eCommerce optimisation: walking the fine line between personalisation and privacy
eCommerce platform provider Kooomo shares its top tips for providing a personalised shopping experience in an ethical manner...
Personalisation continues to dominate the retail market, providing merchants with an unparalleled opportunity to interact with and build stronger connections with consumers. But according to leading eCommerce platform provider Kooomo, ethics must also be considered when creating targeted content, with growing concerns amongst online shoppers about the security and privacy of their personal data.
The importance of personalisation is exemplified by recent research from Trustpilot, which found that 75% of shoppers demand a personalised online experience, with a further 74% getting frustrated by content that is not relevant to their lives. This is thanks to eCommerce giants such as Amazon, that tailor the shopping experiences of millions of customers on a day-to-day basis. Alongside this, 73% of consumers say their concerns over data privacy are growing and 53% think brands should prioritise online anonymity, calling for retailers to find the right balance between this digital paradox.
Ciaran Bollard, CEO of Kooomo, explains: “In this new digital age centred around safety, consumers are overtly aware of the ever-evolving threat of cybercrime. With everyone and everything moving online, cyber-attacks have hit individuals and organisations more than ever before as a new breed of cybercriminals enter the retail landscape. This means users are increasingly wary of how, why and where their personal data is being used when shopping online and, in turn, are making decisions to regulate its use.
“This is where finding a balance between two conflicting truths will be crucial. On the one hand, cybercrime is clearly a major issue for society at large, while on the other, personalisation and access to data have become a core part of the customer journey. Retailers looking to build trust with consumers and optimise their eCommerce offerings must therefore tread carefully to meet the diverse demands of end users.”
In light of this, with many retailers crossing the fine line between personalisation and privacy, Ciaran offers the following tips to help them return to the right path:
1. Empowerment and control
By capturing consumers’ data and leveraging this for actionable insight, retailers can tailor their services to meet the individual needs of every user. However, while this is undoubtedly a sought-after tool by many, consumers also want to feel like they are in control of their own shopping experience, hence why empowering them to decide how, why and where their personal data is being used is important.
This means letting shoppers decide on what messages or promotions they receive, as well as respecting their personal space and giving them the choice to opt-out of services that are not relevant. In doing this, retailers can build relationships with users on a foundation of trust, thereby boosting brand loyalty.
Online shoppers will quickly become frustrated if a website’s content is irrelevant to their interests. The question here is why would consumers want to share their personal data if this does not result in a more customised experience?
Personalised preferences must therefore be based on interactions such as what consumers with similar shopping habits have purchased. Suggesting relevant offers and promotions can really help to build trust and improve satisfaction levels. Ultimately, if consumers feel their data is being used appropriately, they are more likely to want to continue sharing this information.
From the start of the customer journey and throughout, consumers must by privy to an organisation’s data privacy processes. It must be emphasised that retailers carry the responsibility to use customers information in an open, honest and transparent manner, while also ensuring this information remains secure.
To do this successfully, retailers must state what data they need, how it will be used and why it is important to creating a personalised experience. It can also be useful to host privacy policies and practices in a public domain, so that consumers can review these and ensure they are comfortable with how their information is being used.
4. Basic ethics
And finally, ethically collecting data from customers is paramount to success. Consumers will feel deceived if retailers overstep the mark in taking too much data and will likely opt for other brands. Most importantly, first-party data must never be shared without consumers’ consent, which can create issues surrounding GDPR.
Retailers looking to optimise their eCommerce offerings must therefore follow their basic ethical codes and embrace GDPR, while utilising these to boost conversations around trust and get ahead of the competition.
Ciaran concludes, “The key takeaway here is that today’s consumers expect personalisation as standard, calling for retailers to bolster their eCommerce services, while striking the right balance between personalisation and privacy. Those who are honest about their need for consumer data are far more likely to benefit from brand loyalty and increased sales.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the importance of personalisation and its impact on the User Experience, catch our upcoming webinar with Segmentify on May 13th at 11am. You can sign up for free here: info.kooomo.com