The EU General Data Protection Regulation: opportunities for grocery retail report

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Our report explores how the retail sector can work together to turn GDPR from a compliance obligation into an opportunity to build services that meet shoppers needs.

New laws requiring more openness and transparency will change how organisations collect and use personal data, and give shoppers more control over how data about them is used. Our report explores how the sector can work together to turn GDPR from a compliance obligation into an opportunity to build services that meet shoppers needs.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation presents a significant opportunity for the UK grocery retail sector. By proactively informing shoppers about their data rights and how data-driven services benefit them, organisations can build trust and strengthen loyalty, which will create greater buy-in from shoppers for data-enabled innovation.

Every shopping trip generates data. This can be about people’s shopping habits, preferred brands or interest in promotions.

By analysing data alone or together with third parties, retailers inform the entire shopping experience – from how to lay out stores and what products to stock, to what promotions to run and what offers to give customers. Among others, price-matching schemes and new delivery services are increasingly being developed using this data. These services can offer benefits to shoppers, helping people save time and money.

However, the UK retail sector must be vigilant in responding to changes in the data landscape. The EU is implementing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to give citizens more rights and control over personal data. The UK is implementing a Data Protection Bill which includes country-specific elements of the regulation. This creates compliance needs but also new ways of engaging shoppers around data.

Our research found that while shoppers trusted retailers with data more than technology companies, they were still uncomfortable with how retailers shared personal data. Encouragingly, shopper comfort increased when they were more familiar with data practices and shoppers wanted to exercise their rights to port and access personal data to both understand data practices and receive new services. Organisations will need to change the way they operate with each other in order to respond to shopper’s expectations.