Mobile is not only the consumer trend of the moment; mobile data capture is also a strategy that supports GDPR compliance for small businesses. Here are just a few ideas how.

According to media measurement company comScore, for US consumers, the “smartphone is now the dominant platform” for online minutes, and use of mobile apps account for over 80 per cent of time spent.

Meanwhile, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG), mobile usage has a significant role in B2B buying. In particular, use of mobile plays a big role in early research stages, and in formulating intent to buy.

So, mobiles are being used more across the globe. And businesses are using them increasingly for mobile data capture. But what does this mean when it comes to GDPR compliance for small businesses?

Mobile data capture and GDPR compliance: What you need to know

1. Personalisation still pays

In the wake of the GDPR, it can be tempting to pare back your generic data collection out of caution. But personalisation pays dividends. Sure, only 7 per cent of people report being impressed by that emailed birthday greeting. However, research by Deloitte says 22 per cent of consumers are happy to share some data in return for a personalised product or service. That’s more than a three-fold increase.

Don’t be shy about personalising mobile apps. According to a multi-territory study of marketers by Evergage, 31 per cent of businesses do. Meanwhile, says BCG, today’s B2B buyer expects to be able to use digital resources – including mobile phones – to access information easily and independently. And they want the same experience across all channels, including personalised product and service recommendations.

It’s a trade-off, of course. Generally people aren’t keen when they find companies have information that they haven’t provided – or that they aren’t aware they have provided. That’s why transparency and clarity are key to getting personalisation right. It’s also integral to GDPR compliance and robust data protection principles.

2. Data protection by design

For example, thanks to the GDPR, data protection by design is now a legal requirement. User privacy must be at the core of the app development process. Think clearly about what data you collect, what you need, and what you intend to use it for. And don’t collect extra data that doesn’t truly inform your offer – it will only mean more data to monitor.

Once you’ve identified what you need, set out a clear plan for incentivising people to share their data with you. Ask yourself why someone would give you their data and provide for that need – such as newsletters. Competitions and giveaways are also a great way to do this, as Boundless discovered during its rebranding campaign.

Remember, too, that security will need to be built in to the whole data processing process. See point six for a bit more about this.

3. Marketing permissions are critical

Under the GDPR, many companies rely on ‘legitimate interest’ as a lawful basis to process data and marketing permissions are critical in this context. Your terms and conditions must be accessible on any device, easy to read and to understand. Be upfront also about what tracking will be done on customer interaction with your app, for example through Google Analytics.

While legitimate interest can sometimes be a confusing concept, with Gather's mobile data capture app, consent is seamless. It lets you create customised, GDPR-compliant permission statements including positive customer opt-ins. You can track consent back to the smartphone on which the customer data was obtained, and attach PDF capture forms so you have a physical record of consent. In other words, you can collect, protect, and guarantee customer data is safe to use.

4. Mobile data capture is perfect for face-to-face

In-person data collection methods are integral to a post-GDPR data capture strategy. There are, of course, many ways for your business to grow your customer database. You can offer a free newsletter or conduct online surveys.

Yet, often the best way to capture accurate data that translates into lasting customer relationships is face to face with prospects and customers. Indeed, 80 per cent of marketers believe that live events are critical to the success of their company.

To make the most of these interactions, the right mobile technology can be crucial in gathering information accurately and quickly. A business card scanner, for example, will transfer GDPR-compliant data directly to your CRM system instantly. Staff can also access existing customer consent, amend on the spot and look up any previously gathered information.

5. Focus on data quality

One of the key data protection principles of the GDPR is that businesses should ensure the data they hold is correct and up to date. This means having clean data.

For this, the tools you use to collect information from customers can make all the difference. For example, Gather's data capture app has data validation tools built-in. These will ensure that only accurate email, address and telephone details are provided to your CRM.

6. Store and share data securely

Importantly, the GDPR requires data to be shared and stored securely. You’ll also need to be able to quickly access that data if it is required following a user request. Thanks to the GDPR’s right to access and right to be forgotten, you’ll need to act quickly on subject-access requests. The deadline is between one to three months, depending how complex the request is.

As a result, companies will need to make sure any interaction between a mobile app and its users is protected, secure and encrypted to an enterprise standard. You’ll also need to protect any data in transit, over all internet connection types, and between hubs for processing or analysis.

Gather’s data capture app integrates with existing technology and transmits customer information in an encrypted state to back-office and CRM systems – from device to cloud.

See how Gather’s data capture app works in the video below.

Looking to make the most of mobile data capture? Turn any Android or Apple-based phone into a GDPR-compliant data collection app with Gather’s data capture solutions.

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