Christmas is coming! (And so is the GDPR compliance deadline)

26 September 2017

Retailers are already preparing for the holidays - Selfridges have officially opened their Christmas shop and you can already book to see Santa in Harrods. In the same way that retailers are outwardly preparing for Christmas, brands should also consider how they can leverage the festive season to retain their customer data before GDPR regulation comes into effect in May 2018. If businesses are not fully compliant, they will face not being able to use their customer data or some devastating fines if they do.

By considering GDPR compliance to loyalty, marketing and promotions, the Christmas trading period can be used by retailers in particular to drive initiatives that will ensure their business is ready before the May deadline. Marketing can be leveraged in Christmas activity by making sure that all engagements with customers are compliant with the regulations.

The Christmas season (and even the upcoming madness of Black Friday) is an opportunity for retailers to ensure the data they acquire is compliant. We recently carried out some research of shoppers in the UK and found that brands are facing some serious difficulties when it comes to persuading their customers to share their personal data. Customers are much more aware of the value of their personal information and so getting them to hand it over has to be more of a value exchange; brands need to offer them something in return and it may have to be more interesting than a discount. Customers also need to be able to trust that brands will store their data in a secure environment, so reassuring them of that is key.

Fortunately, Christmas is a great time to overcome these hurdles. It is often easier to engage with customers as they come to you for recommendations and deals. In the season of gift giving, make sure you’re giving customers adequate rewards for the data you’re asking them to share. Christmas can make people feel more charitable, but they still aren’t going to give you something for nothing.

Retailers are also more likely to see returning customers that they haven’t for a while. Efforts should be made to ensure the data you already hold is compliant, or you risk not being able to talk to them after May 2018.

So whilst decorating the tree and hanging up stockings might be a bit premature, those tasked with GDPR compliance within businesses should be preparing their strategy now.

After all, ‘tis the season for compliant customer engagement!


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