- The new consumer views towards privacy;
- Why resolving consumer concerns helps build trust;
- Why complying with privacy laws helps build trust; and
- How that trust benefits you.
The new consumer views towards privacy
There has always been a small minority of consumers who were concerned about how companies collect, use and disclose their personal information. 2018 was the year that brought privacy into the mainstream. In early 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. It was revealed that millions of Facebook users had their personal information harvested without their consent by Cambridge Analytica, who then used that information predominantly for political advertising. This clear invasion of privacy upset many consumers and spurred them to contact their government representatives and ask them to create privacy laws that would shed light on how companies collect, use and disclose personal information online and prevent future privacy abuses. In fact, so many consumers have requested the passage of these privacy laws, that there are now 23 proposed privacy bills in the United States.
Here are some interesting statistics on how much consumers value privacy:
- 84% of respondents said that they are open to new state privacy laws ( KPMG study );
- 91% of respondents said that the right to delete personal information and know how their personal information is used should extend to all US citizens ( KPMG study );
- 52% of Americans will not use products or services that they believe have privacy issues ( Pew Research study ); and
- Privacy concerns are having a major impact on people’s online behavior ( Amnesty International study ).
It is clear that the protection of one’s privacy is no longer a fringe interest - privacy is valued by most American consumers, including your customers.
Why resolving consumer concerns about privacy helps build trust
As a consumer yourself, you probably would not shop in a store where the shopkeeper steals your change. Trusting the personal that you are buying from is a big deal to consumers - and can be a determining factor when making the purchasing decision. A big part of building trust with consumers is hearing and alleviating their concerns. A great example of this is offering and honoring replacements for items that are damaged during shipping - it encourages people to buy by establishing that they will receive the item that they ordered in good condition. The same goes for privacy.
As discussed above, privacy is now a major concern for consumers, a concern that can impact their decision-making as to who to do business with. To alleviate this concern and therefore build trust, you should:
- Acknowledge and understand that consumers have a valid concern about the privacy of their personal information online; and
Why complying with privacy laws helps build trust
How consumer trust benefits you
While trust is a great thing in and of itself, it is important to note that consumer trust and a modest investment into privacy can have many benefits:
- Prevents customers from leaving your website and buying from a competitor who does take privacy seriously;
- Investing in privacy has shown to lead to shorter sales delays and higher financial returns ( Cisco study ); and
Privacy abuses have been a major public relations issue for many companies, large and small. You do not want that to become the defining feature of your company when it is so easy to respect privacy and consumer concerns regarding privacy.