LONDON: Though the proliferation of data sources appears to be growing without restriction, 68% of consumers are beginning to be ‘very selective’ about the brands with which they share their data, according to a new report.

This is according to The Future of Retail CX report by Mindshare Futures. Based on a bespoke survey of 1000 UK smartphone users, the study found that consumers are not only becoming more selective of which brands can access their data, but are also becoming more conscious of what brands are then doing with their information.

Data, the report states, is not only growing in volume but in diversity. “Connecting all these data points and seeing the whole picture is the key to creating personalised relevant experiences for shoppers that will differentiate brands and keep customers coming back for more.”

However, this leads to greater consumer expectations. 56% of respondents said that once they have access to data, brands should be better at personalising the experience.

Some familiar themes cropped up in the agency’s analysis. The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation across the EU next May will affect marketers far beyond the EU’s borders. While a lot of the stories have been negative, Sophie Harding, Mindshare’s Trends and Insights Director, argued that the law should be seen as an opportunity “to get our data in a really good state.”

Speaking at an event in London on Tuesday, Harding elaborated on the regulation’s redefined understanding of consent. Brands have to think more thoroughly, she said, about “what is the acceptable data exchange for your brand, specifically, and what’s the incentive for [the consumer] to give consent?”

Meanwhile, the report notes some of the enhanced rights that will be granted to consumers and that brands must respect. “Brands will need to provide consumers with much more control over their data, with the right to access their data at any point and any remove anything inaccurate or outdated,” the report says.

Elsewhere, the data challenge for retail brands will be more structural, with the right infrastructure to process it legally and effectively now an “imperative.” It is crucial, the agency writes, “to identify what is most relevant and use this information wisely to the benefit of the customer.”

There are opportunities, but next year is also a key deadline. In short, “2018 will need to be the year [brands] get their houses in order,” the report concludes.

Data sourced from Mindshare Futures, WARC; additional content by WARC staff