How to protect your business data on ecommerce ?
Most business owners would agree that if their client list was given to a competitor that it would devalue their company to zero. Yet many ecommerce sites we audit will be giving away 100% of their business intelligence and in 99% of cases paying to do so.
This post is intended to make ecommerce owners aware of the risks of letting key Business Intelligence leak out of their organisation.
Here are a list of places where eCommerce owners are leaking their business intelligence to.
Customer review services.
These services take the sales information from your site and follow up with the customer to review your service and product. Of course if they leave a 5 star review it good for you but if they leave less it tarnishes your reputation. Removing these bad reviews can be difficult if they are proven to be from a competitor or a bad player. Remember these 3rd party review services are charging you for this collection service. Then they hold onto these reviews as its actually the review companies data not the ecommerce stores data. Once you stop paying for the service the reviews disappear and so does your reputation. The more targeted the audience the better the ROI on advertising and a lower Cost Per Acquistion per customer. This is why review companies are desperate and sell hard to get site owners to sign up to their services.
There is no such thing as a free addon, many free addons have data collection services attached and do so with out your customers consent and or your knowledge. Worst case they can be stealing customers information and using it for scams and identity theft. They may even have a zero day hack in them that waits for 1 day to fire off and self distruct your website.
Selling on marketplaces opens a massive customer base but it also shows your complete business model to the market place owner. Small operators on marketplaces are little more than unpaid market researchers for larger sellers who see the trends and take over the product and flood the market before you get a chance to do so. Again the market place owns your customer information and actively discourages your customer from dealing outside the market place.
User Experience Tracking services.
There are many user experience services that involve placing a widget on your website and this rercords your customers actions around your site. Again paying to have a 3rd party harvest this information from your site and present it back to you in a fancy graph while not declaring fully where this information is being used.
Advertising on couponing sites where you provide discounted products and services to a coupon site. The coupon site sells the coupons and takes a % commisssion on the sale. They also have the customer details of your customer and they then use this information for marketing of other services who may also be your competitor.
In summary : any service that provides you with statistics on your sites sales – users is collecting this data to be used for marketing and resale.
Saas Services :
Saas eCommerce services will make it difficult for you to move away and do this by locking up your business information. The cannot stop you 100% but they can make life very difficult where you need an engineer to get the information out in a meaninful and re-usable manner. Most Saas eCommerce operators will provide services where they will link to market places and shipping companies so as to make it easier for you to sell and process orders online. This comes at a cost. Its usually the spreading of your customer data to all these services who in-turn collect and “recycle” it. Keeping track of your customer data in these setups is very difficult and would keep most compliance department very busy.
There is also the GDPR implication ( I hear you moan ) . A recent data breach a well known email marketing service not alone revealed all their customers data – but also their customers customers data. This has meant that all their clients have had to notify their customer’s of a data breach and notify and register the breach with their country’s Data Protection Office. A situation no ecommerce or compliance manager wants to contemplate.
Data is valuable and the recency of data in ecommerce is even more valuable. In ecommerce the recency and the accuracy of customer behaviour data is key. This is the real value in most ecommerce saas services – they are able to mine and provide this information at a price to those who wish to purchase it. So they are charging you for taking the data and charging others for the data !!
Sometimes the simplicity of the signup and the ease of integration can gloss over the need for some serious auditing of the service and the risk to your ecommerce business when it goes wrong.
Ironically most of these Saas Services can be self hosted albeit with a development overhead but this balanced against the potential destruction of your ecommerce business maybe a small price.
Site owners are giving away business intelligence daily and this information is eventually used against them by their competitors or suppliers.
To learn more or book an ecommerce consultation please contact us here