3 Opportunities Retailers Have to Deliver Value from Their Data 

Aug 15, 2023
May 15, 2024
Jonathan Sharabi
3 Opportunities Retailers Have to Deliver Value from Their Data 

Should you focus on using data to drive growth or safeguard data to reduce risk? From a data analytics perspective, the answer might seem obvious. From a security perspective, the answer might be the opposite.

But who said you needed to make a choice anyway? Safeguarding data is one of the most growth-driven things a retailer can do with customer information. Customer contact and transaction data that retailers collect is most valuable when it's clearly classified, sorted, and stored in known places. These same objectives for treating data are also relevant for securing data.

Of course, whenever you give someone inside your organization access to data, there will always be some level of compromise between security versus access.

Getting the right balance hinges on identifying mutually beneficial opportunities that come from data - projects that security and analytics teams can both agree on. This can help retailers grow while keeping risk to a minimum. 

3 Opportunities to Deliver Value When Safeguarding Data

A typical retailer data journey looks something like this:

  1. You collect data, whether from your POS system, social media interactions, loyalty programs, or even direct survey responses. 
  2. You make sense of this data. 
  3. You secure this data through the enforcement of controls, encryption, etc.
  4. You deliver value from data (through insights, analysis, or direct monetization).

Sounds like a long journey? Well, it can be. But safeguarding data with automated solutions like Cyera shortens the time between security and value dramatically. Here are three ways this happens.

1. Discovering Commercially Important Data 

It's your first day as an analyst. Your goal is to optimize your e-commerce website, so you want to examine website visitor behavior from as many different perspectives as possible. To help you do this, your team points you to a series of dashboards and data sources that are supposed to contain all the information you need to analyze user behavior on your organization's website. 

But are these data sources reporting all of the information your organization has available on website visitors? If your organization is anything like the average, the answer is probably not. A survey conducted by Adobe found that data silos were the second biggest challenge organizations face when trying to form a single view of their customer. 

The solution is to have an inventory of where  website visitor data exists in your data ecosystem. By figuring out where data lives, which ones are non-sensitive, and which ones may contain insights, analysts can analyze the information they need to boost engagement and conversions on e-commerce platforms.

The most effective way to get started on this journey is through continuous and simple to deploy data discovery. The same continuous discovery process that helps security teams safeguard data can also help break down data silos. 

2. Building Data-Driven Products

Almost half of all marketers (44%) now predict a need to increase their spend on data by between 5% and 25%. High-quality regulatory-compliant consumer data is top of their shopping list. 

If you, as a retailer, can anonymize, protect the identities, and govern data that you own, you can create data-driven products that can be sold into this growing market. The foundation for data monetization, segregating and contextualizing sensitive data, is also a critical data security task that standards like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) require retailers to do anyway.  

Here, retailers can take inspiration from other sectors, such as financial services. Just look at how investment data has helped companies like the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) spin off new data-driven product lines based on customer data

3. Empower Data Use Along the Supply Chain

Mitigating privacy risks in your partner ecosystem opens up the opportunity for data-driven projects and products across your supply chain. If they operate within regulatory guidelines by default, your partners will be able to take advantage of opportunities faster than they would otherwise.

The opposite case is a retailer’s worst data nightmare. Just imagine a data breach or regulatory failure in a part of their supply chain that ends up unraveling an increasingly opaque series of data-safeguarding failures. After the dust clears, a backlash against downstream data use is likely. 

Something like this happened to Sephora recently. The beauty retail giant was rocked first by a $1.2 million California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) fine for reselling customer data when asked not to. Then a spot-check audit of more than 100 retailers revealed that Sephora retailers were monetizing data they shouldn't have been, likely unknown to the head office.

Identify and resolve security and privacy risks ahead of time by making sure existing or new sensitive data you have is not going out to vendors it shouldn't. With data safeguarded, you can give partners more of a carte blanche to innovate. 

Unlocking Data Growth with Cyera

Alignment between security and analytics teams on data-led growth opportunities depends on sustainable and scalable data safeguarding practices. You can’t leverage customer data at any meaningful scale with manual processes for understanding your data.

The opportunities around secure data usage will go to retailers who meet compliance standards, prevent data breaches, and control data access even as they multiply their data collection, analysis, and monetization efforts. This involves merging data discovery and classification automation with data safeguarding. 

Learn how Cyera can help you unlock opportunities with your customer data by scheduling a demo today.