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How to Create a Privacy Policy for Your Online Store

How to Create a Privacy Policy for Your Online Store

Curious how to create a privacy policy for your e-commerce store to make it more professional and get more sales, read this article

E-commerce now is not a new thing for most of us. Starting an e-commerce business is profitable. And if you sell products or services online, your online store must include an easy-to-find and understandable privacy policy.

So what is a privacy policy? A Privacy Policy is mandatory for any website, mobile app, or social media account collecting their user's data. It’s a legal requirement in many countries. And now, with the development of e-commerce businesses, many online store owners have started to create Privacy Policies to generate sales for their stores.

And your privacy policy must be written specifically for the rules and regulations in force in the customer's region, whether or not you or your business or commercial store is located in those jurisdictions.

In this article, let’s understand what a privacy policy is and the legal provisions that govern a Privacy Policy first. Then, we will discuss how to create a Privacy Policy for your online store and what privacy policy clauses you need. 

What is Privacy Policy

The privacy policy is a document describing in detail how a company handles the information gathered from any customer/client or employee and uses that data in their operations.

In your Privacy Policy, you reveal to your users what kind of personal information you collect, the method of collecting it, how you are going to use it, and whether that information will be shared with any other entity, third party, or marketing agency.

Usually, the“Privacy Policy” text button which is linked to the Privacy Policy page will appear in the website footer.

Why You Need a Privacy Policy for Your Online Store

Online stores must have a privacy policy because by the nature of their operations, they collect a variety of legally protected personal information, including mailing addresses and financial/payment information.

In the United States, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has published a guide to privacy laws for all 50 states and U.S. territories.

The guidance explains state laws regarding privacy, customer browsing information, personal information collected and managed by e-commerce and other platforms, online marketing to minors, and privacy issues that may apply to online purchases and activities.

Additionally, California's 2003 California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) affects e-commerce business owners collecting personally identifiable information from Californians.

CalOPPA requires websites, including online stores, to post a privacy policy in a prominent place on the website and structure the policy in a way that typical customers can understand.

As the above example shows, these requirements revolve around transparency, disclosure, and making it easy for your customers to understand your practices and their rights regarding privacy.

Laws Govern Privacy Policy

The sole purpose of a Privacy Policy is to protect consumers from anyone misusing their personal information. It is the government’s responsibility to protect against any mishaps happening to any individual by using his/her personal information like contact details, financial details, photographs, and other crucial information.

Your online store may not be limited to selling products only in your native country. When you plan to sell your products to customers outside of your native region, you should study those country-specific laws before drafting your Privacy Policy.

These laws include CalOPPA in the USA,  Europe’s GDPR, AND Canada’s PIPEDA.

How to plan a Privacy Policy?

Everything starts with planning, and so goes before drafting a Privacy Policy. Planning what content needs to go into your Privacy Policy is crucial.

It’s imperative to carefully plan and consider your policy content and ensure nothing is missed out. Beforehand planning of content will ease the writing of the Privacy Policy.

Consider the below-mentioned points while planning your Privacy Policy.

  1. To keep writing your Privacy Policy more simply, request less data from the user that you plan to store and handle.
  2. Avoid gathering redundant information that is not needed. E.g. don’t ask for residential and age details when you are delivering a digital product by simply emailing them.

  1. Your Privacy Policy is to declare detailed information to your users. Therefore, a complete understanding of what you will do with the data you collect from your users needs to be mentioned in your policy.
  2. Avoid technical or complex legal terminologies in your Privacy Policy. Use simple language that most users can comprehend. It should also be easy to find and format, to make it user-friendly.

What’s more, if you think finishing the whole process manually is time-consuming and hard, you can use Privacy Policy Generators, which helps you streamline your Privacy Policy creation with these specifications.

Privacy Policy Clauses

Let’s understand some principal clauses that you can add to your Privacy Policy.

Collection of Information

It’s binding to disclose how and what personal data you will collect from your site or app. You can club information on these as one clause or draft two separate clauses for the same.

types of data collected

Users will find it easy if you present the Privacy Policy clauses in the form of a list, which won’t put a reading burden on the users.

The list format will also help you to check in detail and avoid the omission of any crucial information.

Information usage

The primary concern of your users is how you are going to use the personal information you collect. Elaborate in simple language why and how you require them to share their information with you and how you are going to use the same.

how we use the information we collect

In addition, users also want to know if they will benefit from the data they share with you, which needs to be mentioned in this section. It may also include the data you collect from your website’s KPI to keep a tab on purchasing practices and consumer satisfaction.

Third-Party Declaration

Due to the cybercrime risks, online savvy users are worried about the information that they share with third-party entities. If you are into sharing your users' data with any other entity, you must include that in your Policy, with a fair explanation of why and under what occasions you are sharing.

Protection of Information

Reconfirms the security of the information you gather from your users. You may not be able to specifically explain the process of securing data, but you can clarify the steps you take to keep users’ data safe and secure.

SSL certification on a website suffices to gain trust in customers to transact with your website. You may also have to include a disclaimer stating that any system does not guarantee 100% security. 

User Rights

If your Privacy Policy complies with GDPR, you must include a section covering user rights, which includes an explanation of the user's rights, such as modifying or deleting their data, reviewing their information, etc. 

Users should be aware that they can safeguard their personal information and remove it whenever they wish to.

If your website uses cookies and targets, customers or companies are based in Europe, you must include a separate Cookie Policy. Else, you can add a Cookies Clause in your Privacy Policy to let your customers know how you use cookies.

You also need to offer customers to accept cookies fully, partially, or reject them.

Notify Changes

You must inform your users about the changes whenever you modify your Privacy Policy. The transparent and open gesture will improve your brand with the users. Moreover, you get to modify your Privacy Policy whenever required. 

It helps you to change the methodology of how you collect and store data shared by your user.

Contact Information

Commonly, a typical Privacy Policy has a Contact Information clause at the end, allowing users to contact you for any doubts or concerns about the data they share. It helps to enhance your brand image as an honest and transparent organization, ready to discuss the use of its data and how it will be protected.

contact for privacy policy concern

Contact information must be shared using multiple channels, such as email, telephone, mailing addresses, or online contact forms. Many big companies have dedicated personnel assigned to handle personal data issues.

Protip: You can generate a Privacy Policy draft with the help of some websites. You can go through the draft thoroughly, and if you are satisfied with the content and it suits your requirement, you will get a ready-made draft generated in minutes.

Conclusion

Privacy Policy is essential for any online business that collects users' details, such as contact information (email, phone/mobile numbers), address, financial data, etc. The user may hesitate to transact with your website/app if you can’t provide him with a reliable Privacy Policy.

A Privacy Policy ensures the user about his data is not being used for any other purpose. Various clauses are made to ensure how the data is collected, for what reason, and how it is stored in a safe and secure environment.

Anyway, creating a privacy policy that is easy to understand is crucial for your e-commerce stores. After reading our article, we hope you can create one successful privacy policy for your e-commerce store.

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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