Almost every time a consumer purchases an item at a store the cashier asks for at least one piece of personal information, particularly zip code or email address. And online transactions inherently provide personal information to brands. Some consumers don’t think twice and quickly spew out their information. Others are more hesitant for a number of reasons – hacking, confusion, etc. Privacy is something that many consumers, especially moms, value. It’s equally important that shoppers understand how their information is being used, and that brands recognize the concerns that consumers have and address them. Let’s take a look at the issue of privacy from both the consumer and the brand point of view.

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The Consumer’s Perspective

For many consumers, this presents an area of concern, especially among mothers who do lots of household shopping – both online and in person. A few factors tie into this concern. First, Moms are worried that companies may not have the proper safety precautions implemented on their websites. If so, hackers can easily access and steal their identity. This concern isn’t unjust. In January of 2012, Zappos.com suffered from a major hacking in which customer’s names, emails, address, phone numbers, and partial credit card numbers were accessed. Fortunately, the full credit card numbers and actual passwords were kept safe and Zappos handled the scandal well. However, the credibility of the company and consumers trust took a big hit.

A second reason for concern is that consumers think their personal information is distributed and used in ways without their knowledge or approval. This unknown factor makes many consumers, including moms, leery of providing their information to brands. Finally, many consumers don’t know exactly what their information is being used for, and this creates confusion and frustration as well.

The Brand’s Perspective

As marketers we know that demographic information is beneficial to consumers because it helps to target our messaging and ultimately provide a better experience for consumers. In fact 90% of execs surveyed said they’re dependent on consumer data for their marketing efforts. Brands don’t want to waste consumers’ time by sending them irrelevant emails. For example, a single woman doesn’t want to receive emails about diaper sales on Amazon.com but a stay-at-home mother would be eager to receive those emails.

There is also an element of convenience to information storing. When a brand asks to store personal information online, like a credit card number, it’s easier for consumers who frequently shop on a site. Although there are many positives of collecting consumer information for targeted advertisements and email marketing, there are a few ways that brands can ensure that consumers’ personal information is safe. Here are a few tips for brands to consider with their privacy strategy:

  1. Let your consumers know you value their privacy and publicize what you are doing to keep their information secure. Prominently display BBB-certification and other security logos on your website and dedicate an entire page to your privacy policy. This will give your website additional credibility and build trust in your brand.
     
  2. Let consumers know whentheir information is being disclosed. If you plan to use their information for one reason or another, tell consumers at the time you’re asking for the information. For example, have a sign at the cash register, a note at the bottom of a receipt, or a pop-up window on your site before they check out. Also, offer the opportunity for consumers to decline to provide certain information or opt out of the database.
     
  3. Tell them whyyou’re asking for their information, and be honest. Many brands ask for consumer’s date of birth to send birthday coupons. Some brands need consumers’ zip code and license number for their return policy because they use return tracking services, like The Retail Equation (TRE) to fight crime. Best Buy for example includes their disclosure information and an explanation of how TRE works on their website.

Given the sheer volume of data on the Internet, there is much more attention on consumer privacy now than in the past. Marketers feel that consumer data contributes to their ability to message and communicate effectively with brands. However, brands should also consider the hesitations and concerns that consumers have around sharing their personal information. Brands can be clear about when they take customer information, when they plan to use it, and how it will affect the customer. This will help ease consumers’ concerns and make that brand more credible and reliable in the long term.

Want to read more about privacy and other consumer trends that affect moms? Download the free white paper, 15 Consumer Trends That Impact Marketing to Moms

Posted by Chelsea Amaral


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