Data protection is essential in e-commerce strategies

Among the things retailers have learned from the pandemic are two key business lessons. The first is that e-commerce must become an essential part of any strategy, and the second is that consumers are always looking for innovative and personalized experiences. But how do we protect customer data amid this growing trend of personalization?

While we were all in lockdown, retailers rushed to upgrade their e-commerce offerings and customer service options, doing things like implementing curbside pickup of online orders and home delivery options. Luxury brands have also adapted by hosting online advice and developing virtual fitting tools. However, adapting to e-commerce strategies has proven difficult for some retailers whose business models rely on deeply personalized customer service, and they have had to innovate in new ways to meet this demand for personalization. For example, lipstick shoppers can buy a $15 tube of color-changing lipstick that reacts to their skin’s pH or body temperature, or they can shell out $300 for a device that “prints” a custom pigment. Consumers can even order a custom manicure sticker for less than $20.

It turns out that most consumers love this type of personalization. But these strategies all have one thing in common: they rely on data and lots of it. Today, it’s essential for retailers to find the happy medium of digital competition in a personalized way while protecting their customers’ data.

Invest in your own e-commerce technology

One way to strike the right balance between digital personalization and data privacy is to build your e-commerce tech stack rather than relying solely on wholesalers. While it may take more work, brands have a lot to gain from investing in their e-commerce technology – and it’s as easy as working with your business consulting partners to make sure you’re looking to get it done. in the right way. For example, Mazars has a team of e-commerce experts and a deployment offer for a complete omnichannel customer experience. While relationships with big-box stores like Amazon.com bring many benefits and, in some cases, can be a great way to extend a brand’s reach, designing systems that maintain security and privacy personal information can touch a positive deal with customers and contribute to business success. It also allows brands to build a more independent business model that is not dependent on a giant.

Ulta Beauty and Sephora are two examples of brands that have reaped the rewards of early investments in their own omnichannel strategies. In 2020, beauty retailers saw their online sales skyrocket, and now they’re both reinvesting heavily in the in-store experience — delivering those personalized services at every customer touchpoint.

Prioritize transparency with your customers

It’s also important to take the idea of ​​transparency a step further as innovation continues. Today’s consumers are not only asking for the protection of their data; they also seek transparency regarding what they buy, supply chain practices and sustainable options. Retailers can leverage data-driven practices (and stay ahead of their competition) by providing clear reports on how they’re performing and the good they’re doing in this competitive world.

Especially in the era of GDPR, designing systems that ensure the security and privacy of personal information is critical to the success of any business. Missteps can cost a brand dearly in terms of time to market, regulatory fines, or (much worse) reputational damage.

When it comes to success in 2022 and beyond, creating and maintaining a seamless customer experience across digital and physical platforms is key, as is protecting their privacy.

Julie Petit is a partner at Mazars, one of the leading international audit, tax and advisory firms.