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Amazon’s recent launch of their Shopper Panel has stirred new interest in some of the platform’s most loyal customers. But is it truly worth it? Let’s find out more about this new customer compensation policy, and see how recent attempts to gold-mine consumer data are falling short of customer expectations.

Gold-Mining Consumer Data

For marketers (and those who sell data to the highest bidders), consumer data is a goldmine. This was exploited by many businesses for quite a while before public awareness grew and consumers realized the value of their data.

In response, regulations and legislations were put in place to protect consumers and their data. The EU implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018: this followed by the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in June of the same year. But even before that, Japan had already taken the lead with consumer data protection when their Personal Information Protection Act took effect in April 2005.

However, mere legislation won’t give the consumer full control over the information they share. Nor will it address the marketers’ need for more relevant data. This is due to the fact that consumers have become more wary of how companies handle their data.

For brands to rebuild the trust they lost and get the data they need, they have to be more creative. At the same time, consumers must begin to proactively manage their data and ensure they get the most out of it.

Marketers are on the move to address these issues, but most of the efforts we’re currently seeing… well, they fall a little flat. For example, take Amazon’s recent attempt at customer compensation: the Amazon Shopper Panel.

The Amazon Shopper Panel: A Failed Attempt?

Recently, Amazon launched their very own Shopper Panel.

The enterprise describes it as “an opt-in, invitation-only program where participants can earn monthly rewards by sharing receipts from purchases made outside of and by completing short surveys.”

Their new customer compensation policy works like this: customers can upload up to ten receipts of transactions they make outside the Amazon platform, and answer a few short surveys. The reward is $1 per receipt, and customers can either use these earnings to pay down their Amazon account balance, or give them to a charity of their choice. The company also promises more customer compensation and rewards the more surveys a customer completes every month.

The goal? To “help brands offer better products and make ads more relevant on Amazon.”

Now, don’t get us wrong: a customer compensation policy is always a great idea, especially when consumers share their data. However, this might not be the best approach to bring that to the market. For one, asking customers to perform multiple uploads seems inefficient and time-consuming. Consumers nowadays are so used to the notion of everything being “in an instant.” Having them sort through their receipts (if they even keep them in the first place), and upload them one by one, would make for a lousy customer experience. A common millennial reaction would be: “Ugh. Do I have to?”

Moreover, the extremely limited utility of the $10 compensation doesn’t make for a strong value proposition. Yes, consumers will be compensated, but at what cost? The time and effort it takes to accomplish the task does not correlate with the value the shopper panel offers. A real, respectful customer compensation program would make consumers feel that the brand values both their time and their data.

Brands Need to Get Creative

The Amazon Shopper Panel is a step in the right direction. The shopper panel data Amazon will gather can indeed help improve their personalization efforts. However, brands should learn from this and find more creative ways to utilize customer data properly. Companies must find true solutions that will:

  • Fulfill the need for more useful and relevant customer information, and;
  • Empower customers to share data in a compliant and transparent environment.

In the end, it’ll always be about the customer. After all, any consumer will be willing to share shopper panel data, as long as brands respect and reward them for sharing.

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