Let Me Share a Secret With You

November 23, 2009
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As I was out shopping with my son this weekend, I realized there are still a lot of opportunities for retailers around consumer privacy. You know, we can be fickle about our privacy. Sometimes, we want all our dealings and information to be private, and then sometimes, we don’t. For example, we expect retailers to know our preferences regardless of whether we are in the store or online. We get irritated when we receive a sales promotion to buy something we just bought from the very same retailer. Let_Me_Share_A Secret_With_You

Where privacy becomes an issue is when others acknowledge that they know what we bought and we weren’t expecting or seeking that acknowledgement. We hope our neighbors and even strangers will admire the new car we just bought, but we hope no one will mention it when we buy certain personal care items from the pharmacy.

The more personal information we voluntarily share, such as by making purchases on a retailer’s website via credit card, the greater our expectation that the retailer knows information about us and acknowledges it, or at least doesn’t demonstrate complete ignorance of our buying preferences!

The opportunity for retailers is in exploiting those occasions to



As I was out shopping with my son this weekend, I realized there are still a lot of opportunities for retailers around consumer privacy. You know, we can be fickle about our privacy. Sometimes, we want all our dealings and information to be private, and then sometimes, we don’t. For example, we expect retailers to know our preferences regardless of whether we are in the store or online. We get irritated when we receive a sales promotion to buy something we just bought from the very same retailer. Let_Me_Share_A Secret_With_You

Where privacy becomes an issue is when others acknowledge that they know what we bought and we weren’t expecting or seeking that acknowledgement. We hope our neighbors and even strangers will admire the new car we just bought, but we hope no one will mention it when we buy certain personal care items from the pharmacy.

The more personal information we voluntarily share, such as by making purchases on a retailer’s website via credit card, the greater our expectation that the retailer knows information about us and acknowledges it, or at least doesn’t demonstrate complete ignorance of our buying preferences!

The opportunity for retailers is in exploiting those occasions to individually recognize people when we would welcome it. And technology can help. Traditional CRM programs can customize messages based on known activity, for instance, by suggesting a next-best offer in an up-sell or cross-sell situation or allowing call center operators to acknowledge past service issues. Web analytics tools also provide a view of online customer behavior. But none of these tools can cross-reference all the various ways consumers interact with a company. This is where detailed data mining of integrated information comes in.

In the weeks ahead, you’re going to be hearing more from Teradata about how we are helping leading retailers tie all that information together in ways that respect consumers’ desire for privacy, while enabling retailers, media companies and travel services, just to name a few, to give consumers the recognition they expect and welcome.

Darryl