Data Protection and Privacy in Jewelry Marketing
If you collect email addresses on your website or sell anything from your ecommerce storefront, then you have access to sensitive data that your customers would definitely not want exposed. Jewelry businesses of every size – even the small ones – should be actively protecting customer data and addressing their customers’ privacy concerns. No business is immune to data breaches and cyber attacks.
Over the past few years, a number of jewelry brands have been impacted by data breaches, which can occur as a result of internal error or external foul play. In December 2018, Signet Jewelers was impacted by a data breach that allowed any person to view the order information of other customers by slightly modifying the link included in the order confirmation email. A year later, ecommerce jewelry brand Missoma announced to its customers in an email that malicious software from a third party had targeted their payments page and “inserted a code that was designed to capture information entered during the checkout process”. In 2020, the accessories retailer Claire’s suffered an ecommerce breach when hackers used payment skimmers to steal customer data.
As a jewelry brand, you need to care about data protection just as much as you care about the customer experience because the two support one another. Today’s consumers – your target customers – are seriously worried about their data. According to a report from Pew Research Center, 79% of Americans are concerned about how their data is being used by companies. You should care too if you want to build a long-term relationship with your customers based on trust and respect.
You likely already know that data, when used carefully and responsibly with the best intentions, can help you improve the customer experience. Many consumers don’t realize that your careful storage of their customer data is actually helping you give them exactly what they want: a more personalized, convenient, and fun shopping experience. 90% of U.S. consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing, but many don’t realize that their data is the price they pay for it. Storing and leveraging the data you have about your customers is one of the best ways to serve them. As you provide your customers with as much value as possible, you also have a major responsibility to use their data carefully while respecting their privacy and maintaining transparency.
Not only should you care about data protection and privacy for your customers’ sake, but you should also care about data for the sake of your business reputation and to safeguard yourself from legal troubles. Breaking the laws of data protection and privacy can leave you vulnerable to hefty fines, penalties, and other legal consequences, which could put your business and livelihood at risk.
When it comes to marketing in 2020 and beyond, transparency is key for so many reasons. Not only do today’s consumers want to know everything about a company’s supply chain and about the social causes that company supports, but they also want to know how their data is being handled and used. As a result, you must be open and honest about that information.
You’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with privacy regulations, both in the US and globally, so you can achieve compliance and be knowledgeable when customer questions and concerns arise. For example, the PCI DSS, or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is a set of standards created by credit card issuers to ensure secure credit card transactions online. If you sell anything online, you must adhere to the PCI DSS standards. The Federal Trade Commission or FTC also has its own privacy and security guidelines, which you can find on their website.
The most stringent of the privacy regulations is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which went into effect on May 25, 2018. Just because your business is based in the US doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the regulations; the GDPR encompasses anyone who sells products to customers in the EU or that collects data from those individuals. GDPR requires marketers to follow strict guidelines, especially when it comes to email marketing. The cost of failing to comply can be high. According to the Financial Times, “Regulators in the U.K. have levied $126 million in fines for data violations since instituting new stronger privacy mandates in mid-2018”. Again, no business is immune to the risks and consequences.
Adhering to data privacy rules and regulations may seem daunting and overwhelming, but it actually presents great opportunities and can challenge you to strengthen your marketing strategy in accordance with best practices. Consider the fact that having access to your customer data is a privilege and not a right. As long as you can handle and manage customer data responsibly, then you’ll be able to maintain access to it. If you break the rules, then you’ll lose your privilege – and forfeit an important tool in your marketing arsenal.
Furthermore, data privacy rules and regulations force you to gain true consent from everyone who receives your marketing communications. For example, every subscriber on your email list should be someone who has willfully agreed to receive your emails and who doesn’t unsubscribe. This is actually great! As a brand, you only want to be marketing to people who are genuinely qualified to be your customers. Otherwise, what’s the point? Why would you want to spam people who don’t want to hear from you? Privacy rules and regulations can help you trim your customer list, so you can send more specific and targeted emails to the right people.
Finally, data privacy rules and regulations can encourage a culture of transparency within your business operations. If you follow the guidelines and best practices outlined by the GDPR and other organizations, then you’ll immediately begin conducting business in a more transparent and accessible way. Today’s consumers, now savvier than ever before, will appreciate your openness and your concern for both their identity and privacy. You’ll build a foundation of trust and earn their respect and loyalty over time.