How Businesses Can Stay Ahead of the Christmas Rush

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Each year, consumers flood online, and spending increases around the holidays – with PwC saying this year the UK is spending £21bn on presents and celebrations, 12% more than last year on average. In fact, Deloitte predicts that 62% of holiday spending will occur on digital channels this year, and although stores are reopening worldwide, it won’t slow down eCommerce.

An influx in online spending means more consumer data is collected, something consumers are more protective of than ever before. The data nature of online shopping means users are forced to hand over more of their private information. With more data, businesses can inevitably expect more data subject requests (DSR), too, as users themselves nowadays are more careful and reluctant to give this away.

As the holiday season comes to a close, customers are likely to want their information back and promptly, too, as they have learned to expect thanks to global privacy regulations. Based on last year’s data, Mine found a 1574% increase in data reclaims in early December.

Spike in Requests

With more awareness circulating around data privacy and more public distrust, consumers are more vigilant about handing out their information. Additionally, with more time on their hands to monitor their information, businesses get more inbound requests. Due to the lockdowns, travel restrictions and fewer opportunities to get out during the holiday season, people have a lot more time on their hands. Additionally, due to the increase in news around data breaches, consumers are more proactive after heavy data exchanges. This has led them to build up a much broader awareness of where their data is – in 2020, companies reported an increase in data reclaim requests. 

With shoppers heading online to buy gifts over the holidays and this being a sole option for most as they’ve been at home, they’ve provided a lot more information to businesses. Handing out so much data about themselves and their heightened awareness brings concerns about their data privacy. Data from Mine shows a 75% increase in sign-ups to shopping services over the festive period, and with two-thirds of shoppers stating they are worried about potential data breaches, it gives them plenty to be concerned about.

Last year, during the first holiday season since the pandemic, Mine saw a spike in the number of data deletion requests sent to e-commerce companies by consumers after the holiday shopping. This was evident by the 423% increase in reclaims from the annual average after Christmas. As we scramble to get last-minute gifts and shopping done, it’s likely that over the next few weeks and months, businesses will see this kind of spike again.

Getting Prepared

With data privacy being such a hot topic and the rising awareness from consumers, organizations must ensure their infrastructure and people are prepared. It’s essential to look at how users submit their privacy requests and what could be optimized to ensure businesses don’t get overwhelmed with requests, for example, by creating a standardized DSR format. By creating a smooth but also efficient process for handling requests, everyone’s life becomes easier. In addition, it reduces the need to go back and forth on submission and response communications formats.

"With data privacy being such a hot topic and the rising awareness from consumers, organizations must ensure their infrastructure and people are prepared"

With your team being a huge part of how requests are handled, it’s essential to keep them up to date with the latest knowledge, developments and training. Making sure everyone is aware of precisely what to do and how to handle any requests they may come across will keep things running smoothly. Holding refresher courses around the busiest times for privacy requests is an excellent way to ensure everyone is up to scratch.

Remaining transparent and demonstrating how trustworthy you are as a business by providing customers’ information and access to the data you collect can convince new and existing customers to stay loyal. Tracking, managing and locating data makes for a more seamless experience for both your business and your customers. Employing a well-organized privacy management flow means it’s less likely things get lost, you don’t miss anything and you don’t run the risk of exposing your business to compliance risks.

Staying Vigilant

There hasn’t been an easy user-centric way for organizations to manage and handle all the data privacy requests that come through in the current climate. Businesses are forced to deal with each of these in a manual succession if they want to maintain the relationship they work hard to build.

While there are solutions to handle these requests faster, it overlooks one of the most important aspects of privacy for consumers: their needs and behavior. To date, there hasn’t been a standard for handling privacy requests. With the addition that the processes have yet to benefit from digital transformation, it causes inefficiency for many businesses.

Keeping in compliance with privacy regulations is a must. Creating an automated and orchestrated process is key to enabling businesses to be more efficient and focused on the business itself. Having a customer-centric privacy platform makes it easier for businesses to focus on what’s important. For example, having an end-to-end data privacy platform adds an automation and operation layer that allows businesses to automate request handling at scale easily, ultimately saving a vast amount of time and resources.

As things change each year and consumers become more wary and protective over their data, it becomes increasingly important to have processes in place for DSR. This protects and retains customers, but it also ensures businesses are staying compliant with privacy laws.

With significant fines to avoid and business reputation to maintain, it’s essential to remain vigilant on the processes used to secure and handle data. Monitoring and putting extra support in place, especially in increased requests, is a great way to offset this. However, as consumers worldwide become even more digitally savvy, businesses need to embrace technology to ensure that no request will go overlooked, decreasing the burden, especially during busy times. 

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