The balance between personalisation and privacy continues to dominate the eCommerce space. Merchants now have an unparalleled opportunity to interact with, and build stronger connections with consumers – who expect personalisation as standard. For example, the recommendations Amazon and Netflix make based on the user’s previous interactions.

But how do eCommerce managers balance personalisation and a respect for privacy? It is a fine line to walk, but ethics must be considered when it comes to your online store.  Since 2020, more people than ever shop online. With some people more vulnerable than others, there are concerns amongst online shoppers about the security and privacy of their personal data. Cyber-attacks have massively increased over the last year. This has led to increased awareness of the way personal data is being used when shopping online

The Balancing Act

Trustpilot recently 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.  With eCommerce giants such as Amazon tailoring the shopping experiences of millions of customers on a day-to-day basis expectations have never been higher. However, 73% of consumers also say their concerns over data privacy are growing. Therefore, retailers need to find the right balance between this digital paradox.

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 we’re offering the following tips to help them return to the right path:
Put the consumer in control of their data

eCommerce personalisation is only successful when the consumer has confidence in that brand. By capturing customer data and leveraging this for actionable insight, retailers can tailor their services to meet the needs of every user. However, while this is 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.

In a recent McKinsey study, 50% of consumer respondents said they are more likely to trust a company that asks only for information relevant to its products or that limits the amount of personal information requested. This signals to consumers that a company is therefore taking a genuine approach to data management.

Allow shoppers to decide on what messages or promotions they receive, as well as respecting their personal space. You should also give 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.

Relevant content

Online shoppers will become frustrated if a website’s content is irrelevant to their interests. Why would consumers want to share their personal data if this does not result in a more customised experience? Consumers tend to be more open to sharing data  if they know that it will directly improve their experience with the brand. For example, personalised suggestions.

80% of consumers like to receive emails that recommend products to them based on previous purchases. Personalised preferences must, therefore, be based on their interactions. For example, what have consumers with similar shopping habits purchased? Suggesting relevant offers and promotions can help to build trust and improve satisfaction levels. Ultimately, if consumers feel their data is used appropriately, they are more likely to continue sharing this information.
Throughout the customer journey, consumers must be 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 create a personalised experience. It is also useful to host privacy policies and practices in the public domain. Consumers can then review these and ensure they are comfortable with how their information is being used.
Basic ethics

And finally, ethically collecting data from customers is paramount to success. Consumers 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 follow their basic ethical codes and embrace GDPR. With this they can boost conversations around trust and get ahead of the competition.
Key takeaways
Today’s consumers expect personalisation as standard. Retailers need 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 more likely to experience brand loyalty and increased sales. Retailers must handle personal data responsibly and create personalised experiences appropriately. At Kooomo, we offer numerous plugins that ensure the utmost care when it comes to consumer data, its validation and application which you can find here.

Register for our upcoming webinar eMmerced: Presented by Kooomo – How to strike a balance between personalisation and eCommerce, with expert insight from Segmentify!