How B2B Data Privacy Impacts Logistics


Increasingly, B2B SaaS companies rely on multiple data sources to target prospects and collect information on their customers. These online data sources provide users with detailed information about potential or existing customers, their buying journeys, and their areas of interest.


Gathering information via cookies and online tracking tools is critical to curating a data warehouse that tech companies can deploy against personalized sales and marketing strategies. However, customer and browser privacy has suffered dramatically as an insatiable appetite for tracking and targeting has online spiders following our every move. Therefore, there is an immediate and significant need for data privacy and protection rules. Let’s review the evolving landscape of how B2B data privacy impacts logistics.


Data Privacy Legislation

Recently, there has been a great deal of movement toward privacy and stemming the advance in data collection. In both the USA and Europe, regulators are scrutinizing the practices of the largest online oligopolies. Governments hear complaints from consumers and businesses about the ability of social media companies to access customer data, location, browsing activities, and more. These collection and monitoring activities apply to both B2B and B2C businesses.


In the last 20 years, we have seen a worldwide digital transformation. Every country and most of the population on earth has embraced the increase in technology, digitalization, and access to the internet. However, now that online access is ubiquitous, data privacy is finally being discussed as a topic of prime importance. As a result, local, state, country, and global entities have passed a tidal wave of legislation. GDPR passed in Europe (EU) created a paradigm shift.


The European Union (EU) was among the first government agencies to take action. Amid rising concerns about online data privacy, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018. The legislation requires users' general consent to cookies. In addition, tech companies must be specific about the information they collect from users and explicitly inform them about how the company utilizes the users’ data. The repercussions are significant for any platform that uses cookies to track user browsing activity. When combined with unique identifiers and other information gathered by online websites and social media apps, tech companies leverage Cookies to create profiles of users to identify them. The policy changes implemented by GDPR make it clear that when cookies can identify an individual via their device, it is considered personal data. In addition, users must be given the option to opt-out of cookies being used to track them to keep their information private.


Changes to Privacy Settings by Apple OS

Following this legislation and increased public pressure, Apple made significant changes to the privacy settings of its mobile operating system in 2021. These changes allow iPhone users to choose whether advertisers can track them or not. Since Apple introduced the feature, most iPhone users have opted to block tracking. However, the opt-out actions created significant implications for advertisers who rely on tracking cookies to target ads at consumers based on their browsing history. The loss of this ability to track and target Apple devices creates a costly decline in ad revenue for social media giants like Facebook.


Transparency and Trust in B2B Sales Process

Transparency is the foundation of building trust. Creating trust is a pillar of the sales process, especially with enterprise B2B SaaS products that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. B2B SaaS companies must be transparent about data privacy and their practices for collecting and sharing customer data. Salespersons need to be upfront with prospects about how and why their software or marketplace will be using their data and who else will be able to access it.


B2B SaaS companies must be very diligent in their approach to data privacy. Ideally, B2B SaaS companies should only collect data to enhance the customer experience, not to make data-driven decisions for sales and marketing.


B2B data protection is a serious topic. When a customer shares its data with a vendor, they impart a measure of trust—failing to disclose that other customers could view their data and their competitors is a severe breach of trust and a significant conflict of interest. Therefore, adherence to data privacy laws is paramount if you ever need to share customer data.


Logistics Marketplaces and Data

Data privacy doesn’t appear to be a big concern for logistics brokers. Actions speak louder than words; shippers and brokers post several hundred thousand loads to public load boards a day. The aggregation of loads on these platforms optimizes the results of the marketplace. However, this is where the privacy struggle begins. The costs of marketing and sales investment to acquire a new customer are significant. Immediately turning over your customer data to a logistics marketplace to cover a load might be expedient, but the breach of trust and data privacy certainly creates an internal conflict.


Brokers have been doing this for some time with public load boards. Interestingly, some brokers attempt to disguise loads to reduce competitive threats and prevent back-solicitation. However, others don’t make any effort, making it easy to identify the broker’s underlying client.


Several new digital freight matching platforms have cropped up over the past five years. Many of these startups are “moving” the public domain from their platform. These startups claim to use machine learning or artificial intelligence to look at carrier history, ELD info, or other data points to match freight with the best carrier. However, most of this customer data is still visible to their other clients, defeating the purpose of moving off public load boards.


When you take carrier relationships into account, devaluing the carrier relationship and treating them like a commodity comes at a cost for the entire ecosystem. One could argue that the sharing of data has contributed to a significant portion of the rising costs of transportation and helped fuel some of the volatility in the market, which we will discuss in our next series.


Logistics Marketplace Risks

If you utilize procurement tools that aggregate and anonymize data, you are at risk. As we mentioned earlier, shared and even anonymized data is easily identifiable by community stakeholders. As a result, theft, liability, service, and BTM (buy-to-market) risks escalate when you work with unproven providers in these aggregated digital procurement ecosystems. Moreover, when you import your contracted carrier capacity into an aggregated platform, you expose your developed carrier capacity to alternative sources of business from your competitors. As a result, your OPX increases, service declines, and margin erode through capacity replenishment. Worse yet, you can lose top-line revenue through client churn, which increases CAC.


FreightFriend Keeps Data Secure and Private

If you are looking for reliable carrier relationship management for your trusted network of carriers, FreightFriend is the solution. Our trusted ecosystem keeps your data private​ from other customers (your competitors). FreightFriend only shares our clients’ data with companies and carriers our clients have designated as “friends.” As a FreightFriend client, you’ll connect with carriers to share freight or create private carrier profiles just for your team. We never aggregate your data or publish it in an open environment. Our platform helps you expand your carrier relationships and automate execution to reduce OPX without impacting your bottom line.


More importantly, FreightFriend helps you engage carriers with the right freight. We automatically refine carrier preferences based on how they interact with shipments on the platform or respond to load offers sent to their inboxes.As a logistics broker, you’ll find more capacity without friction. Additionally, our recently launched Carrier Search functionality is unmatched if you look for new carrier partners. Your carrier sales reps will search from 500,000+ registered carriers on the FMCSA using the criteria that matter most (origin, destination, equipment, safety, and more). The result is a prioritized list of carriers for your load or lane.


Industry experts and operators built FreightFriend’s Carrier Procurement tool, unlike many tech companies who have no logistics experience. FrieghtFriend’s CEO, Noam Frankel, has been building carrier procurement strategies and tools since the early 1980s. We have sat in our client’s seats and understand firsthand what is essential to the operators and the business owners we serve. If data privacy concerns are top of mind for your company, contact us today and discover how FreightFriend can work for you. See why thousands of logistics companies rely on FreightFriend's CRM and digital freight matching software to make procurement their competitive advantage.