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Privacy Policy for Clothing Websites

Masha Komnenic CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, FIP

by Masha Komnenic CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, FIP

June 13, 2022

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If you run a clothing business, you are probably already aware of the extensive benefits of online shopping. Not only can you reach a much larger pool of customers across the world, but you can also access user data to tailor your marketing strategies, target promotions and sales, and improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

However, with this data collection comes several legal and ethical requirements that you must be aware of if you wish to avoid legal trouble and maintain a positive relationship with your customers.

The first step towards addressing these requirements is including a clear and comprehensive privacy policy on your clothing website.

Table of Contents
  1. Why Data Privacy Is Important for Clothing Websites
  2. Does Your Clothing Website Need a Privacy Policy?
  3. Which Privacy Laws Affect Clothing Websites
  4. Creating a Clothing Website Privacy Policy
  5. What To Include in Your Clothing Website's Privacy Policy
  6. Tips for Making a Good Clothing Website Privacy Policy
  7. Where To Put Your Clothing Website's Privacy Policy
  8. Summary

Why Data Privacy Is Important for Clothing Websites

In today’s world, online retailers must pursue all possible avenues on the internet and mobile apps to reach the largest possible share of their customer base, and clothing businesses are no exception.

Having a privacy policy for your clothing business is an essential building block for establishing trust between seller and buyer.

What clothes someone buys can reveal quite a bit about them, such as their body size, personal or cultural preferences, plans, potential life changes — such as buying wedding dresses or maternity clothes, and so on.

There are also critical personal data like credit card information and other banking and shipping details. When considering all this, a clothing business should have a clear and vigorous privacy policy to show its customers that they can trust it with their personal information.

Does Your Clothing Website Need a Privacy Policy?

Besides being a best practice, a privacy policy is essential for online clothing businesses in a few ways.

Legal Requirements

At the most basic level, numerous laws across multiple jurisdictions mandate that online retailers include clear privacy policies on their websites. These jurisdictions include the U.S. federal government, multiple U.S. state governments, and several international governments where your site may draw visitors.

In short, anywhere you may want to sell clothing will have some kind of law in effect that requires a privacy policy, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Failure to comply with these laws can result in significant fines and other burdensome legal issues.

Third-Party Requirements

Private third-party partners almost always require clear privacy policies as well. For example, Apple requires any company that uses its apps or creates an app for iOS platforms, to have a clear privacy policy. Google is another major third-party platform that requires apps on its operating systems to have a comprehensive privacy policy in place.

Losing the ability to partner with Apple and Google apps due to a lack of a clear privacy policy would be devastating for your business’s ability to compete in the contemporary marketplace.

SEO Best Practices

Having a privacy policy is almost certainly beneficial for your website’s SEO. Search engines like Google will probably prioritize websites with clearly-worded privacy policies on their main pages to only deliver high-quality content in their search results.

Which Privacy Laws Affect Clothing Websites

US State and Federal Laws

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

To comply with the CCPA, companies that do business with and collect California residents’ information need to have a privacy policy that informs visitors: 

  • What data you have about them
  • How you collect and use this data
  • How consumers can opt out of you selling or sharing their data

While the CCPA may not cover some companies, you should always try to comply with data privacy requirements because it’s the ethical thing to do.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The COPPA is a federal law in the U.S. that mandates privacy protections for websites that market to and collect personal data from children younger than 13.

Under this law, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can determine whether a site is “marketing towards children” according to several factors. These include a website’s appearance, content, what it sells, how it advertises, the kinds of language and music it uses, the ads it runs, and the site’s general user composition.

If your business operates in the U.S., your privacy policy should cover all requirements of COPPA, even if you don’t market children’s clothing.

California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)

The CalOPPA applies to any website that collects “personally identifiable information” about California residents. This information could include names, social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and other forms of contact information.

Beginning in 2012, the California Attorney General’s Office started to enforce CalOPPA’s privacy requirements against mobile apps. The law requires that companies “conspicuously” post a privacy policy on their websites as either a visible post on the site’s main page or a clearly-labeled link.

International Laws

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is the overarching privacy law in all countries of the EU, as well as Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, and Liechtenstein. It applies to any entity that sells products or services to residents of these countries and collects their data.

A privacy policy that complies with GDPR will inform users of any data you are collecting, the reasons for this data collection, and any third parties you may be sharing it with.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

If your clothing business wishes to sell to residents of Canada, you will need to ensure that your privacy policy is in line with Canada’s PIPEDA.

The Act is somewhat more limited than the privacy laws found in other countries and jurisdictions. However, to fully comply, your statement must inform customers that you collect their data, state the purpose of any data collection, and inform them that they can opt-out if they choose.

UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)

The UK’s version of the GDPR took effect shortly after the UK formally left the EU. Most of the same requirements are in place as in EU law, so if you wish to sell clothing to UK citizens, your privacy policy must likewise inform them of any data collection, why you are collecting it, and who you are sharing it with, and how they can opt-out.

Creating a Clothing Website Privacy Policy

If the complexities of creating good privacy policies are starting to overwhelm you, you’re in luck! Many resources exist that allow you to create your legally sound and user-friendly privacy policy with no extra hassle.

Termly offers an easy-to-use privacy policy generator and a comprehensive privacy policy template that meet your clothing website’s privacy policy needs.

Managed Solution

Termly’s free solution allows you to create easy-to-read and comprehensive privacy policies for your clothing website at no cost.

This managed solution will correspond to the legal requirements under the EU’s and UK’s GDPR, the U.S.’s CCPA, California’s CalOPPA, and Canada’s PIPEDA. It is also automatically updated by Termly’s legal team whenever new requirements come out.

Template

In addition to managed privacy policy solutions, Termly offers users an excellent template for constructing a comprehensive privacy policy for their websites.

You can download Termly’s basic template, apply it to the specific needs of your online clothing retail business, and quickly create a detailed clothing website privacy policy.

Do It Yourself (Not Recommended)

If you want total control over the creation process, you can write your own privacy policy. However, writing a privacy policy yourself takes more time than templates or managed solutions, and you should only consider it if you know what you’re doing and have legal experience.

Below are some tips if you want to go ahead with writing it yourself.

What To Include in Your Clothing Website’s Privacy Policy

Your clothing website’s privacy policy should include the following clauses to be legally and ethically sufficient.

What Personal Data Your Website Collects

This section should be an easy-to-read list or series of bullet points. Any data your clothing website may collect from customers should be here, including things such as:

  • Email addresses
  • Shipping addresses
  • Birthdates

It should also include information you collect that is specific to clothes shopping, such as:

  • Customers’ sizes
  • Browsing history
  • Locational information

How You Use That Personal Data

You must make it clear in your privacy policy if your clothing company uses personal data to determine which clothing items are the most popular or to target your sales and promotions to particular customers.

A Specific Clause Addressing Potential Data Collection From Children Younger Than 13

You must include this kind of clause if you sell to U.S. residents, regardless of whether or not you specifically market clothing to children.

If your company does not sell children’s clothing, you can usually fulfill your COPPA obligations with a clause stating that your company neither markets to nor collects data from children under 13 years of age.

However, if you do sell clothing marketed toward children, you will need to tailor your privacy policy to comply with the guidelines of the COPPA.

How You Protect the Personal Data That Your Clothing Website Collects

You must protect all data that you collect from your customers, and your privacy policy must inform your customers of this fact.

As a clothing retailer, you will need robust privacy protections for financial data such as banking and credit card information. Your privacy policy should inform your clothing shoppers of the specific measures you have taken to protect such financial data and any other general measures to protect less sensitive user data.

Whether or Not You Share That Data With Third Parties

Many clothing retailers share customer data with third-party companies for purposes such as analytics, marketing, sales leads, and customer service improvement. Your clothing company’s privacy policy must inform your customers whether you share such data with third parties and, if so, what data you are sharing.

If and How Your Clothing Website Uses Cookies and Other Tracking Methods

Online clothing retailers often use cookies and other online tracking technologies to track potential sales leads, optimize advertising, and target promotions. Therefore, you must disclose any use of cookies in your privacy policy. However, this part can be brief and general if you already have a separate, more in-depth cookie policy statement elsewhere on your website.

How Your Website’s Customers Can Control Personal Data That You Have Collected

Many jurisdictions have laws giving internet users control over how businesses collect and store their data. To comply with laws such as GDPR and CalOPPA, your clothing company’s privacy policy should detail how users can access or delete their data from your site. You may also want to include a link to a Data Subject Access Request form.

Any Changes to Your Clothing Website’s Privacy Policies

If your clothing company has recently changed its privacy policy, you must include these changes in your policy statement and show an updated date at the top. This includes changes due to new privacy laws, new third-party partnerships, or changes in your own company’s privacy policy.

Tips for Making a Good Clothing Website Privacy Policy

Generally, a good privacy policy for clothing websites will answer the classic five basic questions of any good article: What, when, who, why, and how?

In the case of a clothing business, these questions refer to:

  • What data your clothing website collects
  • When you collect it
  • Who you may be sharing it with
  • What purpose this collection serves
  • How users can opt-out of data collection

Legal requirements and general good practices dictate that you should also include information about what kinds of data you may collect from visitors to your online clothing store. This information could consist of personal data, financial data, mobile data, or data involving third parties.

Where To Put Your Clothing Website’s Privacy Policy

Depending upon the layout of your online clothing store, you will likely have a few different options on where to put your privacy policy.

Most websites put a link to the policy at the footer of the website. Another increasingly common practice is to include the privacy policy link on a popup window that asks users to accept cookies and other tracking technologies.

Regardless of where you put your website’s privacy policy, you should remember a few essential requirements:

  • First, any clothing website privacy policy must be clearly displayed and accessible to everyone on your website or app.
  • Second, it must be labeled as a “privacy policy” to avoid any potential confusion or lack of clarity.
  • Last, the policy must be clear and available for users to access before they share their data with the site.

In general, you should err on the side of clarity and simplicity when deciding where to place your privacy policy on your clothing website.

Summary

Overall, when managing your clothing business online, you should consider the different legal requirements of where your customer base may live, what they will need to know from you, and how to best incorporate your privacy policy into your site’s unique design.

With the excellent resources offered through Termly, you can easily create accurate, clear, and legally-sound privacy policies for your clothing business with no extra hassle that legal requirements often bring.

Masha Komnenic CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, FIP
More about the author

Written by Masha Komnenic CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, FIP

Masha is an Information Security and Data Privacy Specialist and a Certified Data Protection Officer. She has been a Data Protection Officer for the past six years, helping small and medium-sized enterprises achieve legal compliance. She has also been a privacy compliance mentor to many international business accelerators. She specializes... More about the author

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