Urge for Web privacy is a huge marker for retailers and CPG

Articles
March 20, 2009

Urge for Web privacy is a huge marker for retailers and CPG

Americans express deep concerns over their degree of privacy on the Web, for excellent reasons. Not only are security breaches too common for people’s taste, so is the marketing opportunism that abounds on the Internet. These twin threats haven’t prevented growth in Internet use, but they’ve sure added to angst when millions search and cruise online—and leave themselves potentially exposed through electronic trails of their interests, health issues, financial data and much more. Protecting this information is a paramount issue for users, who don’t want to be compromised or targeted in any way. A new survey by TRUSTe shows that more than nine out of 10 Americans consider online privacy a “really/somewhat” important issue. Fewer than three in 10 (28%) are comfortable with behavioral targeting practices today; most are not (51%). More than three-quarters of survey respondents agree that “the Internet is not well regulated, and naïve users can easily be taken advantage of.” Findings of another recent TRUSTe survey raise more cause for concern: 56% of small business owners with websites have no privacy policy. Of those who do, almost one-third ‘cut and pasted’ their privacy policy from somewhere else, and one-quarter wrote it themselves.

Americans express deep concerns over their degree of privacy on the Web, for excellent reasons. Not only are security breaches too common for people’s taste, so is the marketing opportunism that abounds on the Internet.  These twin threats haven’t prevented growth in Internet use, but they’ve sure added to angst when millions search and cruise online—and leave themselves potentially exposed through electronic trails of their interests, health issues, financial data and much more.

Protecting this information is a paramount issue for users, who don’t want to be compromised or targeted in any way. A new survey by TRUSTe shows that more than nine out of 10 Americans consider online privacy a “really/somewhat” important issue.

Fewer than three in 10 (28%) are comfortable with behavioral targeting practices today; most are not (51%).  More than three-quarters of survey respondents agree that “the Internet is not well regulated, and naïve users can easily be taken advantage of.”

Findings of another recent TRUSTe survey raise more cause for concern: 56% of small business owners with websites have no privacy policy. Of those who do, almost one-third ‘cut and pasted’ their privacy policy from somewhere else, and one-quarter wrote it themselves.

Moreover, 21% of small businesses “don’t know if they have encrypted pages on their website, and 30% admitted that they didn’t know if they were PCI-compliant. This lack of knowledge invites privacy lapses and security breaches that could lead to a consumer’s information being stolen or abused,” said TRUSTe in its survey report. “It suggests a critical need for steps to ensure the website is a trustworthy landing point….”

Although consumers want a customized online experience, they also fear privacy invasion. In attempts to stay anonymous when surfing the Web, 48% delete cookies on their computer at least once a week.

With these survey findings, and the prevailing consumer sentiment today, there’s an air of suspicion fogging travel over the Internet. That half of consumers feel discomfited by behaviorial advertising is a huge indicator for food retailers and CPG companies about how to shape their own activities while connecting with shoppers and brand users to create optimal Web experiences.

They need to tighten up their own sites, and treat people the way they’d want to be treated themselves—along with the doses of innovation, value enhancement, excitement and originality that will surely bond people to their brands both online and offline, believes SupermarketGuru.com.