Last Christmas, I Gave you my Data, but the Very Next Day, you Gave it Away

Sorry to be the one to say it, but Christmas is fast approaching. I know that no one wants to have to think about Christmas in September, but time is beginning to tick away.

This Christmas will be the last one before GDPR regulation fully comes into effect here in Europe. By May 2018, all businesses will have to ensure that their data is GDPR compliant or face devastating fines.

Retailers, in particular, should, therefore, see this year’s Christmas shopping season (including perhaps the madness of Black Friday) as an opportunity to push for GDPR compliance within the business. Christmas can be a great time to engage with customers as they come to you for recommendations and the best deals.

By tying GDPR compliance to loyalty, marketing and promotions, Christmas can be used by brands to drive through initiatives that will ensure their businesses are ready with enough time before the May 2018 deadline. Marketing, in particular, will be pushing their key campaigns for Christmas and the push for compliance should form a part of that as you encourage customers to engage with you (if they haven’t been doing so already).

We recently carried out some research of shoppers in the UK and found brands are facing some serious difficulties when it comes to persuading their customers to share personal data. Brands need to see a fair and positive value exchange for their data, particularly at a time when they know their personal information is more valuable than ever. They also need to trust the brand to look after their data appropriately.

Fortunately, Christmas is a great time to overcome these hurdles. In the season of gift giving, make sure you’re giving customers adequate rewards for the data you’re asking them to share. Christmas can make people feel more charitable, but they still aren’t going to give you something for nothing.

You’re also more likely to see some customers for the first time in a while. For example, a department store might have customers who only come in store a few times a year to treat their husbands to that one brand of aftershave they love. These customers are still important in the long term, and efforts should be made to ensure you have collected their data in a GDPR compliant way, lest you risk losing them forever.

While decorating the tree or putting up the stockings might be a tad premature, those tasked with GDPR compliance within organisations should be writing their Christmas wish lists. After all, ‘tis the season for compliant customer engagement!

Jason De Winne, General Manager, ICLP

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