16th Sep, 2021

The Evolving Landscape of Customer Privacy in Retail

The Covid-19 pandemic may have slowed the world down, but the ever-evolving landscape of customer data privacy in retail only continued to accelerate. With more people working, shopping, browsing, and streaming from home in 2020, the average international internet traffic increased 48%. Additionally, some recent big moves in the marketing space are motivating retailers to be more honest, open, and creative with the secured data they do have, leading to better customer connections.

Here’s a look at the latest set of standards and how retailers are taking next-level data management approaches to better engage with consumers.

Customer Data Regulation Is Picking Up Speed

Retailers across the U.S. are preparing to meet growing data privacy regulations in the years to come. However, it’s essential to understand how we got to the current regulatory landscape that will continue to pave the way for future legislation.

In 2016, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into play within the European Union, and it plays a significant role in influencing customer data privacy regulation in America. However, because there is no single federal protection on customer privacy, several states have adopted their own legislation.

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) was passed in 2018 and is one of the most comprehensive customer data privacy laws in place today. The legislation gives consumers the right to access their data collected by businesses, as well as the ability to request their data be deleted if they so wish. An update to CPRA is expected in 2023, allowing consumers to limit businesses’ use of their personal information or prohibit them from sharing their data.

Plenty of other states have adopted measures to protect customer data, including Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, and Vermont. More than 12 other states have legislation currently underway. Both the Colorado Privacy Act and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act will take effect in 2023.

Consumers Are Getting Serious About Data Protection

A Pew Research study found that 81% of American adults feel they have little to no control over the data companies collect on them. Additionally, 59% have little to no understanding of what those companies do with their data. Essentially, people are concerned about maintaining control over their data because they don’t know how their data is being used.

Here’s what they do know: they see company data breaches hit news headlines more than they’d like to. Facebook, LinkedIn, Equifax, Yahoo, and Hilton are just a few names consumers have seen on their tv screens in recent years over insecure data handling, which is impacting consumer trust in data protection measures. A McKinsey study found that three in ten U.S. internet users activate their own software to stop online data tracking. The same study found that retail is in the top five industries consumers find most trustworthy.

Consumers are rightfully engaging in the consumer data privacy discussion, which means retailers with secure, transparent data processing measures have a unique competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Market Moves Are Transforming Customer Engagement Strategies

Data legislation is evolving, and so are the types of data eligible for use. In 2020, Google announced it would remove third-party cookies from its Chrome web browser. Businesses previously relied on third-party cookies to collect data and blast targeted ads based on users’ web browsing activity. Google Chrome has the highest market share of internet users, making this move a massive deal for advertising businesses and retailers.

However, agile brands are staying on top of the market shift by leaning harder on first-party customer data to drive their next-generation marketing strategies. First-party data is owned by the company itself and is pulled from customer interactions that already prove an interest in the brand, such as purchasing history, time spent on the website, and subscription information. Retailers can use this information to create ads specific to customers they know they’ve already won over.

Now, many are taking first-party data usage one step further by using AI-based language personalization technology, like Persado, to better connect with customers through words, tone, and visuals they respond to best. Learn more about leveraging first-party data to more effectively engage customers by downloading Persado’s eBook “Forget Cookies” today.

Jasmine is the CEO of Jasmine Glasheen & Associates, a writer, thought leader, speaker, content strategist, a Leading Voice on LinkedIn, and a Vend Top 100 Retail Influencer. She is a frequent contributor to publications including The Robin Report, IBM, Sourcing Journal, and many other retail publications. Formerly contributing editor at RetailWire and content lead at Retail Minded, Jasmine knows how to create top-ranking thought leadership pieces that make an impact. Jasmine has run content amplification campaigns for IBM’s The Next Brick blog and has spoken about generational variances in purchasing behavior at Perry Ellis International, ASD, IRC, Halloween Expo, and more.


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