In the digital age, privacy is a growing concern for consumers as they share more personal data online. For ecommerce businesses, having clear and ethical privacy practices displayed in your privacy policy is key to building customer trust and brand loyalty.

When customers make purchases online and create accounts, they provide companies with sensitive information like names, contact details, payment info and browsing behavior. They need assurances that data will be handled carefully and not misused.

This article will explain the role privacy policies play, key areas to address, and tips for crafting a policy that protects your customers and fosters trust.

What Personal Data Do You Collect and Why?

The first section of your privacy policy should detail the specific types of customer and visitor data your ecommerce business may gather. Common data types include:

  • Contact information – Such as name, mailing address, email, phone number. Needed for setting up accounts, processing orders and communicating with customers.
  • Payment details – Credit card numbers, CVV codes and billing information needed to complete purchases.
  • Purchase history – Records of all purchases and shopping behavior tied to customer accounts. Used for order tracking and analysis.
  • Website usage data – IP address, browser type, pages visited used internally to improve the shopping experience.
  • Marketing preferences – Whether the visitor has consented to receive emails and subscribed to lists.

Be as specific as possible on data collected. Explain why each data type is needed for delivering service. Assure users you only gather what is necessary.

Third-Party Data Sharing and Usage

A big fear for consumers is that their data will be sold to other companies without their knowledge or consent.

Your privacy policy should clarify whether data is shared with any third parties such as shipping partners, payment processors, targeted advertisers and marketing tools.

If you do share data:

  • Name each third party and describe their role.
  • Explain what specific data is provided and why.
  • Note if users have a choice for that provider interaction.
  • List any third parties who provide tracking technologies like pixels and cookies on your site. Detail what data they gather directly.

The more transparency you offer on third parties, the more trust consumers will have. Assure users you only share the minimum data necessary per service provider.

Security Commitments and Protections

  • Consumers need to know their data is protected from breaches by bad actors. Use your privacy policy to showcase security safeguards like:
  • Encryption technologies used to encode data both in transit and at rest. This renders stolen information useless.
  • Authentication mechanisms like passwords, two-factor authentication and CAPTCHA codes that establish user identity and prevent automated attacks.
  • Access limitations enforced so only authorized personnel can view sensitive backend data on a need-to-know basis. Anonymous aggregated data is used for analytics and reporting wherever possible.
  • Testing protocols like simulated attacks to probe for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your infrastructure, applications and processes. Fixes are made to harden defenses.

While not an exhaustive description for security reasons, calling out protections reassures visitors. It demonstrates an ongoing commitment and culture of data protection versus an empty promise.

Accessing, Updating and Deleting Personal Data

Customers should reasonably be able to access their data stored by a company to make updates, corrections or even request full deletion.

Explain site features that enable consumers to:

  • Log into their account dashboard to view/amend stored personal information.
  • Use site forms and contact mechanisms for submitting data access requests per local regulations.
  • Submit requests to close accounts or selectively/permanently erase personal details per data privacy laws. Share response timelines.

By giving users more control over data in this way, it builds trust in ethical stewardship versus holding data hostage. Be as proactive as possible in empowering Consumers regarding their rights and your policies.

Customer Choices and Consent Preferences

The final aspect to highlight focuses on choices provided to users over data collection. Examples include:

  • Opt-in consent checkboxes on forms determining agreement to specific usage such as signed up to marketing emails or cookies dropped by third-party advertisers. Opt-in requires active demonstration of willingness.
  • Opt-out links for discontinuing certain data-sharing practices like halting email subscriptions with one click by users. Opt-out shifts the action to consumers rather than assuming acceptance.
  • Communication preferences that let customers dictate channels (email/text/phone) used to contact them and frequency. No unwanted overflow of messages.
  • Do Not Track settings explained for visitors who don’t want online behavior tracking. How your site responds to DNT browser signals.

Detail any portal or dashboard where users manage these preferences. The more control customers have over data sharing and communications, the more your privacy practices build durable trust.

Call to Action   

Having detailed yet readable privacy policies demonstrates respect for customers and care over handling their data. Services and technology may change but practices encoded in policy set the course. Audit your privacy policy and ensure it transparently addresses the topics covered here. If starting fresh, use this article as guidance for drafting concise policies that engender trust. Lastly, consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.  Feel free to reach out to Connor Slivocka at [email protected].

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