Balancing Privacy with Customer Service

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Retailers need as much information as possible about their customers in order to provide the best customer experience. They ask many questions about who their customers are, where they are from and what they want. All those questions make customers concerned about their privacy and what retailers are going to do with that information.

Today, the best retailers use the information to provide a great experience for their customers, by providing information that is relevant, at the right time and right place.

Being a customer myself, I am cautious about providing personal details like my email, home address, bank account and phone number. I am often asked to create a profile on a retailer’s website or mobile app to complete an order or transaction. I agree that some of the information is necessary, and I am ok with it when it enhances my shopping experience. What I do not agree with are the retailers who flood me with hundreds of emails afterwards with offers and discounts on products I am not interested in.

Unfortunately, I am not the only victim who has given personal details to a retailer and ended up with a full mailbox. Some retailers seem to take advantage of private information and spam customers on a daily basis. This makes customers worried about giving away personal details.


Personally, I understand why customers are frustrated by retailers not using their data to provide them with a better experience. Especially now, that I work for Localz, I realise that the technology exists to provide me with a really great customer experience.

Location technology enables retailers to do this by knowing where their customers are. Then, retailers can send customers relevant offers, based on where they are, in real-time. Location technology combined with other customer data helps retailers to understand their customers better and to provide them with an easier, quicker and more convenient shopping experience. By using GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, QR or WiFi, retailers are able to locate customers and their proximity to a store or an item. This is very beneficial to both retailers and customers, but some customers remain concerned about their privacy.

I have learned that in order for retailers to know my location, I have to give them permission. I have to download the retailer’s app on my mobile phone, turn on Bluetooth and allow location services in that app. This means that I, as a customer, am in control of what retailers know about me and when they message me.

Customers are always going to be concerned about their privacy and sharing personal details. However, if retailers make sure that they collect only necessary information and that they use it effectively, they can allay these fears by providing a relevant, respectful and rewarding experience for their customers.