Privacy policies are, admittedly, not on the top of the list of priorities of the e-commerce professionals. Yes, you know you need to have it, if nothing else because your merchant account provider requires it, but a simple copying and pasting of a competitor’s policy will do the trick, right?
Well, it might or it might not and many online shoppers never look at privacy policies anyway. Yet, there are plenty of consumers that are concerned with privacy and you will have to make them feel comfortable with becoming your customers. These consumers subject e-commerce websites to a much closer scrutiny than non-commercial websites. As well they should, as e-commerce websites collect sensitive information that they want to be well protected and used solely for the purposes of the transaction taking place on the site.
- What customer information is collected. Generally, consumers want to provide a minimum of personal information and you should not require more than what is necessary.
- With whom the information is shared. Consumers do not want sensitive information shared with anyone not concerned with the transaction at hand and you will be well advised to respect their wish. Not only will you help convince visitors to become your customers, but you will protect yourself from possible legal actions in the future.
- How customers can opt out. Be clear on this point and tell customers exactly what information they can protect from sharing with third parties and how they can opt out of promotional and other communications.
- Using a privacy organization. There are third-party service providers that specialize in creating privacy policies. The best-known among them is TRUSTe. Such organizations provide a “seal of approval” to be placed on the participant’s website, which is a great and conspicuous way to show consumers that you are serious about protecting personal information and are taking the necessary measures to do so. Additionally, many consumers know that seals of approval are not cheap, so that lends you additional credibility.
Image credit: Newerabank.com.