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Data security: The hidden secret to customer retention

Jim Agger
Apr 05, 2015   |   Jim Agger Recommended for:   Marketing
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What does your winery consider the most important part of customer retention? While stellar customer service, great products, consistent targeted marketing campaigns and efficient wine shipping are crucial to turning one-time buyers into longtime loyal customers, there's another critical element to customer retention: data security.

With the numerous high-profile data breaches organizations have seen in recent years, more people than ever are cautious about their personal data, and fear that it may become compromised.

Consumers more concerned than ever
A poor security strategy, or even one that's perceived as such, could dissuade consumers from shopping on your site to begin with. A poll from the National Cyber Security Alliance and Symantec found that 63% of Americans have been dissuaded from making an online purchase because of security concerns. 

When asked for their reasoning behind a decision to abstain from purchasing, 32% said they weren't sure how a site would use their data, while 41% said the website asked for more data than they thought was necessary. 46% said they were concerned about inputting the information requested, and 62% said they just didn't know if the page was secure or not. 

"Americans are extremely focused on protecting their personal information and their identities," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. "Skepticism is a front-line defense and it is heartening to see that Americans are actively engaged in making critical decisions when shopping online. This poll should alert online retailers that there is direct relationship between security and revenue."

These worries about data security may be due to the fact that many consumers have had a personal experience with a date breach. Research from EMC and the Ponemon Institute found almost 50% of American shoppers had been victims of a breach, and 45% weren't sure they knew of every instance in which their personal information had been stolen.

Hacks demolish customer trust
Cybersecurity is clearly important to consumers, but does it have an impact on their long-term loyalty and retention rates? A poll from SafeNet suggests it does. According to its results, 65% of respondents said they were very unlikely to or would never shop with a business where customers' personal or financial data was stolen

SailPoint's 2011 "Market Pulse" survey showed that a security incident may not just cost a business one shopper - it could lead them to lose referrals too.  10% of American adults would tell friends and family not to shop with a company that had experienced a data breach. 

What may be even worse is that many of your winery's customers may feel you aren't doing enough about data security. The SafeNet research revealed only 50% of those surveyed said businesses took protecting customer data seriously.

"Only those organizations that adopt a 'secure breach' approach and ensure that all customer data remains encrypted will find themselves able to retain their customers should a data breach occur," said Tsion Gonen, chief strategy officer at SafeNet.

By prioritizing data security and making sure customers know that safekeeping of their personal information's is a top priority, you can build more trust with shoppers and ensure they feel comfortable purchasing from your website. One security breach is enough to send customers running for the hills.  Locking down your security strategy now, you'll be able to circumvent any doubt.

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