aligned with a business from the current marketing structure. 94 percent of all customers felt that businesses should be placing emphasis on data privacy and how important it is for garnering customer trust and they would love to be aligned with a business that does so. 95 percent of all customers feel that personalization is the need of the day and should be provided for customers to form a stronger bond with the brand they like or want to be associated with. This personalization can open doors to a new era of brand loyalty. 92 percent of customers also believed that businesses need to resolve queries in a stringent manner. The queries need to be resolved quickly. 

The key here is to get all the basics right. The journey for better customer satisfaction begins with understanding what customers want, because if this is not achieved organizations actually risk losing customers. 

Providing Personalization 

Providing personalization is not as simple as it seems. With over millions of customers at times, ensuring a personalized experience requires the power of smart analytics. Data algorithms lead the way in this regard and provide a simple yet proficient solution. Data from multiple sources can be fed to these algorithms, which can in turn give retailers the right tools for targeting the right customers through a seamless form of personalization across all channels. 

Several fashion brands have already implemented the right mix of personalization. Fashion brands have realized the importance of personalization in their offerings and have come up with ways to predict products that will appeal to a certain customer. Another subtle approach to the conundrum of personalization will be for retailers to give customers the leverage of shaping their loyalty cards according to their own preferences. This would mean that customers could tailor the offers they get on their loyalty cards based on their preferences. But, despite the benefits of personalization it often collides with interests of customers who want their data to be safe and secure. To understand this better, we need to take a look at GDPR regulations. 


What the new General Data Protection Regulation Law does is it shifts data control from businesses to clients. Using this control, clients would be able to specifically decide the companies they want to store their data and the companies they would rather pass. Moreover, they can specify the manner they want their data to be used by such organizations. As per the GDPR, clients can exercise the following rights: 

  • Submit a formal request for accessing their data that a company has
  • Rectify the data present with a company
  • Ask an organization to completely delete their data 
  • Withdraw their consent at any given time 
  • Obtain and reuse their data across different platforms for individual purposes

Ask the Readers 

Every single customer can give their insight to propose a solution to this conundrum. This is why we ask all our readers to suggest whether customers need a solution to control their data? And should consumers communicate with companies anonymously, by sharing some basic information or by providing personal data? Below you can find an example how you can (temporarily) provide access to the personal information you would like to share so the retailer can personalize its offers.

We look forward to seeing what you think and how retailers can flex their offerings based on the opinion of all customers. 

About the Authors

Bob Nieme -- For over 15 years, Bob Nieme has been a Digital Transparency protagonist, being the most essential condition for long term relationships based on trust and mutual interest. In 2014 Bob was recognized as a Privacy by Design Ambassador by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada and in 2013 he was admitted to the Advisory Board of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of Eindhoven University of Technology. As a Data Science Ambassador, he initiates and supports various start-ups and education programs. Bob Nieme founded 3 leading data-technology companies: Adversitement specializes in data process management, O2MC I/O offers a prescriptive web computing framework, and Datastreams.io empowers data-driven collaboration by providing governed access to trusted data sources.

Ronald van Loon -- Ronald van Loon is, Director at Adversitement, an Advisory Board Member and Big Data & Analytics course advisor for Simplilearn. He contributes his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT), please connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Views: 368

Tags: GDPR, Privacy, Retail


You need to be a member of Data Science Central to add comments!

Join Data Science Central

© 2021   TechTarget, Inc.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service