Shoppers Will Still Surrender Data for Personalized Shopping Despite Risks: Salesforce

By Chloe Aiello

Even after a dramatic and high-profile series of privacy violations in 2018, consumers are still willing to surrender personal data to improve their shopping experience ー but only if that data is handled responsibly, Salesforce growth and innovation evangelist Tiffani Bova told Cheddar Wednesday.

"A lot of people are willing to actually give more information to get better-personalized service, but underlying that absolutely is trust and transparency," said Bova, who also authored "Growth IQ," a business how-to book for entrepreneurs.

In many ways, 2018 was the year that data privacy got real. With each passing scandal that rocked companies like Facebook ($FB), Marriott ($MAR), and Google ($GOOGL), it became painfully obvious just how much data internet users had relinquished ー and at what cost. Now marketers have the difficult task of reaching their customers in an increasingly crowded market while under serious scrutiny.

"Getting closer to the customer is the opportunity, but actually doing that, and doing that at scale and repeatable, in a personalized way is more difficult," Bova said.

The challenge is difficult, but not impossible ー and artificial intelligence can help. Salesforce's research shows 80 percent of customers consider the experience a business provides to be as important as the products that company is selling. A.I. can personalize those experiences (with loyalty programs, for example).

But beyond the technology, in Bova's view, the issue is still a matter of securing customers' trust.

"As a marketer or as a brand, if you are going to try to capture more information from your customers or watch them through their buying journey, both socially or in offline channels, you have to make sure you really protect that data and use it appropriately," she said.

For full interview click here.

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