The GDPR and How it Will Affect Online Merchants


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted in April 2016 and took effect in May this year. It lays out rules on how European residents’ data are to be managed, from medical history to internet activity to financial records. The GDPR is expected to reshaped e-commerce in Europe and how online merchants can engage customers.

The GDPR applies to all firms and businesses offering products or services to residents of Europe. It doesn’t matter if the firm or online business is in Europe, outside of the continent or some other island. As long as the company offers products or services to European consumers, then it has to comply with the GDPR.

The GDPR will have an impact on online merchants and the way they gather and process information from their customers. Some of these are:

GDPR requires clear consent for online activities

Perhaps the most obvious impact of the new regulation on Internet businesses is that it would require clear consent for all marketing activities online. Customers, users, and employees should opt into the marketing activities of websites they visit.

GDPR gives customers the right not to be remembered

With the new regulation taking effect, customers not only have the right to edit their data but also delete their accounts entirely from a system.  Online businesses will now offer account deletion. They are also required to advertise and document this for users who want to remove their personal information.

GDPR requires immediate breach response

Large firms are now required to appoint a data protection officer whose main responsibility is to report data breaches. Online businesses will also be required to follow a stringent procedure in detecting and reporting data breach and misconduct.

While there will be effects on the way online marketers and firms gather and process data about their customers, the GDPR will also open opportunities for online entrepreneurs. For one, data privacy is a huge issue in Europe. Thus, online merchants who are GDPR compliant will be able to sell more to European customers.