Study: Consumers growing uneasy about increasing access to personal data
Despite the ramping up of global data regulations, most consumers are concerned about how companies collect and use their information.
In fact, an overwhelming 96% of consumers are "somewhat" to "extremely" concerned about data collection and usage. This is understandable, as more than 75% engage in digital payment transactions at least once a month.
This was according to “Consumer Data Privacy: Strategic Opportunities to Address Emerging Consumer Needs,” a report from A.T. Kearney.
The level and intensity of consumer digital commerce engagement will continue to increase, the report revealed. And for those transacting online, consumers are increasingly using cards-on-file, both at individual retailers and third-party payment providers (e.g., PayPal, Visa Checkout) to conduct digital purchases.
The incidence of card-on-file being the primary payment method for digital purchases grew from 38% in 2015 to 44% in 2016. Strikingly, among those who keep cards on files with retailers as primary payment method for digital purchases, 44% have already have their payment credentials on file with more than five retailers.
In terms of consumer attitudes, a clear divide exists in the consumer market where 34% of consumers consider the use of their payment/purchase data to be "an invasion of privacy that should be prohibited.” A counter-balancing 36% of consumers see some benefit from data sharing, if appropriate consumer compensation is rewarded.
However, the study reveals that the following are of real interest to all consumers:
• The monitoring and reporting of data use by third parties,
• Usage-based compensation schemes to reward consumers,
• Clear industry protocols and standards around usage and data-sharing
Against this backdrop, banks are viewed as the payments and digital commerce provider most prepared to act in consumers' best interest. Among consumers who engage in digital commerce and are prepared to share their data, 65% rated their primary bank as a provider with whom they were comfortable sharing personal information. Banks' high rating compared very favorably to lower consumer ratings for Amazon (34%), Apple (22%), Google (17%), and large national retailers (10%).
Globally — most notably in the U.K., Europe and Australia — regulators have been pushing for greater control over data collection and sharing practices by banks and tech firms. While evolving U.S. consumer attitudes could lead U.S. policy down a similar path to the U.K., Europe, and Australia, in the absence of regulation, the banking industry could provide sought-after leadership to develop standards, protocols, and service offerings to address this increasingly important consumer issue, according to the report.
“Our research shows that a significant majority of U.S. consumers have serious concerns about the privacy of their data,” said Bob Hedges, lead partner in A.T. Kearney's global financial services practice.
“A level of frustration exists over the inability to act on their concerns,” he said. “With growing consumer interest in this issue, there is the need to both have the service solutions and the public policy in place that will help protect consumer data, while allowing consumers to share it in ways they want to."
Department store giant scales back holiday hiring
Fewer stores translates into reduced holiday hiring for Macy's this year.
Macy's plans to hire a total of 80,000 workers for the holiday rush, down from about 83,000 last year. The company has been closing underperforming stores and currently operates some 70 fewer stores than it did last year.
However, while Macy's may need less seasonal workers for its brick-and-mortar operations, that is not the case online. Its total holiday hires for the upcoming season will include 18,000 employees to fulfill online orders, up by about 3,000 from last year.
Macy's announced its plans shortly after Target said it planned to increase its holiday hiring by some 40%.
Online giant expands its fulfillment network in Michigan
Amazon is further bolstering its presence in The Wolverine State.
The online giant will open a new, 1 million sq. ft. fulfillment center in Shelby, Michigan. The building is set to open in 2018.
The warehouse will focus on picking, packing and shipping large items, like household decor, sporting equipment and gardening tools. These operations will be managed by approximately 1,000 associates, according to Amazon.
The new facility comes on the heels of Amazon’s plan to open an 855,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Romulus, Michigan. The facility will use technology from the company's Amazon Robotics division to pick, pack, and ship smaller customer items, such as books, electronics and toys.
The Shelby fulfillment center brings Amazon’s warehouse count to three facilities in the state of Michigan. Amazon also operates a sortation center in the city of Livonia, and a corporate office in Detroit.
“Michigan has been a great place to do business for Amazon and we look forward to adding a new fulfillment center to better serve our customers in the region,” said Sanjay Shah, Amazon’s VP of North American operations.