How to Create a Privacy Policy for Your Ecommerce Website

4 min read
August 2, 2023

A privacy policy is no longer something you can ignore when developing an ecommerce website. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, 79 percent of U.S. adults are concerned about how businesses use their data.

You can ease their growing concerns, however, by creating an easily accessible and comprehensive privacy policy. Here are several tips to help you create an effective privacy policy for your ecommerce website.

Manually modify it for your website

There are a number of privacy policy generators out there (see our short list provided below) but you should take the time to modify your website's privacy policy manually. Preferably, this should be done with the assistance of an attorney familiar with ecommerce and your unique brand.

Also note that privacy policy templates are different from privacy policy generators. A generator is a tool that will automatically build a privacy policy by using several input fields in the form of questions. A template, on the other hand, is simply a generic, standardized privacy policy that swaps in your company and contact information. While both can save you time, generators will net you an initial privacy policy draft that's closest to your desired outcome.

Here's a few popular privacy policy generators to help get you started, including one from our partners at Shopify:

Once generated, manually editing your ecommerce website privacy policy will ensure a much greater degree of detail and accuracy - allowing you to use your own wording to educate visitors about your site's unique data practices.

Explain types of data collected

When creating your ecommerce website's privacy policy, you'll need to explain the types of data your site collects on visitors.

While most websites collect data on their visitors, some of them collect different types of data than others. Your privacy policy should explain the types of data it collects on visitors that are relevant to your specific website.

Common types of data that ecommerce websites collect on their visitors include:

  • Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
  • Names
  • Home addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Payment information
  • Visit timestamps

Including this information in your website's privacy policy also helps to instill a sense of trust with your visitors.

Explain uses for collected data

In addition to data types, you should explain how exactly your website uses the collected data.

Most websites use visitor-collected data for multiple purposes. Since your ecommerce website likely sells products, it may use visitor-collected data to facilitate those transactions. More specifically, you'll have to collect customers' names, home addresses, and payment information to process their orders.

Some websites use visitor-collected data for advertising as well. They collect data on their visitors to generate personalized, targeted ads. Other websites share visitor-collected data with third parties for analytics or tracking purposes.

Regardless, your website's privacy policy should reveal how your site specifically uses all visitor-collected data.

List data security measures

A list of security measures is an equally important part of a privacy policy.

Upon seeing all of the different types of data your website collects, visitors may feel hesitant to continue using it, or potentially lose faith in your website's ability to protect their data from unauthorized access.

You can reassure visitors that their data is in good hands by including a list of security measures in your website's privacy policy. Also known as security controls, security measures are practices that are designed to protect visitors' data from unauthorized access.

Examples of security measures include:

  • Hypertext Markup Language Secure (HTTPS)
  • Firewall
  • Encryption
  • Antivirus software
  • Forced password changes
  • Multifactor authentication (MFA)
  • Internal security audits
  • Deletion of nonessential data

Include a section for notification of changes

You should also include a "Notification of Changes" section in your ecommerce website's privacy policy. As the name suggests, a notification of changes section explains how your website will notify visitors when changes are made to its privacy policy.

If your website begins to collect a new type of data on visitors, or if it uses its existing visitor-collected data for a new purpose, you'll need to update the privacy policy while also notifying visitors about the change. This section should also explain when and how visitors will be notified about these changes to your privacy policy.

Cover cookies

Don't forget to cover cookies! Many websites use cookies to track their visitors' activities or create personalized experiences. If your brand's ecommerce website uses cookies (which it most likely does), you'll definitely need to create a section addressing the use of cookies within your privacy policy.

The cookies section should tell visitors how your website utilizes these cookies. For example, your website may use cookies to keep visitors logged in to their accounts, or perhaps it uses cookies to show personalized products or content.

Some visitors may not want your website to collect their data or track their activities with cookies. So for a higher level of transparency, you can even include steps your visitors can take to block cookies in web browsers (cookie blocking is an available feature in all major web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge).

Provide multiple contact methods

To help instill trust while simultaneously allowing visitors to seek answers to any privacy-related questions that they have, you'll want to provide multiple contact methods within your ecommerce site's privacy policy.

Near the end of the privacy policy, be sure to include a phone number and email address that visitors can contact if they have questions. You'll find that most visitors will never call or email you after reading your website's privacy policy, but on the off-chance that a visitor has a privacy-related question, they can contact you directly.

Learn more about ONELIVE's ecommerce web development solutions.