Ecommerce store owners to take care of many things. They need to work on their website’s search engine optimization, design, social media marketing, and many other things. This post will discuss an additional thing they need to be wary of GDPR compliance for eCommerce.
It has been over a couple of years since GDPR for businesses was implemented. It is a concept, or rather a policy, that’s too important to ignore. Many online store owners still have a lot to learn about GDPR for eCommerce and identify how to use it to their advantage. Today we will talk about making your eCommerce GDPR-compliant.
What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It was adopted in April 2016. GDPR for businesses sets the rules for managing the data of European residents. It took effect about 4 years ago, in May 2018.
GDPR compliance for ecommerce impacts how online store owners handle users' data, about everything from their credit card details and personal information to their internet activity. It is pretty much reshaping what it’s like to do eCommerce in Europe. It influences how brands engage with their customers online, the tools they use for marketing, and how they sell products online.
GDPR is not a technical document. Ecommerce is only discussed one time in GDPR. It is mentioned in a footnote. It is referred to as electronic commerce. It states the fundamental rights of online shoppers. According to GDPR compliance for eCommerce, the personal data of online shoppers should be processed in a way that serves mankind.
Why is GDPR for Businesses Important?
The implementation of GDPR for businesses stems from the rising amount of data collected by corporations and websites these days. This data is transferred, managed, and used in various ways in this day and age. Before GDPR for businesses was announced, Europe already had a Data Protection Directive. But that directive was enacted many years ago and had become quite outdated for this digital era. It could not be properly applied to the digital and online business operations that many companies have incorporated today.
Consequently, the GDPR compliance for ecommerce came into play. It acts as a replacement for the previous directive and is intended to continue safeguarding the data of EU citizens. Under GDPR for ecommerce, organizations are required to abide by the rules of collecting data responsibly and use it under users’ privacy rights.
By making organizations accountable for collecting and using customer data, the GDPR compliance for eCommerce gives EU individuals a better means to understand why and how their personal information is processed. It also gives them the right to choose how they want their data to be used.
If you were running an eCommerce website when the GDPR for businesses came into effect, you must have already done your part in making sure you comply with it. But if you are starting an eCommerce business now, you need to wrap your head around GDPR compliance for eCommerce. That might be a bit overwhelming.
Complying with GDPR for eCommerce is indeed a lot of work. But it is highly essential for the smooth sailing of your business. You cannot sweep under the rug until your sales pick up and your business hits off the ground. You need to get familiar with the standards and processes to avoid getting into legal complications later on.
The first year of implementing the GDPR for businesses saw about 145,000 complaints and queries. Out of these, around 90,000 notifications were about data breaches. These statistics were presented by the European Commission. Companies that fail to abide by the GDPR for businesses face heavy fines and penalties, taking up to 4% of a company’s yearly sales turnover.
Let’s look at how GDPR compliance for eCommerce affects you as an online store owner and how you can benefit from it.
What Does GDPR Compliance for Ecommerce Mean?
Before we talk about how businesses should comply with GDPR, we need to discuss what GDPR compliance entails. Let’s not get too technical here. Imagine yourself browsing through a website as a user. Every time you are asked to key in any data, be it your name, phone number, email address, or something else, ask yourself the following question.
Do I know what information they are collecting, and why?
Do they really need this information for what I need to get done on this website?
Can I request that my data be modified or deleted whenever I want?
Am I informed and aware of my data rights as a user?
If your answer to any of the above questions is ‘No’, the website you are browsing is probably not taking care of its GDPR compliance for eCommerce. If you are the website owner, and your site visitors can answer ‘Yes’ to all these questions, then it means you are complying with the GDPR for eCommerce.
If you are just about to launch your eCommerce store, it is time to spruce up your knowledge and efforts to make sure you become compliant to GDPR for ecommerce.
What Should Online Store Owners Do to Ensuring GDPR Compliance for Ecommerce?
The GDPR for businesses document is 88 pages and over 50,000 words long. It is lengthy and as boring as a long queue at a post office. No kidding! So if you do not feel like reading the whole document, you’ll be forgiven for that.
But the rules that are laid out in the document apply to all online and offline (physical) stores. If you sell to consumers in Europe, you will have to abide by these rules and regulations. Therefore, you need to know about GDPR compliance of ecommerce from somewhere.
The 7 Principles of the GDPR for Ecommerce
Here are the seven principles that guide the implementation, regulation, and punishment of GDPR compliance for eCommerce.
This principle states that any data you collect from users should be used visibly and transparently. You must use the data only for the purposes you claim to collect it for, and users should see that.
2. Purpose Limitation
The way you process data should be specified, legitimate and explicit. This means you are prohibited from using the data beyond the specified purpose. For instance, if users provide their email addresses to receive monthly newsletters, you must not use the email list for other purposes.
3. Data Minimization
According to this principle, all data collected must be kept at its minimum. Only ask for necessary information. If you ask for more data than is actually needed, you will be violating GDPR compliance for eCommerce.
5. Storage Limitation
This refers to the principle that you must delete any data that you no longer need to use for the purpose it was collected.
6. Integrity and Confidentiality
For proper GDPR compliance for eCommerce, you need to have adequate website security measures in place to prevent data loss and data theft.
This principle is the EU government’s method to ensure you have GDPR compliance for eCommerce. It states that you must demonstrate the steps you take to be compliant.
How Do You Achieve GDPR Compliance for Ecommerce on a Strikingly Website?
Image taken from Strikingly
To make your Strikingly website GDPR compliant, you must take the following steps.
Do not assume what your users want. Always ask for their consent before collecting data from them.
Collect only the data that you need. If you are not going to use a particular piece of information, do not ask for it.
Make everything clear to your website visitors. Users love transparency. For example, always give an option to unsubscribe to your newsletter recipients.
Don’t get involved in sneaky stuff. If you implement the best practices for GDPR compliance for eCommerce, you will not face any massive fines that come with policy infringement.
Continue selling in Europe. Europe is a good place to sell. In fact, the EU is obsessed with building a more robust digital economy. GDPR regulators understand that some data collection and storage are vital for keeping the digital environment running.