My View on the General Data Protection Regulations

Only a few Days left until the General Data Protection Regulations kick in

In a few days, everyone will feel like they have graduated from college again. The time to implement the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) or also know as “Datenschutzgrundverordnung (DSGVO) will end at 11:59pm. Many firms are waiting until next week to start with the first implementation, some have been working on it for months and some people will finish just on time. I guess, nothing has changed since college.

If you run an a data-heavy business or are part of a larger corporation, you are most likely part of a group of people that don’t have to worry too much anymore. You have been notified by your lawyers 2 years ago that there are some changes coming. However most of the people are not prepared and if you are prepared, you are still worried if you comply with all the regulations that have been set.

At this point, it is important to inform you, that most likely only a handful of firms will be complying with the GDPR to 100%.

Who is affected by the GDPR / DSGVO?

Everyone who is interacting with personal data of European citizens has to comply with the regulations. Many people are confused by the term “personal data” and believe that the term focuses on consumer or customer data, this is not true. The information about your employees, service partners, and logistic partners are also personal data. Meaning, if you are currently a one-man-show startup or a 200 employee strong business, you have to comply with the GDPR in one way or another (B2B or B2C in the EU).

The easiest way to put it, if you are hosting a website for your business and you have traffic coming in from EU Citizens, you are part of the GDPR.

Help! What can I do?

First of all, breath and remember that you are not alone. When you wake up on the 26th of May, you won’t get a phone call from your lawyer letting you know there is a 2.000.00 € lawsuit coming your way.

At this point in time, you will most likely not be able to implement every change if you haven’t started yet. However, you are able to set the foundation for your further efforts.There is enough information online for everyone to read for the next few years. Inform yourself about the fundamental changes and what you can do to take the first steps.

The 2 biggest task for firms:

  • Make a list of every department, what data they work with, how they work with the data, who has access to that data and what measures have been taking to secure that data.
  • Make a list of service providers you work with, that stores personal data of you, your consumer, your employees or anything else and ask them what you need to do.

The key aspect is to show effort this late in the process. If your firm is not yet complying with all regulation, take the needed measures to build the needed foundations and build from that.

This is just crazy!

The changes of the GDPR / DSGVO are designed to Facebook and Google, and this can be frustrating for a lot of firms. However, if we are being honest with ourselves, the basic principles and the idea is way overdue and the effects of that have been visible in the news for the last months.

Still, I believe that many principles of the regulations cannot be implemented in every market. Two key design flaws of the regulations are, not to differentiate between a B2B and B2C Markets and declaring every personal data aspect to a white house security level.

Say for example you are visiting the biggest fair for your market and you ordered 200 brand new business cards to hand out in the next few days. At the end of the 2 days, you have handed out most of your business cards and are holding almost 200 new ones. Back in the office, you will upload all the new contacts into your sales software, to follow up on any conversations you have. However, before you are able to follow up you will need to send the business card owner a formal Email notifying her or him, that their contact information is now stored in your systems and that if he wants to opt-out he can do this by contacting you. After you have written this email you will have received 200 emails notifying you as well, that your contact information is now stored in their systems.

Whoever doesn’t know that their contact information is stored somewhere after handing it out, should not hand out business cards at all. You shouldn’t need to notify them about saving the contact information.

Therefore I believe that the current regulations will not stand as they are today, change will come in the near future. Despite that, firms will need to take action and we will all learn more about data privacy in the past 10 years.

I want to know more about the GDPR / DSGVO and I have some questions.

We have worked closely with our clients to prepare them for the regulation changes. During that process, we have gained interesting and powerful insights.

If you are looking for a young and energetic group of entrepreneurs to help you out. We would love to get in contact with you help you.

We are not lawyers but we can share some of our insights and take a look at your current organizational situation – from a purely pragmatic point of view. A fundamental view of your structure and a list of your highest pain points is the first step into a GDPR / DSGVO friendly life.

No one will be done on the 25th of May, even if you believe you are the GDPR doesn’t stop after that Date. It’s at that point in time, where the GDPR will take a real effect on your business. You need to be able to understand the regulations and the implications for new processes within your company.

P.S.

A sign that none of the regulators really ever developed a digital product is, setting the go live for a Friday evening. Just so that the problems can come flying in, first thing on Saturday when no one is working. If you have ever launched a digital product on a Friday, you will know what I am talking about.

GDPR countdown are you prepared

The 25th of may 2018 is closing in quickly on all of us. Yes, there is no point in denying that this might be the single biggest day of the year for all Europeans and those of us who work together with European companies or customers.

The new European data protection laws will go into effect as of the end of may. Okay, there is really not point in acting surprised about that. It has been known to each and every one of us for good over two years now. But the thing is, most of us have tried to simply forget about it for two years.

And with good reason.

A wave of change is about to hit us

The GDPR is probably the largest change in data protection that we see in the next few decades. It covers all European citizens, their data rights and tells us how we “should” work with data. It sets new security standards across the board in every single industry and forces us to look at who has access to what and how we work with our own and consumer data.

And in all fairness, we could say that there is nothing wrong with that right? We have collectively looked the other way when it comes to data protection for a long time and this is the first real wake up call for all of us.

In light of recent events surrounding Facebook, it seems as though we sort of had this coming. And although the larger US-tech companies are hesitant to cave in to the GDPR, there are obvious monetary incentives (fines) that could force a considerable wave within even the most hesitant of industries.

Less than 10 days left

Together with our clients and partners we are counting down the days on when the GDPR will hit us.

But we don’t really know what the full impact of this legislation will truly be. Some countries, such as Austria, have started to loosen the regulations regarding GDPR for some professions and industries already. It is not very unlikely that other countries will follow suit when they notice that parts of the regulations are very difficult if not impossible to implement and uphold.

Not only companies and consumers will be hit by this regulation, but govermental organizations as well. And as far as the rumors go, very few govermental organizations will be done with the full implementation of the GDPR regulations by May 25th of this year.

Not sure if your company is meeting “all” requirements?

No problem, most companies don’t know where they stand when it comes to GDPR (DSGVO as it is called in the German speaking language area).

If you would like we can surely share some of our insights and have a look at your current organizational setup – from a purely pragmatic point of view. We are not lawyers, but we can at least tell you which pain-points might be coming your way and explain why it is important to address them as soon as possible.

Time is ticking… And even if the bomb doesn’t go off on May 25th (just yet) we can count on it going off in the months to follow.

Data-driven sourcing and inventory management for fashion retailers

Sourcing is one of the most important success factors for a fashion retailer. The main challenge in sourcing is of course to buy the right styles and high quality collections that suit your customer base. 

Sourcing is by far the most crucial element of a healthy retail business. Therefore it deserves a good bit of strategic senior management attention.

Fashion Retailers have a number very industry specific challenges on their hands. For starters: the relatively short product life cycles paired with long production times and lead times make it very hard to plan. Understanding your inventory risk at an early stage in the season or even before placing your orders, is absolutely essential. „Data-driven sourcing and inventory management for fashion retailers“ weiterlesen

How Amazon Prime Day will make you think twice about purchasing something in the next few days

Amazon Prime day is going into its third round. The last two years the exclusive sales event for Amazons Prime Members became one of ecommerce most important sales days of the year. Both larger and smaller retailers alike (who sell on amazon) cannot wait for this monster sales peak.

The overall growth rate of the Prime Day is impressive to say the least. With hundreds of thousands of deals within a time period of only 30 hours, these super sales are a feast to anyone who needs “something”. From clothes to tech, and all you need to join in on the fun is a Prime Account (which comes in at 45 EUR p/year).

Prime day will be bigger than Black Friday

At the top of the list of most hated days in the year (for traditional retailers that is) is surely Black Friday (or the online equivalent Cyber Monday). This sales event is nothing more but a cry for help for an entire industry that is battling their over-stocks. Turnover pressure has become tremendous, with investors wanting to see growth to cover for their investments. Retailers see very little alternative than to simply selling all of their over-stock at ridiculously low prices.  „How Amazon Prime Day will make you think twice about purchasing something in the next few days“ weiterlesen

How To Secure Data Integrity in Google Analytics

Data Integrity should be a strategic asset for any digital business. If you make “clean data” a priority, it opens a lot of doors to insights that will fuel your business’ success.

Knowing how to work with tools and data on a daily basis has become essential for any performance marketeer. Digital businesses and multi channel digital businesses rely on great data visualization tools that help optimize campaigns and streamline operations.

One of the most commonly used tools is Google analytics. Even in the free version of Google analytics, users are able to see a large number of insights of their business. These insights can be very helpful in understanding your customer base and campaign success.

However, what many do not know is that all tracking tools need to be fed correctly. Tracking tools such as Google analytics, ECONDA and Adobe omniture site catalyst, understand a lot of your data from the get go. But if you format your data correctly it becomes a lot easier to work with. „How To Secure Data Integrity in Google Analytics“ weiterlesen

Is an ecommerce only strategy a good idea? Adidas think so

Last week wednesday I read an article on CNBC who did an interview with Kasper Rorsted (Chief Executive at Adidas). Rorsted stated that Adidas are looking to quadruple its ecommerce revenue by 2020.

Now that in itself is nothing spectacular for a company such as Adidas. However, he stated that Adidas will primarily focus its attention on digital channels. He went as far as to say that it would leave TV-Advertising behind entirely.

As much as I personally applaud the fact that a strong brand is willing and able to invest in digital as their primary source for customer acquisition, I find it somewhat troubling to focus only on one channel.

What makes for a solid marketing mix?

Now a lot can be said for digital advertising. It is measurable, the ROIs are plannable and its granularity is unparalleled. Yet one thing Rorsted said troubles me a little; “It’s clear that the younger consumer engages with us predominantly over the mobile device” (K. Rorsted)

„Is an ecommerce only strategy a good idea? Adidas think so“ weiterlesen

Facebook launches Collections on Mobile

Facebook announced that they will start to roll out a new mobile shopping feature called Collections on March 23rd. An attempt to streamline the purchasing experience for (Fashion-) Brands, Facebook focus on creating a seamless, fast-loading purchasing experience.

Brands can use a combination of video and static content to entice the user and bring them into their shop. The mini shop with up to 50 products is readily available within Facebook. Making the view to purchase experience fast and seamless.

Collections tell a more visual product story

Social Media are widely seen a source of inspiration for shoppers. In-feed ads and native ads are amongst the strongest growth drivers for small and larger companies alike. Native Advertising has caught on well in the last year, with over 50% off all US-Mobile adspend using this ad format.  With native advertising on the rise, content and ads blend in ever more.

Business Insider already reported the following in december 2016: Facebook’s effort to create Collections comes as it struggles to distinguish between high-quality content from established media outlets and the glut of low-quality, fake news stories that go viral across the social network. 

„Facebook launches Collections on Mobile“ weiterlesen

Are you in charge of your own data?

Data integrity is one of the most important topics in a data driven world. The term <big data> has been around for a number of years now, but very few companies actually managed to work with the data that they have. The biggest challenge is not really to collect the data, but to collect it in such a way that you can work with it.

Data integrity describes the quality of the way that you have saved your data across its lifecycle. It is essential to save your customer data or transaction data in a clean matter – not just once, but systematically.

Data visualization tools such as tableau can really make a big difference to your daily work. If you would like to work with your data you will need to clean it up. Tools such as tableau can take the first step for you, but they cannot do everything.

„Are you in charge of your own data?“ weiterlesen

Google Shopping switching entirely to EANs

Google Shopping is one of the most powerful features Google has today. For many ECommerce shops, Google Shopping has become an ever increasing source of revenue. Whereas the organic search results are becoming ever less visible on Google, the shopping section is flourishing and Google has given it more importance in the last few months. 

As of June 20th, all shopping feeds on Google need to comply with a number of new guidelines. These guidelines are generally there to improve the shopping experience for the user and make it easier for those who are searching for a certain product, to actually find what they are looking for. 

One of the new requirements is the addition of an EAN number for each product that is being advertised. Whereas many of the larger shops and brands should generally have EANs for their products, this could pose a bit of an issue for smaller producers and shops. Especially in industries such as (ecommerce) Fashion, many smaller labels do not use EANs for their products. 

EANs are not a code that “you” can simply come up with yourself, but whoever produces something and would like to sell their products professionally, will need to purchase a set of EAN codes. This is not all that cheap and can cost a few hundred Euros for only a few codes. Hence, smaller labels and producers tend not to buy any. 

A workaround the EANs for Google

We have been in contact with Google regarding this issue and have managed to find a simple workaround for those brands who do not work with EANs. 

The most important insight that we have learned is that: if Google has EANs for this particular product, it will require you to use the same EANs in your shopping feeds, otherwise the products will not be shown on Google Shopping. If Google does not have any EANs in its database, meaning the producer or label did not provide anyone on the market with EANs, then an exemption is made. 

We could imagine that it could be that Google will start to contact these smaller producers/suppliers and request them to purchase EANs – yet this is merely speculative. For the sake of clean comparison, EANs are a good step forward for sure. 

Some issues still remain

When EANs are used, it does not necessarily mean that the product is 100% unique. EANs can be used across multiple seasons and variations of the same product / and how they are used depends solely on producer of the goods. Each producer are free to use a logic for their EANs as they please. Of course there are some recommendations and EANs are generally used in a similar fashion, but there is not one single institution that actually checks how they are being used. Google could be the first one to actually do so, next to Amazon / who have also been using EANs for years. 

If you need any help, and would like to find out if your shopping feeds fit all the right requirements / feel free to reach out to us at any time. We would be more than happy to help and have a quick look. Google Shopping can be a very strong part of your marketing mix and if you don’t take care of the data on time, you could run the risk of losing a large portion of your income for a number of weeks or months – depending on how fast your suppliers reply to your requests. 

Mobile Commerce, are you ready for it?

‘Apple’s recent announcement that it is preparing to bring one-touch shopping to the mobile web points to a major milestone in mobile commerce.
Brands are moving past mobile hype and towards delivering options that customers want.
While the US tech giant had already launched Apple Pay for in-app purchases on iOS mobile apps and physical stores last year, this move will make mobile shopping even easier.
It enables consumers who shop online using an iPhone or iPad Safari browser to make a purchase at the push of a button with Apple Pay and TouchID.
It points to a world where consumers can shop from wherever they are without the frustration of filling out fiddly forms on a phone or having to wait for lengthy security checks processed over slow network connections.’ (source)

Are you prepared for mobile commerce?

We see that a lot of startups as well as SMBs are still struggling with the fact that mobile is an entirely different ballgame from traditional desktop based ecommerce. Although screen sizes have increased in recent years, products that require mass customisation or alterations are not that easy to bring to a mobile screen.

Simple UX-Design and clean interfaces guide the user through your product and it is of the utmost importance that the user does not need to start to search for the options on his tiny little screen. Responsive design and bootstrapping your website might be a good way to start, but it is surely not the final solution to your users problems.

 

TV and other Offline Marketing Channels Challenges

What many marketeers tend to underestimate when running TV and other offline marketing efforts is that many more users will use their phones to have a quick peak at your offering than on any other regular online marketing campaign.

TV and offline marketing efforts exponentially trigger mobile traffic to your site

TV-Traffic generally triggers at least two thirds direct (landing page) traffic from mobile devices as well as tablet devices. This means that your offer needs to be prominently featured on a small screen as well and can certainly not be below the fold. The conversion uplift of using separate mobile landing pages for TV-Campaigns can easily run into the double digits.

 

Tackling the mobile challenge

We have developed a simple, yet effective method of tapping into mobile traffic best. It involves a lot of test and targeting, loads of reg/sales page optimisation and landing page tweaking, but it is surely worth it.

Before starting a full website make-over and relaunch, we always advise our partners and startups to first start lean and tap into the possibilities that straight-forward front-end testing can bring you. With the data that you will collect from the A/B (or Multivariate) Tests, you will be able to judge well what the impact would be of doing a full mobile relaunch.

Feel free to reach out to us if you would like to find out more about out approach, need help developing your mobile digital products, landing pages, and or UX-Design.


Services that we offer

  • Mobile ecommerce strategy development
  • Native Apps (Conceptualisation, Design, Usability, iPhone/iPad /Android, Q&A, Support- and Release Management)
  • Mobile Websites (Conceptualisation, Design, Usability, Development, Q&A, Support- and Release Management)
  • A/B and multivariate testing setup, support and strategy development
  • Mobile business case analysis (what would a product relaunch potential bring us?)