May 27,

The Rise of Online Shopping: What About the Rise of Privacy Issues?

When cities, municipalities and states declared quarantine, only the grocery shops were left open. Luckily today, we can find almost everything online! As a consequence, lockdown pushed much more people towards online shopping, resulting in e-commerce in full swing all around the globe. However, the rapid digitalisation of services is raising many questions connected with internet privacy and security of customers who leave more information about themselves online day after day.

Online shopping records unprecedented growth. What will become the “new ordinary”?

According to CCinsight March and April of 2020 have been one the most impressive months for e-commerce so far, with the growth of year-over-year e-commerce hitting at the 70-100% rate. Previously, this kind of increase occurred only during the holiday season.

Stay-at-home orders caused a massive increase in online shopping activities, but now we are slowly returning back to normal. What will that mean for our shopping habits? According to Forbes, it is very likely that online grocery, apparel, and entertainment shopping will replace store and mall visits permanently, or at least until a vaccine is available. The curve of e-commerce activities will probably flatten during the time when the pandemic will be revoked and certain measures won’t be in place anymore, but the new habits are probably here to stay, especially because more and more brands now heavily prioritize e-commerce.

Do consumers care about their data online?

In general, consumers care about their privacy online, however only seldom are informed about data management, and there are even fewer who take actions to protect their data. For example, 2019 Tealium Consumer Data Privacy Report surveyed 1,000 consumers in the USA about their relationships with brands and personal data privacy. They discovered that almost all (97%) consumers are somewhat or very concerned about protecting their data. Still, most consumers (62%) generally don’t read online terms or privacy policies, and nearly 70% of respondents had not heard of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). 

Similar data also apply to the European Union, where GDPR was enacted on the 25th of May 2018. Various surveys conducted in 2019 show that 67% of Europeans have heard of the GDPR, and 57% of Europeans know that there is a public authority in their country responsible for protecting their rights about personal data. Good news is that individuals are lately increasingly contacting data protection authorities about GDPR and lodge complaints about the respect of their rights. Despite the better awareness, the total number of queries and complaints from all data protection authorities remains rather small, comprising 144,376 cases from May 2018 through 2019 altogether.

All in all, the situation in the USA and the European Union is not that different as even though people are aware that their data privacy is essential, they don’t do much to preserve it in practice. This fact has probably not changed during the occurrence of covid19, however, it will be interesting to monitor the newest data for 2020.

Is e-commerce secure and what can be done to improve it?

If we take into the consideration that databases are vulnerable and often attacked by hackers,  the consumers should be proactive in demanding the protection of their data and privacy. One of the possible solutions to achieve that is certainly through a secure digital identity. 

For that, we at Netis, have developed Self-Sovereign Identity backed with blockchain technology, that ensures the following:

AceId is a secure authentication protocol that combines the following concepts: self-sovereign identity (SSI), data access management controlled and recorded via blockchain, end-to-end encryption and verification. These elements guarantee each user has complete control over who they share their data with, and for how long.

Since the blockchain is generally public, anyone can get information about the existence of the link. However, it is impossible to see what kind of data is stored on a given address. The data can be seen and read-only with a user’s private key used for their decryption.

Users’ data is stored locally on one’s device, and remotely on the AceSpace storage, where all the content is encrypted, making sure no one can read or change them.

How can e-commerce handle customers’ data in a secure, private and user-friendly manner?

As many businesses, online stores are also aware of the importance of the data they receive from customers, so the idea of allowing users to own and share personal data themselves is rather new to them. But, as we have written and pointed out many times before, it is precisely putting customers first that will play a key role in the near future. It is true that with secure digital identity the process of retrieving user data changes, but at the same time it enables businesses to build credibility and trust by promoting secure online practices. That way, you will also easily get additional data that can help you with segmentation, as customers will trust you more and will know for sure that their data is secure, anonymized and encrypted. What is more, you will be able to easily reward their loyalty with discounts, prizes or other benefits, without invading privacy. This is one excellent example of how the use of blockchain SSI initiates the development of different business models that will upgrade your service and attract more potential customers.

How does it work?

User onboarding is simple; first-time users need only to input their information into the application. After that, the process of filling the form is no longer required and that saves time and effort. When the user wants to log in to an online store, he or she simply scans a QR code which displays on the website. After the scanning, the user decides which piece of information one wants to share with a particular service.  After that, the user confirms the choice by pressing “Authorise” and with that action logs to a specific online shop or any other service. Using AceID certainly gives your business numerous benefits and can make users’ online shopping experience safer, fairer and simpler. Give it a try and contact us at [email protected] for more.