Author: Amal Johny, Business Analyst
It is a given that anything digital is data intensive. When it comes to digital commerce, data even becomes intrinsic and pivotal. That said, data by its nature is sensitive and its breach causes concern. Trouble started in Europe when large numbers of customers started voicing their resentment and concern about spam campaigns to which they have never subscribed. Wary of this concern and to safeguard against it, the European Union (EU) updated and unified its data privacy laws and got it approved by the European Parliament in 2016.
The aim was to enable appropriate data protection for EU citizens and endow them with greater clarity to realize the reasons behind sharing their personal information. GDPR also gives EU individuals the right to choose how the shared information, including, medical history, financial records and internet activity, will be used in order to protect their privacy. GDPR in the EU has also paved the way for similar data protection rules in other regions like the US, Thailand, Brazil, and South Korea. Hence, for eCommerce players catering to EU customers, GDPR will determine the ways and means of engaging with customer information, tools to be used, and also the course of action while using them.
eCommerce businesses depend greatly on data collection and analysis. Moreover, online marketing is intrinsic for their operations and not accessing user information can significantly affect their business outcomes. Interestingly, ever since its implementation, GDPR has made striking changes to how ecommerce businesses manage stores and handle the collected data. The practice of operating with a lot of information is now a passé. Accessing only the vital info crucial for communication, fundamental marketing needs, and transactions is the new normal.
Against this backdrop, GDPR compliance might sound like a damper. But reality belies this apprehension. Records reveal that the new law has not only cleared the cloud regarding the apprehensions of losing revenue but has also helped customers strengthen their trust with authentic organizations who did business without misusing the shared data. For ecommerce businesses still wrapping their heads around GDPR this article will elucidate the law in simple terms while highlighting the major checklists for being GDPR compliant.
To begin with, let’s not delude ourselves! GDPR-compliance is a tough grind! But it’s obligatory hence cannot be ignored. Notably, a European Commission report says, in the very first year of implementing GDPR, nearly 145,000 cases of queries and complaints were registered while approximately 90,000 data breaches were also notified. (Ref 1) Some of the remarkable impacts of GDPR implementation include putting a stop on customer data selling and mishandling. (Ref 2) While earlier companies could find ways to evade huge fines, regulators now sanction data breaches irrespective of whether they are deliberate or inadvertent.(Ref 3 )
Interestingly, following findings of a Cisco’s 2019 Data Privacy Benchmark Study reveals the efficacy of GDPR in controlling data breach -
The following points will help you form a firsthand understanding of what GDPR compliance means -
GDPR generally attempts to protect all type of personal data including-
Let’s agree that complete GDPR compliance will not be a cake walk. As an eCommerce business you will need to be totally transparent with your methods and be clear about your GDPR compliance to be compliant.
Given the contributions that eCommerce makes in the economy, almost all developed countries in the world are extremely keen to actually build a more robust digital economy. In doing so they also agree that access to some data is integral to run an eCommerce business. All that GDPR demands from businesses is honesty and transparency and implementation of the best practices. If that is rightly done, your business will never have to pay the hefty penalties that come with GDPR. Moreover, if the regulator is convinced that you have done your best to comply with the law they too would work patiently with you if and when a problem arises. This is where the role of an expert eCommerce solution provider comes in. As an eCommerce player, think of engaging an eCommerce solution provider to help you rightly implement GDPR compliant solutions.