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Can UAE residents trust shops with personal information?

Shops in Dubai are increasingly asking for people’s information, but how do they actually benefit customers

Shoppers at Deira City Centre.

Dubai: Next time a shop assistant asks for your personal information, you may want to think twice.

While some retail outlets claim to provide their customers with the latest information on promotions in exchange for customer details, a recent survey says that most shoppers perceive it more as a risk.

Sanjit Gill, General Manager at ICLP, said: “Brands are increasingly aware of the need to know their customers better so that they can deliver more interesting and personalised experiences. Only by doing this can they hope to keep encouraging shoppers to visit on their trips to the mall and avoid becoming old and stale. This is particularly the case as they are now compared against more technologically advanced online-only retailers.”

ICLP surveyed UAE consumers to understand how they felt about the risks and rewards of sharing their personal data with brands, and found that only 41 per cent trusted brands to treat their personal data with respect and use it in their best interests.

“However, our research shows that brands across the UAE are failing to deliver on this promise. Shoppers need to be able to trust that their personal data will be kept safe and used in interesting ways that will ultimately benefit them. Otherwise, shoppers will simply opt to remain strangers,” said Gill.

A study carried out by ICLP, a global loyalty marketing agency, suggested that shoppers in the UAE see the risks of sharing their data as far outweighing the rewards.

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“Most are not delivering the personalisation and special offers that brands feel that they deserve for sharing their personal information with a brand,” said the report.

More than 68 per cent of UAE shoppers do not feel that they get anything in return for sharing their personal information with brands.

The results also varied between some of the UAE’s top brands. Just 46 per cent of Splash shoppers, and 39 per cent of Carrefour shoppers said that their data was treated with respect and in their best interests. The figure was even lower, at 32 per cent with apparel retailer H&M.

Many brands were also not seen as rewarding enough.

As many as 78 per cent of Carrefour shoppers, 71 per cent of Splash shoppers, and 73 per cent of H&M shoppers said that they did not feel like they got anything in return for sharing their personal data.

Shops and personal information

  • As part of the research carried out by marketing agency ICLP, UAE shoppers were asked about how effectively they felt brands used their data and found that:

Brands do not remember the purchases that shoppers have made in the past.

  • Up to 74 per cent of shoppers said that they didn’t find that brands remembered their previous purchases, something that is key for making future recommendations and understanding shopper behaviour

Personalisation is not delivered.

  • Only 28 per cent of shoppers found that they were given personalised and relevant product recommendation by brands

Rewards are not sufficiently tailored.

  • Brands are also not using data to make their loyalty programmes sufficiently personalised. Just 31% said that they were rewarded with offers that were tailored to them.