Jeremy Moger, Head of Commercial Insights, Carsales [ASX: CAR]
Last weekend I walked into a retailer and purchased a replacement cable for my phone charger. I was amazed when the sales assistant asked for my name, phone number, email, and address. Just to buy a $24.95 cable!
Me: “What? Why?”
Sales: “To help speed up checkout and future purchases.”
Me: “Why can’t I tap and go?”
Sales: “Don’t worry, we won’t spam you.”
He was right. They won’t spam me. The personal details I gave to him were false.
Apart from the fact there was no data validation at the point of sale for this national brand franchise retailer, being a data nerd, it got me thinking about trust, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and other data buzzwords. What buzzword bingo scores are companies now using for meetings? AI, Machine Learning, Data Lake, Data Warehouse, Data Scientist, Cloud Storage, Big Data, BI, Visualization, predictive analytics, and many more, depending on the vendors…
Whatever the cause(s) of data breaches, the cost of clean-up, legal fees, fines, and arguably worst of all, loss of trust with consumers, hurts businesses—both in dollar and reputational terms
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the use of buzzwords; all of these are valuable business processes, solutions, or strategies to win with the abundance of data available in today’s world. But are there other buzzwords that should be added to vocabularies and receive equal air-time and focus? What about ICO, GDPR, and ACCC? Technically, they are initials rather than words. But while certainly not as sexy as AI, they are just as important and commercially critical.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the UK. In July 2019, the ICO announced it intended to fine British Airways £183m (1.5 percent of 2018 turnover) for a breach of customer data. Following up, ICO has also more recently indicated it intends to fine hotel chain Marriott £99 million for failing to protect personal data.
In July 2019, closer to home, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its 300-page-plus digital platforms inquiry findings. It’s not exactly a page-turner but it is an indication that change is happening and the appropriate collection, storage, use, and distribution of privacy-compliant data are being monitored. Indeed, in October 2019, tech giant Google was hauled into the Federal Court of Australia by the ACCC over allegations that it had been misleading consumers about the personal location data it collects, stores, and uses.
Whatever the cause(s) of data breaches, the cost of clean-up, legal fees, fines, and arguably worst of all, loss of trust with consumers, hurts businesses— both in dollar and reputational terms. The privacy of anonymous users and logged in members should be a focus for every business. At Carsales, we consider our audience is perhaps our greatest asset and our focus on data and privacy is a corporate-wide initiative.
Consumer and commercial technologies make awesome advances every-day, and Australian companies collectively spend billions on tech. Is data privacy a tech problem to solve or is the solution a focus on customers’ data and basic fundamentals of data collection, storage, usage, and distribution? Large or small, digital or analog, the ACCC may well test this concept. That’s why trust is probably the most important term to add to your buzzword-bingo vocabulary.