Fears that the retail sector could suffer under GDPR by struggling to win consumer trust when it comes to handling their personal data could have been exaggerated, according to new research by REaD Group, which suggests confidence is on the rise across sectors of the market.
The research builds on REaD Group’s 2013 Retail Trend Report, with supermarkets rated as being the most trusted of all retailers by 42% of consumers (up from 34% in 2013), followed by high street chains in second place with 35% (up from 28%), and independent retailers third with 31% (27%).
However, the report notes: “Retailers can take heart from this positive trend but clearly there is still plenty of room for improvement.”
Amazon topped the list of the most trusted retail brands, with 50% of consumers trusting it with their personal data, followed by additional choices Tesco (39%), Sainsbury’s and Boots (both on 33%), and M&S (32%).
The research reveals a clear link between the trust ranking of each of the top three supermarkets, and the age of each brand’s customer loyalty programme.
Tesco, which was one of the first retailers to introduce a loyalty scheme with its Tesco Clubcard in 1995, is the most trusted supermarket. Sainsbury’s introduced its Nectar Card in 2002, while Boots introduced its Advantage Card in 1999.
M&S and John Lewis, which were both ranked lower for customer trust, only introduced their loyalty schemes in 2016 and 2013 respectively.
REaD Group’s Retail Trend Report also shed light into consumers’ preferred channel of communication with a brand. The results reveal that there is still a strong preference for email marketing (50%) followed by sourcing information and offers via the retailer website (34%), TV advertising (25%) and direct mail (21%).
The younger generation of consumers (aged 18-34) selected social media as their third preferred channel of communication after website and email, whereas no-one aged over 65s selected social media.
The results also reveal that marketing information received is more relevant to consumers than in previous years. REaD Group insists this is significant, at a time when the impending GDPR, due to be implemented on May 25 2018, will have a major impact on the way in which retailers communicate with customers.
GDPR recognises customer ownership of their own data and reflects a shift in power in recent years away from companies and into the hands of the customer.
REaD Group founder and chairman Mark Roy said: “Since our 2013 Retail Trend Report, the world has changed significantly; technology has advanced and the volume of data available to retailers has exploded. We are about to enter a golden age of marketing, where consumers are genuinely at the centre of strategies and where there is an ongoing consensual conversation taking place between buyer and seller.
“The upcoming GDPR will help to address the challenge of the proliferation of data. It is essential that companies use customer data in an intelligent and responsible manner in line with GDPR, which is now under one year away from coming into force. The future looks increasingly complicated, and by no means easy, but by building on a platform of openness and transparency, opportunities abound and the future looks bright.”
A full copy of the report is available from the REaD Group website>
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