In 2016: Now It's Getting Personal

Patrick Antinozzi

big data privacy vs convenience

Something interesting happened to me last night.

Sitting around with my friends on a Sunday evening, trying to decide what to order for takeout, we finally settled on pizza. As one of my friends dials up her favorite pizza spot, and the sales rep (we'll call him pizza guy) answers the phone, she suddenly can't decide what kind of pizza she wants. She begins to whisper-yell with all of us to help her decide, while the pizza guy waits patiently on the other end of the line.

Then, suddenly, the pizza guy pipes in.

"Is this 953 Popular Ave?"

My friend replies: "Uh, yah."

"Would you like to order your favorite again?"

"...sure. That'd be great."

"Ok! It will be there in about 30 mins."


Now, you will read this story and see it in one of two lights.

A) This is creepy as heck

In many ways, it's understandable that this would be your initial reaction. It can be a bit unsettling that the pizza guy around the corner seems to know you better than you know yourself.

B) This is super convenient

If you are younger, have a short attention span, or are more inclined to give up personal information for the sake of convenience, this was likely your reaction to this story.

In reality, this pizza joint acted on some very basic information; my friends phone number, her home address, and what she has already ordered in the past. However, by doing so, they eliminated buying obstacles, and made her shopping experience simple and painless.

As your personal data becomes more readily available to retailers, your shopping experiences are going to become more and more personalized. And you know what? Most people are OK with that. Take a look at this recent survey courtesy of Magnetic.

personalized customer experience examples

Source: Magnetic/MyBuys (February 2015)

Of course, it's hardly by a wide margin. At least 40% of those surveyed are not comfortable with giving up their personal information in exchange for a better shopping experience.

What kind of information are retailers currently using to create these experiences?

personalized customer experiences

Source: Retailer survey, Yes Lifecycle Marketing (September 2015)

Until recently, the information retailers had on consumers has been little more than things you could look up in a phone book. But as our lives, and possessions, become more interconnected than ever before, brands and retailers will continue to learn more about us; our habits, our personality traits, even our physical health.

As they do, they will use that information to find more ways to sell us things. We will likely look back at 2016 as the year that things really started to get personal. How you feel about that depends on whether you're in category A, or B. 

Source for header image: MarketingLand

About the Author

Patrick Antinozzi

Patrick is our Content Specialist / Brand Ambassador / Internet Geek. He's got his finger on the pulse of business and retail trends, and loves writing in various corners of the internet. When he's not doing that, you'll find him traveling the world, playing hockey, or ranting about the Montreal Canadiens.

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