“I didn’t give you my data to make it your data. I gave you my data to make my experience better and I expect a value exchange.” – Rick Chavez , Chief Solutions Officer, Microsoft
As the world has gone digital, consumers have become empowered by an increasing choice of products, services and channels in which to carry out everyday tasks like shopping and banking. With the explosion of connected devices as the Internet of Things, we can expect even more everyday life tasks to be digitally reimagined and delivered.
People today are also increasingly aware of the value of their personal information generated through these digital relationships and expect some kind of reward in exchange for its use. This tilt towards people understanding the value of their own profiles has been tagged the ‘me-commerce’ movement.
Embracing the new ‘me-commerce’ trend is also good for business. According to a recent McKinsey report, implementing ‘me-commerce’ can deliver up to eight times the Return of Investment (ROI) on marketing spend, and lift sales a further 10% more. So it would seem logical to expect that, thanks to the innovative degree of interconnectivity between people and companies providing services online, relationships have become increasingly harmonious. But this is far from the case.
More than 40% of consumers would allow companies to use their personal information when an offer is personalised to them
Indeed, it is evident from a number of recent incidents (for example, the EU’s pursuit of Google for illegally abusing its dominance and the infamous Samsung listening TV debacle to the ever growing list of corporations attacked for various misdemeanours) that consumer trust in business is at an all-time low. To add to this, how marketers collect and use personal information is causing increasing friction between business, regulators and the general public.
Edelman’s 2015 annual trust barometer agrees, with over half of the participants stating that they believe innovation is occurring too rapidly and is being driven by greed. Corporations and big businesses are viewed with common feelings of suspicion surrounding use of consumers’ personal information and the abuse of their sensitive data. These dismally low confidence levels have led to the impending threat of strict regulation and increased limitations. The EU has pushed to further regulate cybersecurity, in the hope of combatting feelings of suspicion and episodes of data exploitation.
However, regulation that is simply focused at combating the symptom rather than addressing the root cause of this problem will just stifle innovation and commerce. What is desperately needed is a paradigm shift; a shift in the way businesses address the legitimate concerns of the consumer, regarding their sensitive information and how this information is used. It needs to be sustainable in the sense that it is also pro-commerce and pro-business.
Personal information is the vital factor in the modern Personal Information Economy. Businesses themselves should be proactively pushing for me-commerce, aiming to engage consumers in personalised, rewarding relationships.
Research has repeatedly shown that consumers are actually willing to share their more personal information, providing that they receive some value from the transaction. More than 40% of consumers would allow companies to use their personal information when an offer is personalised to them, to improve current services and develop new ones.
So here we reach the crux of our argument. Why are businesses and marketers failing to adapt to me-commerce? Why are they are failing to personalise individual relationships with their own consumers, despite the fact that it is technically possible?
Implementing ‘me-commerce’ can deliver up to eight times the ROI on marketing spend
Life management platforms like ours at Magpie, or even Apple’s Health platform, are products of this me-commerce movement. For example, we have removed one common annoyance as a function of the user experience that is inherent in our platform approach to personal information management. When someone enters data into an app on our platform, it is automatically shared in background with all of the other apps that person is using through us. In practical terms that means never having to type in your name, address phone number or other relevant personal information again.
All industries are under threat, or looked at another way, all industries can benefit from the relentless digitisation of services. Either way, it is imperative that they adapt, or risk becoming irrelevant. At Magpie, we see this happening faster in emerging markets like Mexico, India and China where new technologies sidestep legacy systems so that marketers can reach a scattered and diverse audience using mobile devices.
In those markets, consumers are allowing marketing communications to be personalised and customised to their needs. Such engagement fosters trust and builds brand loyalty driving business bottom lines. By empowering consumers to develop their commercial relationships with businesses in a pragmatic, open and innovative way, me-commerce benefits businesses as they seek to align their marketing activities with an ever changing and demanding consumer.
In short, me-commerce offers an abundance of potential which aligns completely with improving the customer experience – the Holy Grail among progressive retailers and service designers across all business sectors. This is one example of where it just has to be me, me, me!
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