Data privacy week: Canadian consumers are willing to share personal data with retailers, report says

A Capgemini report has revealed Canadians are willing to share personal data with retailers to improve customer experience. The “What matters to today’s consumer” report details 2022 consumer behaviour for the product and retail industry, 

Some major findings include the fact that 49 per cent of Canadian consumers are willing to share data with brands on how they use products, through surveys, interviews, and online forms.

“Consumers are starting to understand the value of their data…They understand the heart of the data, they understand that organizations need that data to better their products, promotions and pricing factors,” said Vinayak Madappa, strategic advisory partner at Capgemini.

The report also revealed that 45 per cent of Canadians are willing to share personal data such as demographic data or product preferences with brands.

Madappa said this willingness to be more open with brands may be due to the emerging trend of personalization.

“Consumers want products and experiences catered to their personal preferences. That’s what’s driving this change.”

Customers are willing to share data from their purchases to enhance their experience with that company the next time they buy something. For example, a store may advertise a brand of milk you often buy or notify you when a similar style of clothing to what you’ve purchased in the past is on sale. 

In addition, he also noted that organizations need to be able to take this data and use it effectively to better their service. 

“From an organizational perspective, companies need to figure out how to take that data, interpret it and not just use it for promotion, pricing, and campaign, but leverage that into their middle and back office operations around production, merchandising, planning, supply chain fulfillment and logistics,” he explained.

The topic of data privacy has been extremely prevalent in the past year, especially in the context of social media. If consumers are willing to share personal information with stores, why is there more hesitancy when it comes to sharing on social media? 

According to Madappa, it’s about the kind of data that social media companies want to extract. 

“That data [social media data] is considered private and personal. Social media data generally tends to be on the more personal side. It’s more opinion-based, whereas if you look at the data that you need to share [with retailers] on demographics, it’s more quantitative as compared to qualitative in nature,” he said.

As a consumer, sharing data with a store will create a better, more accessible shopping experience, however organizations need to ensure they are protecting this data, and have the right cybersecurity protections in place, especially as online shopping continues to grow. 

“If you look at it from a holistic perspective, cyber security both for OT and IT technologies need to be robust to protect the organization and their operations and their data. Application management and better application development controls need to be enabled to see how data is being accessed and who’s accessing it,” Madappa said.

In addition to having efficient cybersecurity practices in place which protect consumer data, companies also need to be transparent about the data being accessed, he noted. Providing easy opt-out options to emails, asking customers to review products, and making it clear when organizations are asking for data are all ways organizations can achieve this goal. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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