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E-commerce / GDPR / Customer data

Personalization and protection of personal data - how does it ad up?

Feb 15, 2020

In order to personalize, you need data, lots of data, about your customers. How does this add up in the GDPR era?

As e-commerce tech nerds and advisors in all fields of commerce, we at Avensia are strong advocates of the notion of Unified Commerce. In short, it means setting up your systems and your organization to create a customer experience that is coherent across all channels, to reach out to the right person with the right information at the right time.

But in order to personalize, you need data, lots of data, about your customers. How does this add up in the GDPR era? How do we manage data protection and customer satisfaction at the same time? And what do customers want? Privacy or personalization?

More than 50% are willing to trade data

With a Unified Commerce infrastructure in place, retailers have the ability to get a 360 view of how customers behave, and understand them better, by comparing how much time they spend in the store vs online, what they like and what products they never look at. With the competence to analyze the data and transform insights into actions, you can give customers much more personalized experiences. If you are doing it right, you will be able to anticipate what they want. But do they want privacy or personalization?

A big study conducted by Salesforce, shows that customers are aware of the fact that data about them is the prerequisite for a personalized experience. Out of the 7000 consumers, business buyers and customers in the study, 57% answered that they were willing to exchange personal data for personalized offers and discounts.

  • 52% were willing to trade data for product recommendations
  • 53% were willing to trade data for personalized shopping experiences
  • 62% answered that it’s acceptable to receive personalized offers and discounts according to previous purchases

The numbers are not suggesting that everyone is willing to swap their data for a personalized experience. Many will opt out. But first, they will probably consider what’s in it for them, and that depends on what choice we as marketers are giving them.

The deal is written out next to the consent box: “Are you willing to give us your data in return for X?”. In that moment of decision, it is the X that matters. The individual has to gain something from checking that box. If they are offered something in return they are more likely to check it. Deal or no deal.

Consumers demand better quality

According to the Wall Street Journal, 90% of marketers think that they are delivering personalized experiences, but only 40% of consumers agree that the experiences are personalized. This says something about the expectations of customers today, and also about their standards. This demand for better quality in direct marketing will probably be visible in opt-in and opt-out statistics.

The numbers can give your company a hint as to how your marketing communication is doing today, and if your offer is good enough for your audience.

If consumers do give their consent and are later disappointed in what you are giving them in return, GDPR gives all individuals the right to put an end to marketing that does not interest them, by retracting their data. On the other hand, if what they are receiving is good, you have succeded and gained a loyal customer.

Needless to say, we should be careful and transparent with how we use personal data, just like before. In the GDPR era, what matters more than ever is what we give our customers in return for their data. That will be the X factor that makes them tick that consent box. Or not.