I’m sure by now everyone’s aware that on the 25th May 2018 GDPR will be coming into force.
GDPR will ultimately change the way data is collected, stored, used and shared.
As a retailer you should see GDPR as a vehicle for change to improve all areas of business, from brand reputation and customer relations to the agility of IT functions.
With the amount of changes that need to be made and the penalties of non-compliance and the 25th May looming, GDPR can seem quite intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.
To help you get your head around it, here’s a handy five-point summary of what retailers should think about before GDPR goes live.
1. You’ll need a fresh approach to customer experience
Retailers use data to profile customers in multiple ways, whether it’s through an in-store CCTV system, online habits or with loyalty and points cards.
GDPR will regulate the profiling of customers where their data is collected and used to make assumptions about their personal preferences.
When this new law officially comes into effect, retailers will only be able to profile customers with their consent unless it’s needed to fulfil a contracted service.
For online profiling, cookies and profiling consent may exist from before GDPR. But if it doesn’t consent will need to be re-obtained.
2. You’ll need to make technology decisions with new regulation in mind
GDPR may still seem a little while away, but you should already be making decisions with the new guidelines in mind.
Whether you’re integrating new technology or making decisions on people and processes, make sure you consider the potential effect once GDPR comes into play.
Doing so could also help prevent future disruption to trade and put you ahead of your competitors, which I’ll talk about more below.
3. Going above and beyond will result in a competitive advantage
GDPR can seem like a burden, but is actually a great opportunity to set yourself apart from competitors.
EasyJet has embraced this in a customer-centric way, creating a short video to explain how GDPR would affect its customers.
The content is easily digestible, with no legal jargon or scaremongering. Just an explanation of the data EasyJet needs, what it will be used for, who it will be shared with and how it will stored to continue to deliver its services.
EasyJet has received plenty of positive feedback from the media and its customers for this campaign, no doubt increasing people’s trust in the business. And all it took was a little honesty.
4. Managing GDPR right will positively affect your brand
If you’re worried that GDPR and all this talk about data is going to scare customers and affect their loyalty, fear not. Implementing GDPR in the right way provides an opportunity to build trust and loyalty that may not have been there before.
The target should be to increase maturity level of your company when it comes to data protection.
5. There will be short-term costs but long-term savings
Investments across your business will of course be necessary to achieve what I’ve outlined above.
But once your business is in line with GDPR guidelines and you’re only left with the data that you’re supposed to have, there will be less pressure on your storage and infrastructure and you’ll be able to improve efficiency.
Loyalty cards are one example of this. Customers may have multiple loyalty card accounts, but through a data cleanse you’ll be able to ensure they only have one and that all the necessary information is correct.
Also linking back to my previous point about brand perception, a boost in customer loyalty could result in increased revenue.
With calls for newer and more efficient technology in retail stores from both employees and customers, particularly when it comes to creating a more personalised experience, the balancing act between providing those improvements and protecting people’s data is key to the future success of connected retail.
What are you doing to prepare for GDPR?
Visit our GDPR microsite find out how to thrive in the wake of this new regulation.
As a member of Generation Y, he focuses on innovation to enable business change for Retail colleagues and customers.
Tom challenges the way traditional IT is delivered, collaborating with partners, adopting innovation from other industries and above all working closely with customers to realise business benefits with technology.
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