Tag Archives: E-commerce

GDPR

If you are an ambitious business promoting itself on the internet then you need to know about the General Data Protection Regulation which comes into effect on 25thMayThe Customer database you are building is subject to the regs., especially if you ‘process’ the information e.g. categorise Customers so you can target them with special offers.

If you are ‘harvesting’ Customer details to promote or sell direct then you need to gear-up to comply

Online promotion and sales are THE growth areas in retailing, way ahead of ‘bricks and mortar’ sales. If you are ‘harvesting’ Customer details to promote or sell direct then you need to gear-up to comply. The new law replaces the Data Protection Act 1998 which introduced safeguards to protect personal privacy but this new legislation enhances the rights of ‘data subjects’. They now have the right to access data held on them and demand it’s deletion or correction or block its processing. The ‘Big Four’ Supermarkets have been gearing up for years because of the staggering amount of Shopper data they hold and the hefty fines for non-compliance.

Data collection, processing and sales is very VERY big business indeed.

Supermarkets and small businesses are affected, but the main target for the legislation is data collection Companies. Data collection, processing and sales is very VERY big business indeed. It drives everything   from your credit rating to which special offer leaflet drops through your letterbox. It is no coincidence that adverts which reflect your interests pop-up when you log onto Google. Parliament has demanded Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook reveal what he knows about us and who he is selling it to so has sent a couple of minions to dodge the questions.  

The Tesco Clubcard introduced in 1995 was arguably the cleverest idea ever devised by a retailer

Supermarket Loyalty Cards predated harvesting by a couple of decades. It is amazing what a seemingly innocuous flow of till receipts reveals about your buying preferences, your income, family members and where you live. This info is absolute gold dust to a retailer who can’t decide whether to open a new store  in Mudford-on Sea and what to stock. The Tesco Clubcard introduced in 1995 was arguably the cleverest idea ever devised by a retailer. Within 12 months Clubcard holders were spending 28% more at Tesco and 16% less in Sainsburys, paving the way for the equally clever Nectar card now held by 50% of UK households. The tacit agreement of Shoppers to reveal personal details paved the way for data harvesting as (allegedly) used by Cambridge Analytica to target swing voters in the US Presidential election.

Ensuring responsible use of personal data is the purpose of the GDPR

Ensuring responsible use of personal data is the purpose of the GDPR. It includes the requirement that data subjects consent to processing via a ‘Privacy Notice’. If you operate a database I suggest you go online and search for GDPR obligations.  

If you make a few bob on the side by shifting unsold stock on Ebay or Facebook remember that Big Brother is watching.

HM Treasury has not been slow in seeing the possibilities of data harvesting. If you make a few bob on the side by shifting unsold stock on Ebay or Facebook remember that Big Brother is watching. Particularly so if you close down your stall and start trading online from a sunny beach.You may remember Manchester trader John Woolfenden who was jailed in 2014 after pleading guilty to £300K of tax evasion and money laundering. He ran an online business from his home selling DVDs. Despite sales of £1.4m over six-years he somehow overlooked the need to register for Vat or declare profits on his self-assessment. One thing which really ticks-off HMRC is failing to pay Vat so they went for him and he went down for two years.

HMRC now pays up to £38k p.a. for ‘software analysts’ to compare your Facebook holiday pics with your tax return and Ebay transactions

That case was a bit of a wake-up call for HMRC. Since then they have geared-up to match the retailers. The September 2017 Finance Bill gave HMRC legal powers to force E-Commerce sites such as PayPal, Ebay and Booking.com to reveal customer transaction details. HMRC now pays up to £38k p.a. for ‘software analysts’ to compare your Facebook holiday pics with your tax return and Ebay transactions. If you and your missus lounge around on a Caribbean beach and send pics to your kids whilst selling online and declaring only £20k income p.a. you will not look kosher. HMRC can demand your transaction records from Ebay, Booking.com and Paypal and you won’t even know about it.

E-commerce leaves a lovely digital paper trail which is the price you pay for expanding your business

E-commerce leaves a lovely digital paper trail which is the price you pay for expanding your business. You can remain all-cash of course but remember that your accountant, bank and even your solicitor don’t guarantee client confidentiality any more.The 2017 Money Laundering etc Regulations require them to report any dodgy dealings. All in all it may seem a bit depressing but don’t despair. The data analysts don’t care about your unwanted Christmas presents sold on Ebay but whether your transactions exceed some mysterious threshold they have set. Remember that when you are boasting about your hols on Instagram.