For e-commerce businesses, the age-old adage “know thyself” can easily be changed to “know thy customers.” Understanding your audience’s needs, desires, preferences, and behavioral patterns is imperative to offering an intuitive UX that translates into conversions, and ultimately, loyalty.
However, gathering quality data and understanding its implications is continually a top challenge for many online marketing teams. According to an eMarketer report, 73% of marketing teams say that their data sources do not deliver rich enough insights for proper execution, and 63% of teams also stated that they have no consistent strategy for data integration.
Clearly, it is not just the data that is collected that counts; the methods through which it is gathered can influence its effectiveness. However, consumers are becoming increasingly more concerned with how brands are handling their information, and for this reason, brand trust in terms of data security is dwindling.
However, as the online retail industry becomes more data-driven, it is up to e-commerce brands to find a way to collect high-quality data without scaring off their customers.
How can this be done?
Let’s dive in.
1. Build Consumer Trust with Your Strategies
According to a report from Cognizant, transparency is the most important factor to building trust between a customer and a business. When asked which factors were most important to building trust with a business, 67% of respondents replied that open and transparent communication topped their list, beating out the quality of the brand’s products and even their pricing. 59% stated that the business’s transparency about data collection and usage was also a deciding factor, and 45% of consumers agreed that they would willingly share personal data with a business if they were given the option to share and if the company was straightforward about their methods.
Many websites already include cookie pop-ups to alert customers of tracking, but offering this as an option rather than an FYI will make uneasy users a little more comfortable checking out your site. It is incredibly important to let your customers know when they are being tracked, but you can take things a step further by letting them know why, too.
Make it crystal clear how their data is going to be used to help win their trust. Obviously, you don’t need to go into all the details of your specific ad targeting strategies, but you can spin data collection as a benefit for the customer. Let them know that by sharing their information, you will be able to provide them with relevant and personalized experiences.
2. Ensure Data Security
One of the reasons that many customers are a little unsure of sharing their personal data with businesses is due to fear of a data breach. Sadly, this occurrence is becoming much more common, and the number of these breaches have continued to climb over the last five years.
Having a strong security system in place is not just important to put your customer’s mind at ease; it can prevent your business from certain ruin. Experiencing a major data breach can costs companies thousands of dollars, but the damage that it does to your brand’s reputation may be impossible to recover from.
Be sure that security measures are implanted throughout your website for a safer experience.
Use a checkout processor that has SSL certification to guarantee safe data transfers from the customer’s credit card company. Online retailers can also ensure safe data encryption by adopting Blockchain systems, which can make riskier transactions with international customers and digital currencies much safer – while also protecting businesses from fraud and security breaches.
88% of shoppers will not share their data with a brand they do not trust. Therefore, your e-commerce company must ensure that it is equipped to keep their information safe and secure. Place trust seals throughout your website (especially on the checkout page), and talk about the security measures that are in place to eliminate any uncertainties.
3. Understand How Your Customers Want Data Implemented
To quote again from Cognizant’s report, customers are more motivated to share their data when it is going to offer them specific benefits. Better customer service assistance, rewards, and personalized experiences top the list. Therefore, if your e-commerce company is looking to collect more and better consumer data, they should consider offering these features.
Observing customer behavior and tracking product views and purchases allow your business to understand what motivates people to buy. But, it can also be an opportunity to offer a better CX through personalized product recommendations, customized offers, and even optimized webpage layouts to make your top-sellers more visible.
Once again, the key here is transparency. Let your customers know that you are committed to offering the best experience possible, but in order to do so, they will need to share their data. Make this an option if possible and be strategic with the way it is implemented so that it benefits both your business and your clients.
Consumer data is the fuel that online businesses need to keep themselves competitive with retail giants. In order to keep the quality of your datasets high, you must establish an open, honest conversation with your visitors to assure them that their information is safe and that sharing this data will benefit them. Always keep your customers’ feelings and desires in mind as you work with their data; find ways to establish trust and provide a better experience. Over time, your customers will thank you with conversions.
Image Credit: Arphaporn/Shutterstock
Author: Manish Dudharejia
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.