You will have seen lots of businesses and organisations updating you on their data protection practices lately, as we approach the deadline for implementing the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
It’s business as usual here at Little Conkers as I wasn’t doing anything controversial, and the legal bases on which I use and retain your personal data are quite straightforward.
However, one new thing is I’m publishing a Privacy Notice to explain all about how and why I handle your personal data.
You can read my privacy notice here: Little Conkers Privacy Notice and you can always find a link to it at the foot of any page on my website.
If you have any questions at all about data protection at Little Conkers, or any feedback about my privacy notice – readability, anything I might have missed (I’m no expert in these matters) then do please get in touch.
On a separate note – and I want to be clear this is not a direct result of the GDPR – Etsy are changing how they are doing things and in particular they will no longer be supplying us as sellers with your e-mail addresses. It seems clear to me that where it is necessary in fulfilment of an order, there is no issue with a seller receiving and using a customer’s e-mail address. However, Etsy have taken this decision and unfortunately have not (as yet) provided us with solutions to certain problems this creates.
This means three particular changes to my offerings on Etsy:
- I currently offer my kits with a choice of either a paper or a digital pattern.
A lot of people prefer a digital pattern which they can view on their tablet, annotate, reprint if they loose it, etc, as well as it being more environmentally friendly. I currently e-mail the digital pattern to the recipient’s Etsy e-mail address whilst posting the physical parts of the kit. Etsy offers no option to have a digital download attached to a listing with a physical component (something we have been asking for for years). I could ask buyers to supply their e-mail address if they are choosing the digital pattern option, but experience tells me people will not read this request, leaving me in limbo with many orders that I would then have to cancel. My only option here is to remove the ability to request a digital pattern and only provide paper patterns. I’m not very happy about this. If you are purchasing a kit and would prefer a digital pattern, you can e-mail or convo me at the time (providing me with your e-mail address and your consent to use it in fulfilment of the order) for a digital version of the pattern.
- I have one large bundle of patterns on Etsy, which I e-mail to customers, rather than it being a digital download. This is my bathroom crochet pattern set, which comprises ten PDF files – five patterns, each in both US and UK terminology. There are three reasons that this is e-mailed rather than being a digital download:
1) Etsy has a limit of five files per digital product;
2) digital downloads attract an additional VAT charge payable by customers in the EU, Australia and other places. If I e-mail these patterns, the cost to a US buyer is £6 and to a UK buyer is £6. If I set them up as a digital download, the cost will still be £6 to a US buyer, but £7.20 to a UK buyer; and
3) providing customers with five PDF files they don’t want alongside five they do is not great customer service – I’d rather e-mail people exactly what they need.
To continue to offer this pattern bundle on Etsy, I could again state on the listing that buyers are required to provide me with an e-mail address in order for me to fulfil their order, but again many people would fail to notice this. The result would be many cancelled orders. I could create two separate digital download listings – one for the five UK patterns, one for the five US patterns. That’s just a recipe for disaster as people would purchase the wrong listing without realising. So it seems to me the safest way forward is to merge my ten patterns into five to meet Etsy’s limit, with the two versions of the same pattern in one PDF file. This means a price rise on this item for EU, Australian and other customers and I can tell you now that I am going to get so many complaints from buyers who open the files and don’t immediately see the version they expect, or who accidentally print twice as many pages as they meant to…
- I can no longer offer gift vouchers which I currently have for sale on Etsy, as these are also e-mailed to customers. This is because each is a bespoke item, personalised with a unique code for each customer, rather than being an unchanging file ready to download like my crochet patterns. I will have to have a think about how I can offer gift vouchers in the future, but it will have to be off Etsy.
I will be making these changes over the next few days.
I still hope that over coming months Etsy will put in place the technical solutions that would solve these problems. For example creating listings that allow both physical and digital components, or allowing us to flag listings on which we need to receive customers e-mails, or providing an anonymised e-mail service between customers and sellers which is I believe how eBay works, or providing a file service where we can upload bespoke digital items once they have been personalised.
I am only affected in a relatively small way, but other sellers’ whole businesses rely exclusively on the ability to e-mail customers.
After lobbying from many sellers, Etsy as understood the problems with their proposed change and has decided not to implement it after all – phew!
So it’s business as usual, and I won’t have to make the above changes.
We’re all watching carefully to see what Etsy might decide to do next though.