How willing are you to buy online?
If you're skeptical, you can't expect your customers to feel any differently. Before they'll transact, customers need to feel safe.
Part of that safe feeling is the knowledge that their privacy is respected, which is why Internet privacy policies are so important. Research shows that consumers are more likely to complete online transactions if they know beforehand how their personal information is going to be used.
In fact, legislation in several Countries and US States now require online businesses to disclose their privacy policies before customers are asked to register any details.
On the Internet, privacy is not the same thing as security. Technology dictates how information is kept secure over the Net, but all it takes to respect your customers' privacy over the Internet is honesty.
Internet browsing software has allowed individuals to set their 'privacy preferences' for some time now. These privacy preferences are automatically compared against the privacy policies of visited Web sites. In order to allow this, the Web site needs to have a special 'machine readable' file in place which is read by the browsing software.
Polls show that almost half of all online shoppers are more nervous about how their personal data is being used than they are about the security of their credit card transactions. People who have never bought online are even more scared of privacy violations.
The absence of a 'machine readable' policy on your Web site, may cause parts of your Web site to be automatically blocked by Internet browsing software.