July 04, 2018
Why GDPR is not the end game for fuel retailers
By: Nicola James

Many fuel retailers agree that data is the “new oil.” Whether finding out more about customers, suppliers or employees, data offers the means to introduce more personalized products and services that enhance loyalty and improve competitiveness. But, while developments like connected cars can help fuel retailers build and improve their businesses, increasing data volume is also challenging. Post-General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there is no room for complacency. To effectively run their partner ecosystems and take advantage of data-driven opportunities, fuel retailers need to take a firm stance on their data landscapes and data processes to avoid losing customers’ trust.

Being compliant

Although a landmark, GDPR is just one stage in the data-privacy journey. Good data privacy practices must be sustainable to continue to generate data-driven opportunities. For instance, companies need to maintain an up-to-date data processing register, providing ongoing services to customers to fulfil obligations such as ‘right to erasure.’ They must also maintain processes such as privacy impact assessments and contractual mechanisms to ensure the appropriate contracts have data processing agreements, where necessary. These activities take time and money; it is difficult to assess but, as a rough guide, a large company may have to spend in the region of US$1.3 million (£1 million GBP) annually.1

Here are three ways fuel retailers can sustain data privacy while enabling data opportunities:

  • Partner to progress and maintain optimum performance: Fuel retailers can look to reduce costs with as-a-service offerings, which help to reduce operational costs, optimize operational processes and customer satisfaction and support companies in maintaining their ‘license to operate.’ They can make use of near or offshore support centers to support the areas which need to be sustained under GDPR.

  • Adapt and run with the regulations: With ePrivacy regulations expected to come into play in 2019/2020, fuel retailers need to be ready to adapt and update processes to prevent disruption to their online advertising, direct marketing and digital services. Many non-EU countries are updating their data privacy regulations in line with GDPR to enable the smooth transfer to and processing of data in these countries. Fuel retailers, particularly the international oil companies with global reach, need to stay abreast of these local updates and meet the nuances of each as necessary.

  • Be proactive and lead with innovation: As the pace of innovation quickens, fuel retailers can take advantage of increasingly diverse and progressive opportunities by using more agile delivery approaches. Fuel retailers need to consider how they can adapt their data privacy processes to match and address upcoming developments. For example, some digital organizations are taking the lead in managing privacy, including understanding concerns regarding privacy and taking steps to prepare for upcoming opportunities and innovations from a privacy perspective.

Customers want to know their data is secure, that fuel retailers’ practices are transparent and that their data is being processed how they wish. If they are unable to provide this reassurance, fuel retailers put themselves at risk. Eight out of 10 of consumers globally say trust is a key driver of brand loyalty; 45 percent of consumers globally switched providers in the last year because they lost trust in a company.2 In a ubiquitous market such as fuel retail, maintaining digital trust and customer loyalty is paramount to continued success.

1 Based on Accenture analysis.
2 A new slide of PII, with a side of digital trust. Accenture, 2017

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