You’ve probably heard of shoppers losing a lot of money to identity theft, especially after shopping online. Whenever you buy something from an eCommerce website, do you ever stop to wonder whether they keep your personal information securely?
1. Know the industry standards
Beyond your industry, ensure any third-party service providers linked to your website (e.g. payment provider) are fully compliant with necessary regulations in their industries.
Once you are familiar with industry standards, you can start auditing or inspecting your website to see if it is compliant with the guidelines.
Many eCommerce store owners do not build their websites. Most of them are also not involved in the day-to-day technical aspects of an eCommerce website.
If that’s the case for you, you’ll need to sit down with your developers or IT department for a chat on your site’s data practices. Find out what data is collected, where it is stored, how long it is stored, who it is shared with, why it is shared, etc.
2. Decide who will be responsible
The best way to ensure your eCommerce store is compliant with data privacy regulations at all times is by assigning the task to an expert. You could do this by hiring an in-house lawyer.
However, privacy regulations can be very complex. And if your business operates across multiple jurisdictions, following all regulations can become even more difficult. For example, if you sell products in California, you’ll need to follow the California Consumer Protection Act.
Moreover, some laws get updated regularly.
It might be a good idea to outsource these services to firms that specialize in data privacy policies with all this in mind. That doesn’t just take the taxing work off your shoulders, but it should also give you some peace of mind knowing a team of experts is handling the legal stuff for you.
3. Include the company and contact information
Including your contact details in the policy makes your business look even more transparent. It allows customers to reach you with ease any time they have privacy concerns.
In addition to telling your customers what data is collected, disclose how it is stored, for how long it is stored, and under what circumstances the data is shared.
For example, if a customer has to create an account when making a purchase, you’ll request personal information like name, email address, telephone number, and shipping address.
Data retention periods vary across geographies and industries. The GDPR, for example, doesn’t have a set data retention period but allows companies to set their guidelines as long as the reasons are justified and documented. Some businesses keep customer data for as long as the customers are still using their products/services, while others store customer data indefinitely by anonymizing it.
Your privacy statement should also have a dedicated section on data sharing. For example, if you use third-party marketing tools like GetResponse, tell your customers what data is shared and why.
While writing this policy, be sure to use easy-to-understand language. Don’t fill your policy with legal jargon that your customers cannot understand. Use simple words and utilize a grammar checker to ensure your policy is written professionally.
The GDPR also requires businesses to give users some control over their data. For example, users may have the right to update or delete their personal data from a given vendor.
5. Modify and update regularly
Privacy policies tend to change a lot. The laws that apply to your business could also change when you introduce new policies.
To ensure your policy is always fool-proof, modify and update it regularly. You could revise the policy once per year or every time you implement a dramatic change in your business model.