When you enter your credit card number online or swipe it in a store, do you pause to wonder where your information is being stored and how it is being used? Perhaps you simply trust that your private data is safe and secure with the retailer and the bank. Every day we put our trust in these institutions’ hands. But it seems that every week we can read about a data breach somewhere in the world.

As consumers, we want trusted relationships with the retailers we purchase from. However, our skepticism grows with each story about data vulnerability or data privacy abuse. Even when we get a “creepy” email or promotion from a retailer, we take notice, and our suspicions grow. Businesses must concern themselves with this dynamic and take specific measures to build and retain the trust of every shopper. 

It is for these reasons that The Consumer Goods Forum and Capgemini developed the Consumer Engagement Principles (CEP) to help retailers promote a trusted environment with their consumers. The key areas of positive change addressed by the CEP include:

• Communicate simply: Building trust with consumers requires minimizing doubt.

• Be transparent and protect personal information: Retailers must be cognizant of protecting the integrity, reliability and accuracy of consumers’ personal information and be open about the whereabouts of that information at all times.

• Maintain an ongoing dialogue, control and access: Enabling consumers to easily choose whether and how their personal information is used; establishing an ongoing consumer dialogue; and providing the ability to correct it and/or have it removed is imperative to building consumer trust.

• Provide a value exchange: Developing trust around the collection and use of personal data requires balancing both customer and retailer needs with the goal of ensuring mutual value.

• Promote integrity in social media: Preserving integrity through proper disclosure of commercial interests via social media such as ratings, recommendations and endorsements, for example, is critical to promoting social media integrity and building online consumer trust.

For more information on how these CEP guiding principles can help provide a framework for retailers to better build trust with consumers, read my latest Retail TouchPoints article.