How is GDPR Affecting the High Street?

What is GDPR?
GDPR is a new regulation that will come into place from 25th May 2018. This new regulation is to help increase the privacy the general public has over their personal data, meaning companies will need to re-engage with their customers to ensure they have valid consent from the individuals they contact.

What has made high street retailers change how they get customer data?
With the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (also known as GDPR) approved by EU parliament in 2016, we have seen a change in how companies are trying to engage with their customers and obtain relevant customer data in order to avoid getting penalised. The fines can be hefty and can comprise of up to 4% of a company’s annual global turnover if they are found to not be in compliance.

What are high street retailers doing to accommodate GDPR?
In preparation for the changes that will take place, companies are coming up with new ways to encourage customers to sign up to their mailing lists in order to keep hold of the data they need to still distribute their marketing material to the relevant audiences. With the 25th May fast approaching, we have seen an increase in companies creating ‘clubs’, loyalty schemes and competitions in order to give the general public a reason to authorise companies to use their data in the future. With this in mind, below are some examples of how high street brands have reacted to GDPR after the new regulation was announced in 2016. It is not definite that the introduction of schemes and competitions has directly come as a result of the new regulations, but these are some of the ways in which companies can reach out to consumers for permission to use their data in future marketing attempts.

 –  H&M
The Swedish fashion retailer H&M introduced a new loyalty scheme in 2017 which customers have to actively sign up for either through the H&M website or via their app. To help encourage customers to sign up to the H&M club, it offers exclusive benefits such as 10% off their first online or in-store purchase, free delivery and points with every purchase, which they can use to unlock offers, discounts and gives them access to events. When signing up you are required to give general information such as your name, email, postcode and are also required to select a box that states you are over a certain age and wish to receive newsletters and other marketing material. This has enabled H&M to obtain the data they require whilst also complying with the new regulation that will come into place in May. Once you have signed up you receive a welcome email explaining the club and what it has to offer. At the bottom of these emails, there is a reminder that you have opted in to receive newsletters and that you have given consent, with an option to unsubscribe.

 –  SkinnyDip
SkinnyDip is a London-based fashion accessory brand with a strong online following and multiple concessions. They have used a different approach in order to obtain their existing customer’s information – they have chosen to run a competition and send this directly to those already on their existing mailing list. This is a one-off competition in order to obtain the data instead of an ongoing loyalty scheme or club. The email was sent containing the below content, in order to enter an ‘Enter now’ link has to be followed. Once this is followed only minimal information is required. Once the customer enters the competition a follow-up email is sent to confirm they want to subscribe to the Skinny Dip mailing list. This is getting the customers consent so they can be sent further marketing materials in the future, which means it complies with the new GDPR regulations.

 –  Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters introduced a ‘UO Reward’ scheme and this offers members the chance to earn rewards when they shop, get special offers, prizes and early access to sales. This is an ongoing reward scheme in order to persuade their customers to create an account and sign up for their mailing list. When creating an account, you need to enter your email address and birthday and it provides you with the option to either sign up for emails or opt out by selecting a little box. Once a reward account has been created no follow up email is sent to confirm your subscription.

 

These examples are just some of the ways in which high street retailers are using loyalty schemes or competitions in order to re-capture customer names and email addresses so that they can continue to use these contacts in future marketing drives. Email marketing is such an influential part of today’s eCommerce market that some brands would suffer without being able to place content directly in their customers’ inboxes. With 25th May looming, how will brands engage with their consumers once the law has been passed?


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