The e-commerce industry is booming, and it’s easy to see why. It’s convenient, it’s fast, and it’s reliable. If you’re running an online store or thinking about starting one, you should make sure that you have a solid privacy policy in place before you go live with your site. If you are wondering why you need an e-commerce privacy policy, we’ve got answers for you!

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why it’s so important for your e-commerce website to have a privacy policy, and how to create one that fits your needs perfectly.

Do e-commerce sites need a Privacy Policy?

Privacy Policies are necessary for e-commerce sites because they let you tell people what you’re doing with their data and how they can opt out of it.

As an online business owner, consumers must have trust in your site. If they don’t know how you’re using their information and what choices they have, they might not feel safe using your website or buying from you.

A Privacy Policy is a contract between you and your website visitors. It tells them what you will do with their information, and how long you will keep it, and gives them the option to opt out of the collection and use of their personal data. For example, if you are selling products on your site, a Privacy Policy will tell people how they can opt out of receiving marketing communications from you. This is especially important if you are using cookies or other tracking mechanisms on your site.

In addition to telling people what information you collect about them (and why), a good Privacy Policy will also tell people what they can do if they want to change their preferences or stop using your service altogether. In addition, it should include information about how to contact you in case customers have any concerns about how you handle their personal data.

Related reading: Privacy Policy Template Examples for GDPR and CCPA

How to create a Privacy Policy for an e-commerce website?

For a free privacy policy template for your e-commerce site,
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How to write an e-commerce privacy policy depends on the services and products you sell. However, all privacy policies should include the following information that is necessary to comply with privacy laws:

  • What type of data your store collects and why
  • How you collect and use this data
  • Who has access to data and with whom do you share it
  • If and how do you use cookies and other trackers
  • What rights and data control do customers have and how they can exercise it
  • How can customers opt out of data collection and use by your store
  • For how long do you store personal data and how do you protect them
  • How can customers contact you for questions and concerns

Let’s look into the details of all these sections:

Data collection and use

An e-commerce store may have to collect a lot of personal information from customers. Depending on the kind of business you have, this can include anything from name and address to credit card details. In addition, you may also collect personal information such as gender or age. Such information could be used for targeted marketing campaigns or other purposes such as customizing content for your customers based on their preferences.

The next thing you should address is how you collect information, who has access to it, and how you are going to use it. The more specific you are, the better. For example, if your business collects information via cookies or web beacons (which are small files that are placed on a user’s device), be sure to mention that in your policy. If you use third-party services like Google Analytics, AdSense, Hotjar, YouTube, or MailChimp, make sure they’re mentioned in your policy as well.

Asos’ privacy policy lists the what and why of their data collection practices with a neat table that is easy to understand. 

Asos ecommerce privacy policy - what and why they collect data

Almost all e-commerce stores have thor won mobile applications that allow customers to shop from their mobile devices. If you have one, you can explain what data the app collects in your privacy policy, as KFC Italia does.

KFC Italia app privacy policy

If you have social media accounts for your online store, consider mentioning them in your privacy policy. Shein, a clothing online store, links to the privacy policies of all the social networks they are on in their privacy policy.

Shein ecommerce privacy policy - social media

Data access and sharing

As an e-commerce site, you may be using many third-party services and sharing customer information with them. You’ll need to include a section that outlines how you share information with third parties. E.g., if you’re an e-commerce site that uses an order management system to process orders, you should explain that you’ll be sharing customer information with the provider of this service so they can do their job.

In other words, it’s not enough just to say that you won’t share data with anyone else—you need to specify who the exception is and why they are receiving the information.

It can also include how customers can opt out of third-party data collection and sharing.

Glossier’s privacy policy explains who may have access to customer information and also links to companies or services for additional details.

Glossier privacy policy - access to information
Glossier privacy policy - access to information - analytics

Similarly, LARQ’s privacy policy explains how and why they share customer information.

LARQ privacy policy template - how they share

Use of cookies and other trackers

This section is where you get into the details of how your website uses cookies to track users, including information gathered by the cookie and how long it remains on their device. You’ll want to make sure you have a good reason for doing this—and that your readers understand why it’s important. You can add a separate Cookie Policy page to explain cookies used on the site if you use them a lot.

Related article: Cookie Policy Template

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International data transfer

If you’re collecting and storing data about your customers outside of the country where they live, then you need to include language about international data transfer in your privacy policy. It is because many countries have laws around how companies can use and store customer data and how they must notify customers when they collect information.

eBay perhaps has one of the best-designed privacy notices. The international data transfer section explains how it handles data transfer to different eBay Inc. corporate family members and regions outside EEA.

ebay ecommerce privacy notice - data transfer

Data rights and control

Customers must have control over their data and be able to manage it accordingly. This includes the ability to exercise their rights granted by privacy laws, such as access and update their data, as well as opt out of sharing or collecting it. The privacy policy should include details of how customers can request to access, update or delete their data. It should also explain how they can opt out of data collection or sharing.

Bliss’s privacy policy lists the CCPA rights that their customers have and how to exercise them, which includes contact information.

Bliss privacy policy - CCPA rights for ecommerce users

Data of minors

In many countries, including the United States and the European Union, there are laws in place that protect the privacy of minors. To comply with these laws, you should include a section in your privacy policy that will cover information about how you collect data from minors, what kind of information it includes and how you use it. It’s also important to clarify whether you intend on sharing this data with third parties.

You should also mention if there are any exceptions to the rule. For example, if you need the permission of their parents or guardians before collecting any information from them. Also, make sure to state whether or not they can request the removal of their personal data at any time.

Data storage and security

Data storage and security are significant concerns for e-commerce sites. Since they collect sensitive information from their customers, they need to ensure that the data is not lost or stolen. Your privacy policy must explain how you store and secure your customer’s personal information. The privacy policy address questions about how your company protects itself from hacking attacks or other types of cybercrime. You should explain what security measures are in place to prevent these attacks from happening and what happens if something does happen, including whether you will notify affected users.

In addition to explaining how your company stores and protects its customers’ data, your privacy policy should also state how long customer data will be kept by your company. If applicable, include details about which countries’ laws apply in case there are conflicts between them.

Walmart’s privacy policy links to their Privacy & Online Safety Tips for explaining all the measures they have in place to protect personal information. It also explains their information retention principles.

walmart privacy policy - data storage and security

The consumer electronics store, BestBuy’s privacy policy lists the steps they have taken to protect its customers’ personal information.

BestBuy - data protection section in privacy policy

Contact information

Contact information is a must-have in any privacy policy. You should list the names and contact information of the people responsible for handling your company’s privacy practices, as well as their roles in the company.

This section will also include a link to your website’s contact page so that customers can get in touch with you if they have any questions or concerns.

Etsy’s privacy policy provides the contact information of its support team and data protection officer. In addition to that, they also added addresses to their offices and details of the Data Protection Commission under their jurisdiction.

Etsy privacy policy - contact

Overall, this article has provided you with a basic understanding of what a privacy policy is and how it can help your e-commerce store provide the most secure experience possible to your users. You’ve also learned about some of the common features that are included in a privacy policy.

There’s no doubt that a well-written and thoughtful privacy policy will keep your users informed and safe. It’s important to remember that many other factors go into making a great e-commerce site, but you should not overlook this one element.

Frequently asked questions

How do I set up a privacy policy on my website?

You can set up a privacy policy for your website in minutes, and for free using CookieYes.

All you need to do is enter some basic information about your business, like how you handle your customers’ personal information. Once you’re done with that, we’ll generate your privacy policy as text and HTML. You can paste that into your website and publish it to make the policy page live.

You can create a privacy policy for any type of e-commerce store running on any CMS, such as WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, or Wix.

Can I write my own privacy policy?

Yes, you can write your own privacy policy.

If you do decide to write your own privacy policy, we recommend that you consult with an attorney to ensure that it is well-written and legally compliant. It’s important to remember that the way you handle your website’s data collection and retention can have legal implications, so you want to make sure you’re operating in compliance with federal laws.

Do I need a privacy policy on my website?

Yes, you need a privacy policy on your website.

If you collect personal data from your visitors—like their names, email addresses, phone numbers, or any other personally identifiable information—then you should have a privacy policy.

If you collect non-personally identifiable information, you may still want to include a privacy policy though, since it can help provide transparency for your user.

Does Shopify give you a privacy policy?

You can use Shopify’s privacy policy generator, no matter whether or not you sign up for a Shopify account. It will send you a link to copy the generated privacy policy. However, you still need to add a lot of details based on how your website handles data after the policy is generated. With CookieYes, you do not have to worry about these things, as it has options for you to add all necessary details and as a result, you get a comprehensive privacy policy for your website.

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