Convenience vs. Privacy: Serving Customers in a Connected World

Technology advancements allow us to create new shopping experiences, and customers are eager to try them out. As customers, we open up more of our privacy in exchange for really smart services. You won’t outdo Amazon, but if you want to future-proof your business, it is time to think how you can take your customer experience to the next level.

If you truly believe that what you have is useful and valuable to your clients, then you have a moral obligation to try to serve them in every way possible.

Jay Abraham

Today’s customers expect easy, smooth shopping experiences, such as:

  • collecting stamps on a digital loyalty card,
  • getting product support via social media,
  • using AR to visualize products before they buy,
  • tracking delivery by talking to a chatbot,
  • seeing relevant product recommendations based on their activity.

These examples have one thing in common. They’re driven by a seamless flow of data that makes shopping nearly effortless.

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The ethics of convenience

Customers want to be able to shop smoothly, but they care about their privacy, too. When asked if they’re fine with giving up some of their data for the sake of convenience, people respond with a somewhat resigned ‘yes’:

We’re often happy to give up our data, so long as we have the option of actually giving it up, but we don’t like it being taken from us.

Andrew Hutchinson

Location, media library and buying habits make up some of the most sensitive data of customers. And yet, breach after breach after breach, people get used to the notion that this data is managed beyond their control. But we as businesses should care about securing customers’ privacy far more than the average customer. Does it mean that privacy and convenience have to be at odds?

The answer is to let your customers choose how much data they are willing to share. Standard Terms and Conditions are not enough if we want customers to make a conscious choice. Some businesses now provide separate checkboxes at signup, asking customers if they agree to personalized recommendations. This limits the number of people who will try your more innovative service, but that’s still a win-win. Your customers can take advantage of new features, and you are focusing on the more curious crowd who is enthusiastic about the new technology.

Information for mutual good

Every trackable interaction creates a data-point, and every data-point tells a piece of the customer’s story.

Paul Roetzer

The more we know about our choosy, picky customers, the better we can serve them. By knowing your customer’s story, you gain insight into what product bundles he or she might be interested in. You can create personalized product descriptions, so that two customers will look at the same product, but see what’s relevant for them. You’ll be able to satisfy your customers better than your competition and use this to win more business.

As mentioned before, it’s about offering services that are really useful to your customers. If you can’t promise to make their lives easier, you can’t expect them to give their data. But if you focus on smooth customer experience, and remove customer pains one-by-one, you will eventually have a very smart service that benefits you and your customers.

Ordinary solutions for product content creation, sales, and marketing will stay ordinary. But at the cross of domains, in the uncharted waters, you can find your competitive advantage for tomorrow. Personalization, AI, and virtual reality are already on path to transforming the future of e-commerce and retail. Mix product automation with customer engagement, and there is suddenly a lot more you can achieve.

Exploring CX innovation

How can you make your customers’ lives easier, and compel them to do more business with you? In a world that’s connected, how can you serve your customers best?

When you go into uncharted territory, you build your own map. But you don’t have to start from zero. That’s the beauty of API-first solutions (Bluestone PIM is one of them). By joining data points in a common network, it’s possible to create new connections, e.g. between product content and customer activity. An API architecture allows you to combine your Product Information Management with ERP, CRM, customer engagement tools, and more, to create a synergy of those systems. The possibilities are endless.

We hope this article inspires you to break new ground in your product or customer experience. If you manage large numbers of products and you’re looking for innovative ways to delight your customers, we may be able to help.

Contact us to learn how a PIM solution can boost your e-commerce strategy.

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