Today, retailers face a significant conundrum. With the rapid proliferation of mobile, social media and in-store sensors, they are now sitting on a treasure trove of data. Walmart, for example, has about 30 petabytes of shopping information – the equivalent of nearly seven million DVDs. Retailers have all the data they need to create personalized promotions and offers. And consumers are very much in favor of personalization – survey after survey shows consumers increasingly expect personalized offers presented at the right moment. 

But this customer data opportunity has a flip side: the personalization that consumers have a taste for can rapidly deteriorate into something that they find unpalatable. This could be because the personalization exercise is perceived to stray into the consumer’s private domain, or because the exercise is clumsily executed. This report examines this invisible border between personalization and privacy and how retailers can balance this tension in their customer experience.