• As mobile phones become ubiquitous and overthrow desktop as the go-to channel for online commerce, mobile shopping is estimated to make up nearly 73% of e-commerce sales in 2021. As a result, marketers are jumping at the chance to leverage mobile data to enhance shopping experiences and boost brand loyalty.

    When used properly, data can help marketers serve consumers more personalized offers based on past purchases, and when and where they’re shopping. For example, Spotify ran location-based ads for Baskin Robbins and found that the people who heard ads for the brand’s sundae shakes and ice cream lattes drove 430,000 in-store visits. As advertisers continue to invest in mobile marketing, they can expect the mobile shopping landscape to continue to change, especially as a result of expanding privacy regulations.

    Here’s what this means for marketers’ mobile strategies.

    Changing laws and consumer expectations

    The regulatory environment is evolving rapidly. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the first major legislation to protect consumer privacy. With this regulation, consumers—including those who are shopping at U.S. companies in Europe—must provide explicit, affirmative consent to brands to use or share their data. A new wave of regulations will hit U.S.-based businesses as well: the new California Consumer Privacy Act, which takes effect next January, and the Washington Privacy Act, which takes effect the following December, could end up having even more stringent rules than those of GDPR.  

    As a result, brands will need to shift toward leveraging more first-party data that consumers directly provide as opposed to third-party data. Many of us are willing to share our data directly with brands we know and love, as long as we know where the data is going, how it will be used, and what benefits we get in return. As brands move toward more direct communication with their consumers, we’ll likely see them offering more rewards to encourage information sharing.

    Get creative with communications

    A brand’s success will require a keen eye on the changing laws and shifting consumer attitudes. Smart brands will develop new approaches for communicating privacy policies to build trust with consumers (there is little doubt that most of us don’t read the lengthy and often-times confusing privacy statements). Ticketmaster is a good example of a company trying to do this right. It recently updated users on changes to its privacy policy with an email subject line, “Privacy. It’s personal.” Once the email was opened, a video of users scrolling through the Ticketmaster app searching for tickets to sports games, concerts, and art shows launched. The tagline at the end of the video ties it all together by noting, “Just like your taste in entertainment, your privacy is personal to you.” By making privacy-related content digestible and  relatable to your brand, you’ll be well on your way to building trust.

    Be direct and transparent

    Sending personalized offers to consumers without them knowing how you created that customization can seem creepy and significantly harm your reputation. If consumers don’t trust you, they aren’t going to purchase your products, engage with your service, or frequent your establishment, much less share their personal information with you. Brands can create relationships and build brand loyalty when they clearly communicate how they can provide more relevant, personalized offers in exchange for info-sharing, in a way that feels considerate and well-intentioned.

    Think beyond simply meeting the minimum requirements of these new privacy regulations, as they will continue to evolve. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: think about what you as a consumer expect from your favorite brands and start to reimagine the experiences you’re offering from there. Data can help us better understand individual preferences and needs—it’s just a matter of framing the quest for data-gathering accurately and communicating your intentions transparently to establish trust.

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