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:
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.
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:
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:
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.