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Ecommerce Websites Need A Privacy Policy

Here’s a quick tip: If you have an ecommerce website, you need a Privacy Policy page. You probably also need a ‘Terms of Service’ page too. Here’s why.

It’s The Law, At Least in Some States

Any commercial website that collects personally identifiable information is required under many state laws to “post a statement of your privacy policy in a conspicuous location on your Web site.”

Additionally, many large companies (like Google and Facebook) require their advertisers to post a privacy policy. Same goes for companies making use of Google Analytics too.

Basically, every business website needs a privacy policy.

Privacy Policies Are Good For Business

Let’s say that there weren’t all these rules – that businesses could decide to have a privacy policy or to skip it.

Guess what? Privacy is a huge concern for a lot of consumers. According to one source, 45% of households had decided not to buy online out of concern over the safety of their personal information. 45%!

That’s an astonishingly high number, and while it may overstate the situation, privacy policies are good for business:

  1. Many consumers are concerned about identify theft. A privacy policy gives these consumers some reassurance.
  2. A stated privacy policy can help consumers address their concerns with you directly, rather than having them contact the FTC or their state Attorney General.
  3. A simple, easy to read privacy policy has been shown to increase ecommerce site conversion rates (albeit slightly).

There Are Boilerplate Privacy Policies Available

If you know you want a privacy policy on your site, but you don’t want to pay a lawyer to create one for you, good news: There are boilerplate policies available.

With the understanding that:

  • A privacy policy is a legal document and
  • Neither Spork Marketing (nor any of the links below) are offering legal advice

Check out these sample privacy policies. They should be a very good starting point. Indeed, many businesses use the samples without consulting an attorney.

Again, we are NOT offering legal advice. But we think Shopify’s free privacy policy is A-OK for most ecommerce websites.

Did Someone Say Terms of Service?

While you’re adding a privacy policy page to your website, consider adding a terms of service page too. A good terms of service page will:

  • Disclaim your liability for inaccuracies, errors, and omissions
  • Explain that your company doesn’t owe anyone anything for completing a transaction on a product that’s been discontinued
  • Explain that part pricing and shipping fees are subject to change at any time, and that you will give the consumer the option to cancel their transaction if they don’t like your changes to their order after the fact
  • Explain that your company can cancel any order at any time for any reason
  • Explain that you do not do business with anyone intending to commit a crime, that you will prosecute instances of fraud, etc.
  • That your company is not liable for links that point to your site, nor for the content at sites you may link to

etc. Again, Shopify has a free Terms of Service generator that we like very much.

*NOTE: We never mention the Better Business Bureau without mentioning this: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/business-bureau-best-ratings-money-buy/story?id=12123843. Before you pay to join the BBB, ask yourself if that money could be put to better use.

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