Data_ValueData-driven retail is essential in today’s market. Higher sales, more frequent visits and greater likelihood of brand advocacy are all of what a better shopping experience delivers.

Delivering better means understanding what your customers are looking for, who they are and why your proposition works for them.

The collection, analysis and storage of personal data has – until recently, been largely left to retailers to govern and control.

Unfortunately, hacks and leaks have shown that this hasn’t worked well enough, and so the biggest change in data protection laws for over two decades, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018 and replaces the existing rules.

The challenges of compliance with the GDPR and severity of fines (Upto 4% of a company’s global revenue) are highlighted in many articles over the internet.

The real opportunity that this change presents as a catalyst for unlocking the value of data, is being missed by retailers, with very few highlighting it.

Many that have been putting this change off for years, now have the chance to do something about it.

Getting fit for the digital age

The savvy are transforming themselves to stay relevant, as they know the importance of being data-driven.

Without data, understanding your customer, developing relevant experiences, offers and engaging them when and where they choose cannot be done.

That means understanding what personal data you have, being rigorous in how you process and govern it, and being clear in how you want to use it.

GDPR gives your customers the right to opt in to the data they share. They will have a choice on how, when and what to engage on. Consumers relationships with retailers that safeguard their details will be strengthened, punishing those that don’t.

Understanding what you hold, use and what’s redundant

The days are numbered for companies that are prospecting, mining and storing whatever personal data they can find.

With the GDPR in place, regular reviews take place and any data that’s not required is deleted. This forces retailers to think about what data is truly important, where to invest, how they use it and what to erase to protect themselves.

Improving ways of working

One of the fundamental principles underpinning successful data-driven companies is mapping data structures and process flows.

Without these, the propositions you want to build to serve your customers will remain just dreams. GDPR presents a business opportunity to companies by requiring them to re-evaluate how they process data, re-imagining the value data could bring.

Addressing technical debt

It costs money, tarnishes brands and hurts customers when legacy systems fail. GDPR emphasises the importance of grasping the legacy nettle of ‘do later’.

Updating processes and systems not fit for purpose is going to be involved in any retail transformation – it’s a key platform for growth initiative, so doing this for the GDPR is very beneficial.

Modern retail is reliant on data. The GDPR regulation is a catalyst for change, and the faster that retailers see it as this rather than an annoying compliance programme, the better.