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The Importance Of Data Privacy In The Retail Sector, And What You Can Do To Maintain It

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The retail sector’s shift to e-Commerce was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and consumer expectations have shifted along with it.

One of the most distinctive changes is an increase in demand for personalized customer experiences. According to Accenture, 91% of consumers still want a personalised online shopping experience.

To fulfill this demand, retail businesses like yours have processed collected consumer data through advanced data analytics, in order to gain the data-driven insights that make such personalised experiences possible.

 

Data-driven Customer Insights Are Key To The Success Of Your Retail Business. Here's How You Can Leverage On Them.

 

On the other hand, consumers in general have become increasingly aware that retailers like yours are collecting their personal data, and they’re especially leery about questionable data collection practices.

 

Why Is Data Privacy So Important For Your Retail/E-Commerce Business?

Overview of top data privacy concerns

Overview of survey respondents' top concerns while sharing data during pandemic; Source: Cisco 2020 Consumer Privacy Survey

Research from Cisco shows that 90% of consumers care about their data privacy, and 30% have jumped ship to a competing retailer because of unsatisfactory data sharing practices and policies.

And with the increase in the collection and use of consumer data, retail businesses like yourself are more liable to fall afoul of data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA).

Because of all these factors, it’s now imperative that retail businesses like yours put proper data privacy policies in place, to avoid exposing themselves to hefty fines from authorities – or worse still, losing hard-earned customer trust in their businesses.

These should include measures for both the customer-facing front-end of the retail business – whether it be POS systems in brick-and-mortar stores, or online payment systems on e-commerce storefronts – as well as the back-end where your consumer data is stored.

 

Assuring Consumers Of Their Data Privacy On The Front End

Before COVID-19, the most popular target for malicious actors to conduct a surface attack on your retail business is through the POS systems in your brick-and-mortar stores.

Decline of POS malware attacks on retail from 2018

Decline of POS malware attacks in retail from 2018; Source: IBM

However, even though POS malware attacks have been declining as online payment systems such as Apple Pay emerge on e-commerce stores, they are still a vector of attack that your retail business should actively protect against.

 

It's A Good Idea To Integrate The POS System In Your Retail Business With Your ERP Software. Here's Why This Is The Case.

 

For example, you could employ network segmentation in order to isolate and limit any damage resulting from a breach through your POS systems, and implementing security measures such as SSL encryption n your e-commerce website, to protect your customers’ information.

You should also ensure that your employees are capable of handling the personal data of your customers properly, as employee error is one of the biggest threats to data privacy for many industries, retail and e-Commerce included.

To this end, making best practices in cybersecurity part of the onboarding process for new employees, as well as refresher course for existing ones, will help your workforce identify and react to any breaches in progress, which can greatly limit the damage of such incidences.

Most importantly, it’s important to establish clear lines of communications with your customers on a regular basis, when it comes to what your retail or e-Commerce business is doing with their data.

Make sure you’re transparent about how your business is collecting their data, what type of data it is, and how it will be used to create a better customer experience for them.

In addition, make sure to collect only the data you absolutely need from your customers, and consider providing a clear value for them in exchange for their data, such as better offers, more targeted ads and recommendations etc.

 

Manage Your Customer Data Properly On Your Back End

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Ensuring the privacy of your customers’ data does not stop at the front-end of your retail or e-Commerce business. Proper handling of said data on the back-end is just as, if not more important.

There are many security measures you should implement on the back-end of your retail or e-Commerce business.

For example, you can require strong passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all administrative accounts, to restrict access to customer data only to the appropriate users.

Other tools such as encryption, firewalls, and other security solutions will also go a long way to deter malicious actors from successfully breaching and gaining unauthroised access to valuable customer data.

 

How Business Central Helps Retailers Comply With Data Privacy Regulations

4.DataClassificationsAssistedSetupGuide (1) (1)Overview of Microsoft Business Central's Data Classification Setup page; Source: cloudThing ltd

Another step you should take is to ensure better data control within your retail or e-commerce business. To do this, you’d need to deploy tools that allows you to track the location, access, and availability of said data.

A central consumer data repository is a powerful tool to that end. And that is why you should not sleep on solutions that could serve that purpose, such as a cloud-based ERP software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

It comes with tools that are designed to keep your retail or e-Commerce business compliant with the most stringent data protection regulations in the word, such as the GDPR as well as the PDPA.

These tools include the Data Classification Page, the Data Subjects Page, and the Data Privacy Utility wizard

It is no surprise then, that the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore lists Business Central as a Data Protection Digital Tool, and thus a solution that you should consider as part of your efforts to protect the data privacy of your customers.

 

An ERP Software Can Also Optimise Other Critical Functions In Your Retail Business. Here Are Four Of Them.

 

Data Privacy Is A Top Priority In Today’s Retail Environment

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With the retail sector’s shift towards the e-Commerce storefront came a growth in the demand for personalised customer experiences.

And since collecting your customers’ personal data for analysis is key to providing these experiences, it’s made data privacy an even greater concern for your retail or e-Commerce business than ever before.

 

Today's Retail Businesses Achieve Success By Leveraging Big Data. Find Out How They Do So With Some Real-Life Examples.

 

That’s because failure to protect the data privacy of your customers could not only result in lost trust from your customers, but also cause your business to violate your local data protection regulations.

To avoid that, you should therefore take measures to ensure the security of your customers’ data, both on the front-end as well as the back-end.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central could be a crucial part of your retail or e-Commerce business’s data privacy policies, because it serves as a central repository of your customer data, and comes with tools for proper handling and management of said data.

To find out more about what Business Central can do for your business, click on the image below to learn more.

 

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