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No Excuses: Why Brands Must Manage PII Better

Consumer retail is a major economic driver around the world. Global retail revenue was estimated at $24 trillion in 2018, split between $21.2 trillion of in-store spend and $2.8 trillion online.

In fact, the outlook for brick and mortar retail pre-Covid-19 was surprisingly positive. According to an IHL Report, for each company that closed a retail store, another 5.2 were opening new outlets. 

Then COVID-19 happened.

With the pandemic and global social distancing regulations adversely impacting brick-and-mortar retail, retailers have had to spot-pivot to optimize their online presence and accommodate increased traffic.

In North America, the number of online orders for web-only online retailers were up 52% year over year March 22 through April 4. Revenue for web-only retailers was up 30% year over year for the period.

With more business moving online for the foreseeable future, it is more critical than ever to protect and manage customers' personal information while also providing user experiences that stand out in the market. Securing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) shouldn't be thought of as simply a requirement for regulatory compliance, but also a tool to boost loyalty and retention. 

85% of retailers say that concerns or constraints around data access and/or security inhibit their activities.

Akamai recently partnered with Internet Retailing on a white paper that outlines how brands can prioritize data security and consent management without compromising customer experience. The paper contains real-world examples, including interviews and best practice sharing from retailers who have seen improvements in both customer loyalty and marketing ROI by investing in customer identity management.

As customer expectations change, brands must prioritize the following:

  1. Control: Enabling customers to have control and choice over their profile data.
  2. Security: Making sure that data and trust is protected.
  3. Privacy: Once brands have that data, they must not breach the trust placed with them.

Implementing a customer identity and access management strategy that incorporates cross-brand or cross-campaign identities, registration best practices, better personalization, and security, can ensure your customers continue to convert and become brand loyalists.

Any strategy must be built on a strong foundation of customer data. Dealing with and overcoming challenges related to data scalability and regional data privacy and compliance are essential to a successful customer identity and access management implementation. The white paper looks at data management best practices including minimizing over-exposure, implementing data cleansing, and consolidating data warehouses.

In addition to consolidating IT spends related to siloed data and reducing liability from data breaches, an identity management system that has flexibility and personalization at its core can also result in improved engagement and ROI for marketing campaigns.

And this is only a start to what is a rich, deep subject. Read our new collaborative white paper for more insights on how true cross-organizational transformation across IT, security, and marketing - all driven by customer identity and access management - isn't just a pipedream.

Written by Murali Venukumar, Marketing Program Manager & Tara Bartley, Senior Product Marketing Manager

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