Building Customer Trust by Protecting Privacy

03.20.2018 Articles

With new point-of-sale technology, beacons in every aisle, in-store text promotions, and social media sharing among so many other innovations, we’re seeing an important, growing challenge at retail: protecting consumer’s privacy. Shoppers trust retailers with a great deal of valuable and personal information now, so it has become even more vital than before that your brand lives up to their privacy expectations. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 59% of consumers stated that a single data breach would decrease their likelihood of buying from the retailers associated with the breach and, according to another survey, 74% of respondents rated a security or data breach that exposes personal information as very or extremely damaging to a retail brand.

These numbers also reflect BDSmktg’s own research findings. In our whitepaper, Great Consumer Expectations, we found that two-thirds of the consumers we surveyed were “somewhat” or “very concerned” with the protection of their privacy in the increasingly omni-channel retail world. This concern leads to consumers taking various measures to protect their privacy. For example, 65.2% reported that they are careful about where they give out their social security numbers. In addition, 40.1% routinely check their credit reports and 16.1% avoid having or using credit cards at all. The fact that consumers take concrete steps to protect their confidential information highlights the importance that retailers must place on protecting the their shoppers.

To earn and preserve the trust of your customers, consider taking these steps when asking your consumers to volunteer their personal information:

Provide value.

Providing something of value in exchange for information from your customers is important to developing trust. Tailor offers and personalize advertisements based on the information they share to create a relevant connection with your customers. Personalization has been on the rise the past few years and is showing no signs of slowing down. In a world of Me-Commerce, consumers are demanding more personalized services, and those brands who have adapted accordingly have seen massive success. Amazon reported a 29% sales increase due to their integrated recommendation engine and shared that 35% of their sales come from personalized recommendations.

Be transparent. 

Be clear about what information you are collecting from your customers and how you plan to use it. According to a study conducted by GBG called ‘The Trust Economy’, 63% of consumers surveyed were willing to share their data only if they knew that it was going to be used safely and responsibly, and an overwhelming 94% wanted to know how their data will be used before sharing it.

Take only the information you need.

Do you really need to know the name of your customer’s dog? We know it’s tempting to ask a hundred questions to develop a comprehensive customer profile, but think twice about what you’re asking before having customers divulge their information to you. ‘The Trust Economy’ study also revealed that over half of U.S. businesses (62%) they surveyed admitted to collecting data that is not being used or not useful. Many consumers deliberately place incorrect information when asked for personal details, out of fear that they will receive unsolicited contact from other businesses or that their information will be sold to another organization without their knowledge. This not only affects your relationship with the consumer, but can hinder the success of your business.

Show consumers that you will protect their data.

Adhere to best practices when storing data, but don’t be afraid to use it as a marketing tool instead of just legal disclosure. Not only do consumers say that they are more likely to purchase from companies that they believe will protect their personal information, but showcasing the extra steps you take can be a competitive advantage. 80% of the consumers surveyed by Deloitte said that they are more likely to purchase from companies that they believe protect their personal information, and 70% cited that they would be more likely to buy from a company that’s been verified to having the highest standards of data privacy and security.

We understand the challenges that retailers and brands face when protecting consumer data in the digital age. The best practices of digital privacy protection are essentially the same as the best practices in all forms of data protection. Every website our BDS Digital team creates takes only the information it needs, provides real value to its visitors, is transparent about what information is gathered and why, and protects the data provided. Vice President of BDS Digital, Andrew Catapano, said, “Companies have a responsibility to the visitors of their site. They must protect the information these visitors provide and be transparent in their use of it. When we create a site for a client, we see to it that it is equipped to properly protect its visitors.”

Interested in learning more about how our latest solution, BDS Digital, can bridge the gap between your in-store presence and online efforts, plus establish trust with your customers? Contact us today!