I’ve moved my busines online and closed my retail outlet. What policies do I need in place?

With the increasing threat of more local lockdowns, various businesses are moving online so as to future proof themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst it is a good idea to have an online presence, as it boosts a business’ earning ability, there are certain policies which should be put in place. 

Privacy Policy

In order to comply with the GDPR provisions, a privacy policy should be put in place. A privacy policy sets out the type of personal data a business collects, why it collects the information and what it will use the information for.  This policy must be transparent and clear in order to ensure users of a website can understand it clearly.  The policy must also be available to a user prior to them submitting data through the website.

If your business collects customer’s information, you will have to display the policy on your website. Furthermore, you may have to comply with GDPR laws which require you to put up a disclaimer regarding the gathering of personal information. You should consult the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website as it will confirm the policies you should have in place based on the size of your business and the information you collect.

Cookie Policy

Cookies track a user’s behaviour by placing tracking files on a device when your site is visited.  Users of your website will need to consent to the use of these.  This policy will explain how your business uses cookies on your website and what data is tracked.  These are usually found in the form of a pop-up banner on a website.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) set out the rules in relation to cookies. In short, if collecting cookies, you must: –

1. tell people the cookies are there;

2. explain what the cookies are doing and why; and

3. get the person’s consent to store a cookie on their device.

As long as users are provided with your cookie policy upon first using your site, they will not need to be provided with the policy in order to consent to their use again. However, bear in mind that devices may be used by different people. If there is likely to be more than one user, you may want to consider repeating this process at suitable intervals.

You may also need to obtain fresh consent if your use of cookies changes over time.

Terms & Conditions

Whilst it is not essential to have your terms on your website, if you are providing goods or a service, it can help ensure customers know what they are contracting to. You should ensure your terms are kept up to date and are accessible to all customers.  It will be harder to enforce your terms if a customer has not had a chance to understand them and have not been made fully aware of the contract terms.

Having your terms on the website also negates any arguments from customers stating that they were not aware of them.

Website Terms of Use

These terms set out how the website can be accessed by users of the site.  It will also set out the permitted use of website content including images, text, videos etc.These terms will often look to limit the business’ liability in the event a virus has caused damage to a user’s system. Website terms of use are distinct from terms & conditions of business (as set out above) as the terms of use detail the way in which a website can be used.

Website content

Whilst not a policy as such, the content on your website will be owned by your business and protected by intellectual property laws.

If you are going to be uploading any images or text which is not created by you, you should either obtain the consent of the creator, or ensure you are only using licenced or copyright free images.  When using images from Google, do not assume that they are not protected because they are in the public domain.

This blog sets out a basic summary of the policies to be considered when moving your business online.  If you would like to speak to one of our team or have a more extensive review of your online business needs, please get in touch with the Corporate Commercial department on 01256 320555.

Leave a Reply