Data is king in shopper marketing. Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar store or you’re building an ecommerce presence, it’s quite likely that you’re using data to create personas, track lifetime value or retarget existing customers. The data you own about your customers is of immense value to you and your store.

Yet, in recent years, data privacy has become a hot topic in the marketing world. Consumers expect businesses to use their data ethically. Facebook and Google have gone under public scrutiny for their data practices. That scrutiny is likely to affect the customers to whom you market as well. As a retail business, you need to implement ethical data privacy practices to protect your customers and instill confidence in your store.

We’ve put together a list of four steps you can take to make data privacy a reality in your retail or ecommerce business.

1. Educate your employees on data privacy.

Everyone in your business needs to be educated in data privacy. From the c-suite to those who interact with customers, they need to know the practices of your business. This will go a long way in ensuring that your business uses data responsibly. It will also help your business to effectively communicate your policies to customers.

2. Stop data hoarding.

Most businesses have far more data than they need. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of data that businesses store is out of date and unusable. This puts both your customers and your business at risk. It’s time to evaluate your first-party data and get rid of anything that you don’t need. Remember, the goal of data is providing a customer with a personalized experience. If your data doesn’t accomplish this goal, throw it out!

3. Anticipate and avoid inequitable outcomes.

Imbalances in data collection can create biases. You should be aware of any potential biases that could arise. Acting upon these, even if the data presents them, can cause harm on the basis of race, gender, age or other demographic categories. Seek to avoid these inequitable outcomes.

4. Educate your customers on your data privacy practices.

One of the most important things you can do to instill confidence in your business is educating your customers on your data privacy practices. Your customers should know when you’re collecting data and how you’re using that data. They should also be well-aware of the benefits of data exchange. 

Build a More Ethical Future in Shopper Marketing

If your retail business makes ethical data use a priority, you’ll reap the benefits. Not only will you be better prepared for any future regulations, but you’ll also be a better data practitioner and inspire confidence in your customers. Taking the above steps towards ethical data use is a great way to move towards a more ethical future in shopper and retail marketing.


Lannie Byrd