What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law enacted in the European Union ensuring websites that collect personal data comply with data protection and privacy regulations to protect citizens. The regulations are meant to give individuals more control over their personal information, making GDPR extremely relevant to online stores that operate in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).

Why was GDPR created?

Members of the EU created GDPR in order to further protect the privacy of users in Europe. The law is meant to give customers more transparency into how companies are using their data, as well as more control over deleting their personal information saved within the corporate enterprise.

Regardless of where your business is based, If you do business in the EU then GDPR regulations apply to your online store. GDPR makes a number of promises to customers, including:

  • Timely announcement of data breaches to affected customers
  • Detailed information on how and where personal information is being used
  • Control over personal data, including the right to force a company to delete that data
  • The ability to download a customer’s individual personal data
  • Systems designed to store only necessary data

Though these are common sense regulations, they may require some work on your end to keep your online store compliant.

What happens if your site isn’t GDPR compliant?

Fines for GDPR noncompliance are so steep that it’s better to shut down European access to your online store than continue selling in a state of noncompliance. The EU can fine you up to 4% of your annual revenue for not following GDPR guidelines. For small businesses, this can represent a huge blow to the bottom line. Compliance is absolutely essential for your business.

What do you need to do to be GDPR compliant?

If you do business in the EU, there are a number of different ways you can ensure your online store is compliant with GDPR guidelines.

  • Make sure all of the data you transmit or store is encrypted and protected by the latest and greatest security features.
  • Update your privacy policy and terms of service to include relevant information based on GDPR guidelines.
  • Create a clear path for customers to approve or disapprove certain types of data collection and be sure you configure your website for all sets of customers.
  • Make an easy-to-find channel for customers to see what data you collect, give them options to export that data, and explain how they can delete their data from your servers.
  • Develop a preparation plan for a data breach, including clear customer communications on what happened and what it means for them.
  • Ensure you’re only storing information that is relevant to the shopping or marketing experience.

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