IKEA makes a data promise to its customers

Discussion
Source: IKEA
Feb 03, 2020
Tom Ryan

IKEA last week announced a set of principles and approaches to how it uses data called “The Customer Data Promise.” The stated goal is to have “people feel as safe online as they do at home.”

In a video blog, Barbara Martin Coppola, chief digital officer, Ingka Group, the largest IKEA franchisee and store operator, said IKEA’s research found consumers lack understanding, trust and transparency about how their data is used. She said, “They have to click a very long legal text to understand what is happening. And then at the end of it, give away their rights, with a single click.” 

IKEA’s app upgrade offers consumers a number of opt-in or-opt out options and a panel to adjust how their data is used.

For example, when first downloading the IKEA app, users are prompted to “decide how your data works.” The consumer sees the benefits of sharing data “in a very simple to understand way” while told they have complete control of how their data is used and that they can go incognito and not share any data. 

In the app, a data control panel available through a blue line at the bottom of the mobile screen quickly reveals all the data IKEA is using at any given time. The blue line “animates” as the consumer opts in to let IKEA use more data to personalize their app experience, such as clicking sustainability as an interest.

For more granularity, a full-data control panel lets the user control how their browsing and purchase history, as well as favorites, are being used. Consumers can also easily manage how long IKEA keeps their data.

At checkout, IKEA offers ways to learn more about how the company keeps the data safe. Said Ms. Martin Coppola, “It’s nice to get this information in context, rather than in a giant legal document.”

George Manas, president of OMD USA, owned by Omnicom Group Inc., told The Wall Street Journal, “This seems like a purpose-based move to try and set IKEA apart from the pack by appealing to the emotional side of the Millennial consumer equation.” 

But he added that IKEA has “little to lose” compared to Amazon, Walmart, Target and others that require customer data to drive their advertising businesses.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see more pros than cons for other retailers considering a privacy model like IKEA’s? Would such privacy guidelines significantly limit advertising opportunities on retail platforms?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"By giving consumers an easy to understand privacy dashboard they are being transparent in a world of obfuscation."
"Consumers should demand these types of disclosures, as opposed to the current “sell your soul” legalese."
"As a consumer, I hate clicking that little “give all your rights away” box. This is a smart move by IKEA because it turns the retailer into more of a caring partner..."

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6 Comments on "IKEA makes a data promise to its customers"


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Ken Morris
BrainTrust

I agree with the IKEA strategy. Coming from Europe, where they are guided by strict privacy laws, this is leveraging existing standard operating procedures. I also believe that privacy will be legislated in the U.S. as it is in Europe in the next few years. What I like about IKEA’s approach is its simplicity. By giving consumers an easy to understand privacy dashboard they are being transparent in a world of obfuscation.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

There is an important distinction highlighted here. IKEA has, and can, run their business and be financially successful without accessing their customer’s data. Amazon, (along with Target, Walmart, and others) sell media valuation access to their customer’s data. IKEA is wise to leverage this advantage and differentiation for its customers. Those using their customer’s data as a source of additional revenue would have a difficult time justifying this level of transparency.

With all the possibilities and innovative communication that new technologies can enable, I’m continually disappointed and frustrated that brands and retailers alike use their platforms to still chase eyeballs and media dollars instead of focusing on how, why, what, and where they can bring value to their customers.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

As a consumer, I hate clicking that little “give all your rights away” box. This is a smart move by IKEA because it turns the retailer into more of a caring partner, and not just a place to just buy “stuff.” Transparency is important, I hope other retailers follow suit.

Stephen Rector
BrainTrust

I think this is great what IKEA is doing, transparency is important in this day and age. However I wonder if so many of us are trained to just scroll down and click the box – no matter what we are doing (and without knowing what we are giving away) — that it won’t matter here in the U.S.?

Jeff Weidauer
BrainTrust

IKEA has done a smart thing here as consumer concern over data use grows. The real question is whether this will set a standard for other online sellers. Consumers should demand these types of disclosures, as opposed to the current “sell your soul” legalese.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Like with any good engagement, IKEA’s move makes privacy a collaborative process and directly invests the customer in their own privacy matters. Great move and expect to see more retailers build on this type of model.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"By giving consumers an easy to understand privacy dashboard they are being transparent in a world of obfuscation."
"Consumers should demand these types of disclosures, as opposed to the current “sell your soul” legalese."
"As a consumer, I hate clicking that little “give all your rights away” box. This is a smart move by IKEA because it turns the retailer into more of a caring partner..."

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