Privacy Policy

At minimum, your Privacy Policy should disclose:

  1. What information you collect directly and indirectly through your ecommerce store
  2. What information you might collect in the future
  3. The methods you use to collect, manage and share customer data
  4. Possible ways you might use customer data in the future
  5. How third parties such as Google Analytics, AdSense and others might be collecting and managing information from your customers

Your Privacy Policy should itemize a comprehensive list of data your site collects from customers, erring on the side of providing more information, not less.

A good Privacy Policy should inform your online shoppers that they might be making their personally identifiable information available to you directly or indirectly, and it should explain the difference.

For example:

  • Information customers give you directly, such as their name, address, email, phone and payment information
  • Information you collect indirectly while they browse your store, such as with cookies, beacons and third party technologies

The United States and most governments worldwide require ecommerce websites and certain mobile apps to clearly display a comprehensive Privacy Policy. The sensitive nature of personal information collected to manage an ecommerce site warrants particular attention to this issue.

In the US, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) published a guide to privacy laws in all 50 states and the US territories.

The guide explains state laws on privacy, customer browsing information, personal information collected and managed by ecommerce and other platforms, online marketing to minors, and privacy issues which might apply to online purchases and other online activities.

Additionally, the state of California has the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 (CalOPPA) affects ecommerce business owners that collect personally identifiable information about Californians.

CalOPPA requires websites, including ecommerce stores, to post a Privacy Policy in a conspicuous location on the website, and to structure the policy in such a way that the typical customer can understand it.

If your ecommerce store is located in or attracts visitors from California, you need to structure your Privacy Policy in order to adhere to the following recommendations issued by the state Attorney General:

As you can see, the requirements center around transparency, disclosure and making it easy for your customers to be aware of your practices and their rights when it comes to privacy.

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