Your Customers Think You Know What They’ve Been Buying

Consumers’ view of data collection outstrips reality

October 18, 2017

Consumers think marketers know more about them than marketers actually do.

That’s one conclusion of a new global study from Sitecore that looked at both sides of the data collection coin—how brands are handling data, and how consumers feel about it.

Sitecore, an “experience management” software company, said 56% of consumers surveyed thought brands knew their purchase history, whereas only 47% of brands reported collecting that data.

The study points up the inherent challenge of effective personalization, and the need to maintain consumer trust while delivering a thoughtful, relevant customer experience. The number one challenge for collecting customer data, the surveyed brands said, was customers’ unwillingness to share it.

Interestingly, the survey, which was conducted by Vanson Bourne, found that 76% of brand respondents believe their customers expect them to keep their data secure. But only 35% feel that they should not share customer data with other parties without permission.

“This has the potential to erode trust in brands and leave significant proportions of customers wary of providing their data,” Sitecore wrote.

A survey of US internet users earlier this year found widespread anxiety about data security.

The survey, by FICO, found more than three-quarters of respondents were concerned about theft of their social security number and bank account information. And more than half were concernd about theft of credit card info and financial passwords.

While security and privacy concerns are widespread, thus far they do not appear to have impeded the growth of any significant online activity such as banking or shopping. However, individual companies have felt a backlash, including sales declines, in the wake of security or privacy breaches.