Website Legal Agreements

Make Your E-Commerce Agreement Count


We keep stressing this idea that privacy policies are important, and for good reason! They are! But, there is a difference between simply having a privacy policy and having an effective privacy policy.

E-commerce is a big chunk of today’s consumer sector. Heck, PactSafe just used Amazon Pantry for the first time–we went to the grocery without even stepping foot in the grocery! With sales ranging from business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, or consumer-to-business, there is a lot for players like Amazon, Ebay, Target, and even smaller e-commerce businesses to consider when maintaining their privacy policies.

What a lot of sites get wrong is insufficient implementation. Yeah, plenty of the actual agreements themselves spell out what they are going to do with customers’ data, but has to be followed up by the classic question, “Do you practice what you preach?”

Sadly, a lot of companies who you keep your hard-earned money don’t implement their privacy policies very effectively. They say all of the right things, but their actions don’t always follow through.

If you’re flashing back to that person you dated who was completely wrong for you—you’re not that far off.

Remember the Target data breach?

Luckily, there are some things e-commerce businesses, big and small, can do to walk the walk, talk the talk, and still shake their somebody’s about to pay them.

1. Make Sure Someone is in Charge

Set clear ownership. Is there a person in charge of qualifying your company’s promises? Maybe a team should be on top of it? Whoever this responsibility belongs to, they should be thinking like a customer asking constant questions like, “Would I be okay if this website was using my information this way?” Remembering that actual people exist on the other side of digital actions can be trialsome when you live and breathe technology day after day, HOWEVER, adding TLC pays off in the long run.

2. Review other Privacy Policies

See who is doing it right! Guidelines are great! And so is comprehensible writing. We recently reviewed TIME’s list of well-written privacy policies where Google surprisingly came out on top due to their colloquial language, easy to navigate agreement, and the care they showed for their audience.

Apply the good tactics from well-received privacy policies to your own needs, then treat yo self to ice cream...educating people about legal stuff is hard.

Eating your ice cream on a ferris wheel? Even better.

3. Audit Your Privacy Policy Components

Do you know where information goes after it’s collected? What about third parties? How do third parties receive customers’ credit card, personal, or purchase confirmation information? If your privacy policy says information is secure, but that claim can’t be backed up...that’s not good.

Snapchat's deletion process.

Snapchat’s privacy policy is pretty clear about where messages, photos, and videos go after they’ve been sent. Lucky for you and the “who can make an uglier face” snapchat contest you had with your cousin last night, snapchat photos are deleted...eventually anyways.

Snapchat says, “Delete is our default. That means that most messages sent through our Services will be automatically deleted once they have been viewed or have expired. But–and this is important– you should understand that users who see your messages can always save them...If we’re able to detect that a recipient took a screenshot of a message you sent, we’ll try to notify you.”

There is also a nice disclaimer that says, hey, we don’t want your pics, but if the police do, we hire forensic engineers and they give the police what they want. Can’t blame them there.

4. Write the Privacy Policy

You can’t be all talk here. Put something down on paper! And, make sure it’s good.

Be aware of who the audience is. First, speak their language: makes sure what is written is clear, concise, and easy to understand. You know what’s way better than a customer? A loyal customer. Second, give users a chance to respond. That comment box or email link inviting questions and concerns at the end of a privacy policy creates trust. It may never be used, but having the option there makes your business approachable, which you should want.

Facebook did it.

See, Facebook did it!

5. Post and Communicate

Have that good clickwrap ready to go. It’s not really worth being a part of PactSafe’s next edition of “Clickwraps that Suck.” We want that privacy policy enforceable, shiny, and new!

Make sure to also notify customers when something new going on. I received this awesome e-mail from Etsy the other day detailing the alterations of their privacy policy for shop owners and buyers alike. It looked cool, sounded awesome, and made me feel in the loop.

Etsy sent me this email! Wasn't that nice?Etsy sent me this email! Wasn't that nice?

6. Maintain to Stay in the Game!

You get rid of clothes when they aren’t in style anymore, throw out food if it goes bad (I hope), and rearrange your furniture when you’ve stubbed your toe on the ottoman one too many times...It’s scary how similar all of that is to updating your privacy policy.

When info is old or no longer applicable, delete it! Update, update, update. Have a special feature or partnership going on that changes things up for customers a bit? Come on now, add it in there! Have your team in on it. Collaborate, throw around some ideas once in a while. You’re only making your company better, and more secure.

7. Ask for Help

“Who do I ask??”

Ask PactSafe! We can help you implement enforceable contracts. PactSafe is dedicated to making the world of contracts go 'round.

Watch the PactSafe demo today!

All this info have you craving more?? Check out this article (my inspiration for this post) for more tips on effective privacy policies for e-commerce.

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