Balance personalisation, privacy on Web sites

Speakers today at the Komm conference, held at the Internet Commerce Expo (ICE) in Germany, offered tips on how businesses can better tailor Web content to individual users' needs.

"Personalisation has something to do with marketing, of course," said Rainer Zahner, manager of Internet consulting firm Eskatoo, "but of course it has a lot to do with the user as well." Visitors to e-commerce sites are just as pleased to have their individual needs anticipated, he said, as a shopper at a department store would like to be personally greeted by a salesperson who already knows the shopper's size and what color shirt or tie he would be likely to buy.

Advantages of personalisation are that the customer feels understood, information is delivered on an individual basis, and users are offered a quicker path to relevant data, he said.

But Thomas Gessner, managing director of the German subsidiary of Broadvision, warned that data collection in e-commerce is a two-way street.

"Remember, there's a relationship between what I want to know and what I give [the user]," he said. "If I don't offer sports news, I shouldn't ask him if he's interested in sports."

He mentioned an on-line questionnaire posed by a German wine dealer. After inquiring about the user's tastes and preferences in wine -- reasonable questions, Gessner said -- it asked for the user's annual income. Irrelevant questions are off-putting, he said, and likely to contribute to users' impressions that companies are collecting sensitive personal data about them.

Jason Catlett, president of Junkbusters, offered another hypothetical: Say an online bookseller tracks what books users place in their "shopping cart" but then remove without purchasing them and then offers the same titles at a discount on the user's next visit. A good marketing tactic? No, he said. "It spooks the customer ... to have it rubbed in their nose that you're tracking their every move."

Other "idiot marketers" have dreamed up the idea, he continued, of tracking what shop windows customers are looking at, then sending tailored discount offers to their mobile phones. "Don't stalk the consumer," he warned.

Collection of personal data, Catlett said, should be relevant to the service provided, and anticipated by the user. Otherwise it's likely to scare off repeat customers, lead to damaging media criticism, and the risk of legal headaches.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Perera

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?