Do you need to start an e-commerce website and it is the first time? Italian bureaucracy could discourage you, so we will try to list all the duties to be fulfilled.

You have to be a legal subject holding a VAT number, file the Certified Notification of Business Start-Up to the relevant municipality and activate a certified email address that nowadays is mandatory in order to register a VAT number.

Your website will need to comply with the information obligations provided, above all, by the Consumer Code, Privacy Code and  General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To be compliant with the law, you need to enter this information in your e-commerce website:

General Sales Conditions clarifying to consumers their rights and obligations;

Privacy Policy explaining how you will process users’ personal data;

Cookie Policy describing the typologies of Cookies stored by your website.

In May 2018 GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force. GDPR does not affect the rules we are going to illustrate, so they are valid and to be observed.

General Sales Conditions of an e-commerce website (or GSC)

They are the most important document in the relationship with the consumer, in which you will need to specify, for instance:

  • the data and contact information of your company and your customer service contact information;
  • payment, delivery and shipping methods and information about legal guarantee;
  • whether the consumer has the right of withdrawal or not – this right is not applicable for the sale of perishable food products;
  • the conditions of after-sales service and processing potential complaints.

Avoid copying the General Sales Conditions from other websites. Your e-commerce website will certainly be different from others, therefore you will need to regulate the relationship with your customers accordingly.

Privacy Policy

GDPR had a very important impact on consumers’ privacy and on the way they perceive the protection of their personal data: for this reason, the Privacy Policy of your website needs to inform in the clearest way possible on how you are going to process this kind of data.

In fairness and required by law you should inform consumers on how you are going to process their personal data.

For instance you will need to clarify if you are going to use consumers’ emails to send promotional communications. Or if you are going to communicate such email to third parties perhaps to monetize your database of contacts.

Privacy Policy has this aim: explaining how you will process users’ personal data and collecting a valid consent by the latter.

Cookie Policy

A cookie is a text file sent by a website to the visitor’s device – computer, smartphone or tablet – where it is stored to be then transmitted to the website on the following view.

It is nearly sure that you will use cookies to make your website work better: for example, they are essential to allow registered users to log into a website.

You will likely use them for other purposes, such as tracking users during their navigation and proposing advertising banners. Or to carry out statistical examinations about your website views or to assess advertising campaign performance.

Cookies can have different end uses, the important thing is to specify what cookies you are using, their purpose and duration in your Privacy Policy. Moreover, during his first access to your website, the user must have the opportunity to choose what cookies your website can release on your device.

N.B.: This article is for information purpose only and could be dated at the time of consultation. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should consult an accountant or take independent legal advice for specific information about your case and country.