Data management and building digital trust among e-commerce consumers
In the new normal, digital trust is essential for the future of the global economy. E-commerce platforms need to demonstrate a higher degree of reliability as they offer a growing portfolio of products to consumers through interconnected and modern technologies. Even as data enables brands to deliver hyper-personalization, the fabric of trust across layers of security, privacy, risk, transparency, ethics, and governance is being tested by the sheer number of growing number of data breaches and access breaches due to unmanaged vulnerabilities in the digital ecosystem. Any negative impact on these levels/parameters can have a direct impact on the reliability of the company, resulting in a significant loss of reputation and relationship with consumers. Last year, Juniper Research predicted that between 2021 and 2025, merchant losses from online payment fraud would exceed $206 billion in total.
In their desire for personalized brand experiences, consumers tend to compromise or become myopic in the face of online threats. Now more aware of the risks, they are more reluctant to entrust their data to brands if there is not enough clarity on how it would be used and managed. They want more assurance that their data will be secure and that the digital ecosystem will not use customer data beyond the purposes for which it was collected. Effective and transparent security controls are essential as this will ensure a frictionless experience for customers and act as a catalyst to build trust between customers and the digital ecosystem.
Mining data to gain insights into user interests and preferences to plan and launch themed advertisements and marketing campaigns has been a key driver of e-commerce. Now, with heightened cybersecurity concerns, organizations must demonstrate that adequate security and privacy controls are in place to protect user data. This includes effective controls for risk management and assurance, ensuring appropriate management of identified vulnerabilities based on criticality and priority. Otherwise, with the rise of digital channels, consumers have more options to choose from and do not need to stick to one platform if another were to provide a more personalized and reliable experience.
Therefore, the top priority for e-commerce companies is to ensure meaningful experiences when consumers interact on their digital platforms and build lasting relationships. Given the role of consumer buy-in in driving future business, organizations must implement transparent and ethical policies to protect customer interests and build trust in the digital ecosystem of people, processes, and people. business technology.
Digital trust: a balance between data security and business intelligence
Consumers today prefer a frictionless and secure browsing experience that allows them to access, transact and pay quickly with minimal touchpoints. Businesses also want smooth, intelligent interactions that allow for personalization.
Various security elements must be considered to create the type of e-commerce or digital experiences that consumers want. To allay user concerns about security and improve brand reputation and stickiness, e-commerce companies should establish:
- Their ability to collect the right set of data while respecting user privacy and preferences
- Their integrity in data analysis – whether they use real user data or metadata to draw meaningful conclusions
- Verification of the user’s identity as a real person and not a bot or a fabrication
- Solutions to curb rising levels of online eavesdropping and fraudulent transactions
- Security-by-design and zero-trust principles ensure fundamental and transparent security controls across the digital ecosystem
Become secure by design
E-commerce platforms that choose to impose tighter security controls on user access risk losing interest if the process becomes too lengthy. Alternatively, they can choose to be secure by design and strengthen the fabric of trust in the e-commerce ecosystem. This involves defining the modeling parameters of the digital platform upstream. It also includes defining ways to capture consumer information. To provide the agility and identity management essential for a smooth user journey, companies can create transparency by informing users of the type of data that will be collected, obtaining their consent and managing user preferences. However, users should be able to change their preferences at any time and be excluded from mailing lists etc.
Organizations must also customize the design to meet the needs of the different functions – security, risk, marketing – that leverage the digital platform to deliver a unified consumer experience. The contribution of marketing information must be weighed against the threat of associated risks. Ensuring data privacy and obtaining and managing consent is an integral part of the app development phase, not an afterthought. Similarly, organizations should ensure that a higher degree of authentication is required for certain users. For example, would adaptive authentication make the most sense, or would a passwordless biometric authentication process work better for a more critical website? In the case of a European postal services organization serving millions of customers, they chose to implement our Identity and Access Management solution to establish a zero-trust security framework.
To ensure a smooth experience, organizations can use progressive profiling. For example, this means that the consumer is required to provide minimal registration information rather than being required to provide all sorts of data at the first point of contact. Additionally, users can enrich their profile and enable and manage their own security features and authentication credentials. As trust in the platform improves, users may be asked to share data with their consent, to enable more relevant service offerings. The platform should intelligently adapt its recommendations based on predictable consumer behavior rather than using preferences or browsing history. For example, targeting specific campaigns during peak subway hours can help reach more people, as consumers are likely to have more free time during their commute to engage.
The user experience, when decoupled from security, is broken and piecemeal. Coupled with these security considerations, it paves the way for a single identity model where consumers can trust the company with the assurance of a uniform omnichannel experience backed by privacy and data security measures. . As e-commerce platforms strike the right balance between securing data entrusted by consumers and using it for business insights, the digital trust and frictionless experience they create will provide a solid foundation for sustainable growth.
The article was written by Vishal Salvi, Chief Information Security Officer and Cybersecurity Practice Leader – Infosys