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A Matter of Uncertainty – and Opportunity

$html.esc($author.firstName) Pearson By Bryan Pearson on February 27, 2017

Who do you trust? If you're the average consumer these days, you don’t have a lot of faith in businesses and other institutions. In fact, only 43% of North Americans trust companies with their personal information, and about half are uncertain about how well companies protect that information.

The endless reports about widespread hacking – Yahoo, LinkedIn, Ashley Madison, Panama Papers, Democratic Party, to name a few – isn’t doing much to assuage consumers.

But it’s not all bad news. A recent LoyaltyOne study of 25- to 50-year-olds found that Gen X, Y and young boomer shoppers are increasingly comfortable sharing their information – for a price. That price can be better service, or incentives, including product discounts, exclusive events and offers, or an improved shopping experience, including relevant communications.

“Relevant” is the key. For instance, in the LoyaltyOne study, a single, middle-age male shopper beefed, rightfully so, that he shopped monthly with a particular retailer and yet continued to receive email communications featuring women’s products. It’s not a transgression that’s liable to destroy the world, but it can easily sour a customer relationship and lead to questions about how well a business is using and protecting the private information it gathers.

While many businesses continue to work on balancing privacy, information, loyalty and their relationships with customers, technology – particularly in the form of peer-to-peer (P2P) and blockchains – is helping to reduce concerns about many of these challenges.

P2P is, among other things, fueling the sharing economy – think Etsy, Airbnb and Uber – enabling customers and businesses to exchange assets, share ideas, offer and receive input on product development, and more.

And blockchains, which you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the coming year and beyond – if you haven’t already – will make it simpler to decentralize information and transaction data, making tampering nearly impossible, as well as impacting trust and privacy for the better.

For more about how privacy and the sharing of customer data are affecting loyalty – as well as other trends to watch in 2017, please download our latest whitepaper: 2017 Trendspotter