It appears then that, across the pond at least, customers are aware of the implications of disclosing personal data and are prepared to "vote with their feet" (or their computer mouse) if they do not agree with the way in which a company processes the information it collects about its customers. Whilst everyone appears to becoming ever-more reliant on the internet, and even the older generation are becoming increasing computer-literate (yes, my Grandfather does have his own Facebook profile), this does not mean that the general public are becoming any less discerning. As competition increases, so does the need to provide "the complete package", including peace of mind when it comes to data security.
If you already have a policy, take the time to really look through it and make sure it reflects your business practices, and whether your business practices in fact need to be reviewed. Consider not only the extent of the data you are collecting (and whether a customer has to put a week aside just to set up an account on your website) but the type of information you are collecting. If you were the customer, would you be happy to provide such information? The Forrester report shows that consumers are prepared to share their data in exchange for value, but they need to understand why you want to know their dress size / star sign / Aunt’s favourite type of biscuit when purchasing a book.
The Forrester report also suggests that individuals are more hesitant to disclose their identity data (which, for example, includes contact and payment details) than their behavioural data (such as how that individual came to know about an organisation or how often it purchases certain items). So bear this in mind when deciding what information to collect.
Also consider providing a variety of different options when it comes to allowing consumers to "opt out" of receiving further communications if you are collecting personal data. Some may want to receive a monthly newsletter by email for example but do not want to be contacted by phone. If you only have an "all of nothing" option, people are more likely to go with the "nothing" option, and leave the website.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.