Who Are Your Customers?

I Love Data HipsterOne of the most important questions in business has always been: “Who are your customers?” Thousands of years ago, that was pretty easy. You did business with them all personally. That has changed with time. As companies got larger and larger, they started to employ more and more people and the relationships became weaker. With time, companies spanned countries and then continents, making this question even more difficult to answer.

Nowadays, companies often do business with customers online. Sometimes customers pay with a credit card and provide some real customer information, allowing companies to get an accurate picture of them. Other times, they pay through services like PayPal and if the purchase doesn’t require an address in order for the customer to obtain the product, then the company might receive very little information  beyond an email address. That is especially true of customers that turn off cookies on their browsers and use adblockers. Those actions limit the information that companies can collect on them.

Today, I happened across a company called Rapleaf, which purports to have information on 80% of the email addresses in the United States.  I’m not sure how truthful that number is or how useful the information they have collected is, but that does provide another way to gain information on your customers, even if you only have their email addresses. Of course, for you to do something like that, you might need to disclose that in your privacy policy and terms of service. At least, I would. For actual legal advice, please consult your attorney.

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