All that buzz about GDPR. Wondering what it’s about? Let’s start with the basics.
E-commerce is great. It helps you take your business across borders and connects you to various players in the field with just a click. It’s easier to sell your products to a number of people in multiple countries through just one website.
But are things really so simple? Not exactly. Come 2018 and EU came up with a new regulation called GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
GDPR, in simple terms, is the new data privacy law started by the European Union. It’s too important to ignore. It’s 88 pages and more than 50 thousand words long and so, here’s your crux to everything it is about and the changes you will need to make on your eCommerce website. It will take effect from May 2018. Every CMS website, e-commerce portal will have to comply.
The regulation will create new rules for how the personal data related to European residents needs to be handled. It will reinvent the way e-commerce is done in Europe. It’s more like a digital playbook. Wondering why it affects you if you are not in Europe? Well, no matter where you are in the world, GDPR applies to anyone who is offering any kind of services in Europe.
Why is Europe such a big deal when it comes to e-commerce? Well, Europe accounts for 25% of the world’s e-commerce market.
And it’s not just the big markets; GDPR will affect all kinds of businesses. But it’s important to know how it’s different for different companies.
Here’s what you should know about GDPR
Consent is Priority
Being GDPR compliant means an eCommerce website design agency cannot “assume” what your consumers exactly want. For instance, GDPR says, “Silence, pre-ticked boxes should not constitute consent.”
Limited Data Access
The basic idea of GDPR is to protect people’s data. So how do you do it? If you are complying by is, you can limit your exposure to these rules by not collecting unnecessary data that has no business value. If you are not likely to have any current use for the information, don’t take it. For instance, if a store owner is asking for a phone number at check out, he needs to ask himself, “What will I do with the phone number?”
Make it Clear
When you put it out there, it’s simpler.
Reshaping How You Sell In Europe
If your store exists in Europe, you will have to comply with GDPR. IT covers all interactions with customers in Europe. It is linked to everything from Shopify to Google and even Facebook.
What is changing with GDPR?
The way retailers and e-commerce merchants look at gaining consent will be the most affected. Now, you can’t simply ask them to comply with everything by clicking an “Accept” button. With GDPR, you will have to explain why and how you are using the data provided by the users for various reasons. This will also change the way you use “Cookies”.
Basically, it’s time to streamline your data, provide a more focused service and not ask for info that is of no use to you.
This is how it will work
There are certain rules laid out by GDPR platform that says, here are some basic rules for any touch point where you are asking for any kind of data from your customers:
> Different Data for Different needs. You cannot ask for date of birth of a person when you are asking for address if it’s not relevant.
> No pre-ticked boxes or places where people need to deselect. Informed consent is required for data of all kinds.
> Consent is required for each piece of information used. If you are asking the customer to provide with an email address and the home address too, you need to get consent for all the purposes you will be using the data for.
> Another important point is, your customers should be aware of what they are relying on. They need to know about everyone or all levels of usage of their data. Who will be using it, who will be relying on it, or benefitting from the data? All these points need clarity.
> The companies are required to keep records of the consented data and mention with clarity about the date and time and how the consent was given. This could seem excessive but is required to make your business function better.
Securing Your Website Under GDPR
Your woocommerce experts must have told you how Google’s Webmaster Guidelines require e-commerce websites to have full HTTPS coverage. This should be throughout the website and not just on specific pages. GDPR is now taking care of this. Your website will require an SSL certificate and needless to say, the database should be encrypted.
How To Prepare For GDPR
Get Your IT and Marketing Departments Ready
Use customized IT solutions so that you are on the right side of GDPR. You will soon need to implement new strategies and monitor consumer behavior with a new set of rules. So, if your IT department is ready, so are you! Look for someone with technical skills for e-commerce.
Data Protection Officer Can Help
You can hire a DPO to take care of all the liability that is assigned to controllers and data processors. When you have a special officer dedicated only to protect your company’s investments, you can relax. No section of GDPR should go unnoticed. And your consumers deserve privacy. This is all GDPR is asking you to do—protect their information.
Data protectors can monitor and track behavior and will ensure they are done under the new law. The first point of contact for your customers will be the supervisory authorities which process the data. If you have a DPO handling all of that, you’ll comply with GDPR without hassles.
Create a Process for Data Transparency
The GDPR guidelines are all about keeping it straight and clean. This is why you need someone to help you create a data transparency set up. Start working on how you plan to handle personal data requests. Create a simple process on your eCommerce website which gets you the customer data quickly and asks them only for stuff you need. This will make your job easy.
Document Your Data Activity
Because you need to tell customers what is exactly happening with their data, you need to document it properly. This includes all the information from where their information is being used, where the data is stored and who is viewing it. The customer now has the right to know every single step of their data use.
Redo those client contracts
So all those client contracts might go through some changes. The experts throw light on how client contracts will have to change from just online click-troughs. The commitments that you make and how you view and assess data will change and will have to be revised. Your client contracts will have to go through a different process for reporting, understand why and where the information of customers is being kept and processed.
You need to understand and identify the vendors you are working with and how you want to manage the data flows. These things will significantly impact businesses. When personal data is exported outside the company, you will need to ensure it is in compliance with the guidelines of GDPR. The information security is key and how you put this in the contract will have an impact on your business.
Think Before Sending Those Emails
Sure, it was a great way of reaching out to your people. But the unwanted emails are not exactly a hit with customers. You cannot be sending them just like that anymore. The personal data cannot be used for any kind of marketing without prior consent.
GDPR has tightened the noose on that.
When it comes to seeking consent, it has to be given specifically and in an informed way. Say goodbye to those long terms and conditions. It’s all about making information precise and simple.
This is the time to ensure that all points of contact, whether it’s tagging, tracking, cookie drops are clearly laid out. You will now have to answer why the information is being collected, how it is collected, who will you be sharing it with, how will it be affecting the concerned individuals, who are collecting this information, etc. These points need to be clearly mentioned in your policy updates.
As against a pop up asking the user to exchange information to get some brownie points or an account set up, things will change now. You will have to state clearly how your data will affect the user and how you will be implementing it. It is time to make these changes already to ensure that you are complying with GDPR
Avoid the last minute rush and get these private policy changes made before it comes into effect.
Redesign Consent Forms
It is time to do away with all those pre-checked boxes. Deactivate the opt-ins and ensure that you give your consumers explicit consent. When you are collecting their data, give them the power or authority to withdraw it at any time. You cannot use their information without their consent.
Legal Grounds For Processing
For every data that you process, your company will need to identify a legal basis. The most important change introduced by the GDPR is about individual consent. This is why you need strict standards will and valid consent from consumers. And these will not be easy to get. You need stronger mechanisms to seek consent with the help of a legal professional.
When you are looking at personal data like data that is used for other purposes than filling an order or for deliveries, or processing a payment, the company will need to get another legal purpose to do so. There is a legitimate interest required to process a request like that. This is why you need legal help.
This is another significant change that GDPR is bringing with it. It cannot retain personal data longer than necessary. You can delete personal data once the contract ends. However, if your website wants to retain certain data on other grounds, a legal assistance and framework are required for the same. You can check the laws that permit your company to do so.
Review is Essential
Your information is not just restricted to collecting data, you also hold the responsibility of keeping it safe. So, before GDPR kicks in, check why you have asked for data and what you are using it for.
Overall Effect of GDPR
The bottom line is, companies are need to clearly communicate the reasons for collecting personal information and data, the purpose of its use, who is going to view it, etc to the individuals. This is to say, GDPR is here to make data safer.
Does it come easy? Of course not! Brace yourself for some teething issues and adaptation problems. The fines are huge if companies refuse to comply willingly.
Companies will need time to become fully compliant. Marketers will definitely have a hard time to establish contact with their potential database. But once this is done, it will remove the bloat from all your marketing efforts.
GDPR seeks to make e-commerce more streamlined and less frivolous. If you are careful about contacting the right audience for the right reasons, you are more likely to get the audience meant for your business.
Preparing for GDPR can be difficult and confusing for you, but looks like it is here to stay. Contact our magento website developers to make required changes on your website