Building Blocks

As a general consumer, I have become increasingly aware (and wary) of giving out my personal information. It seems I am constantly spring-cleaning my email inbox, requesting to be removed from call lists and deleting solicitors’ spam messages from my text history.

The conversation of privacy and information sharing comes up frequently at cashier lines and in almost everyone’s head as they’re browsing the Internet — some websites won’t even allow access unless the visitor provides an email address.

You may already be aware, but companies sell the personal information you share with them to third parties who analyze our spending and Web browsing patterns. These third-party companies then target and market to individuals based on the information they’ve mined.

Independent stores who don’t sell customer information often suffer from the mistrust that ensues from other companies’ data mining while attempting to create in-store loyalty programs for their business.

Loyalty programs, as discussed in this issue, are an important tactic to retain and acquire repeat customers. Retailers can create trust in the most hesitant of customers by remaining transparent with their intentions of using the information, and how it will benefit the customer.

For example, you can explain that by sharing their email address, you’d like to send them special discounts because you value their business and want to honor their loyalty. But, an important factor in gaining their trust is also being able to ensure them their information will not be sold to or shared with a third party.

Obtaining trust and upholding customers’ privacy brings us to another matter — the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) transition set for Oct. 1. The move to EMV is intended to establish credit card security and protect customers from fraud — but is also about protecting retailers from being liable for fraudulent actions. Be sure to read EMV: What you need to know to learn more on how to take action and stay ahead of the game.

Providing outstanding customer service should be the driving force behind any retailer’s day-to-day — what better way to do that than to appreciate their business and honor their privacy?

Until next time,


Originally posted Monday, Jul. 6, 2015