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Collecting Shopper Data for the Shopper

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

73% of smartphone owners are concerned about personal data collection. 55% are wary of sharing information about their location. (NielsenWire.com)

That’s a lot of people who, in good faith, are limiting the data they choose to share, therefore limiting the potential of having better shopping experiences. In the world of big data and data collection, it’s critical that brands and retailers continue to push forward and use the information they collect to not only drive sales, but to improve and maintain positive relationships with shoppers.

So what can brands do to help make shoppers more comfortable with sharing personal data? The use of collected data should feel intuitive and natural, not intrusive. It should make life easier for shoppers by offering tailored experiences that aren’t just novel, but helpful, and that, in a lot of ways, feel like rewards. Brands are gradually getting better at this, but mistakes are still being made. Think about how many times you’ve received irrelevant product recommendations or coupons for something you bought as a gift for a friend or family member. If anything, these kinds of experiences make shoppers less likely to share information and more likely to ask retailers not to make recommendations.

On the other hand, brands like Neiman Marcus and Svpply have done a great job of optimizing the potential of data collection by making shoppers feel at ease with sharing personal information about their shopping and product preferences. In return for signing up and sharing their information, shoppers receive curated, tailored product recommendations that are both relevant and helpful. Other great examples of products that have used data collection in a way that’s beneficial and intuitive to shoppers are the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nike+ Fuelband, the latter of which is a personal favorite. The Nest Learning Thermostat has the ability to identify patterns in your daily A/C usage and ultimately program itself to be greener, smarter, and, in the long run, save you money. The Nike+ Fuelband uses NikeFuel, a measurement of your athletic life, to set goals, monitor your progress, and help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Collecting shopper data is still relatively new, and there are quite a few bugs to be worked out, both in terms of the ease and methodology of collecting data and in shopper perceptions of data collection. But pioneering brands like Neiman Marcus and Nike are leading the way and becoming savvier, using data collection not only to drive sales and increase revenue, but to actually make the shopping experience more fun, more dynamic, and more personal for the shopper.

Svpply Photo Source

Nke+ Photo Source

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