The panic around the GDPR and obtaining specific consent for marketing emails prior to the May deadline resulted in companies doing mass clean ups of lists, however many may not have needed to do so. A lot of companies also now ask for specific marketing consent as part of their checkout process but that has resulted in a drop in customers agreeing to receive emails. In actual fact the marketing consent question may not be necessary and if you have one, you could actually have it pre-ticked.
The reason is that as long as you are marketing your own goods and services to existing or new clients then you can use the "soft opt-in" option and claim legitimate interest to email them. The use of legitimate interest is an alternative to consent - actually consent should be the final option for companies to use for email marketing. If you can't show consent for each user, you can still market to existing customers provided that you can show legitimate interest, namely:
- the goods and services are related to the ones they have shown interest in, and
- they have not opted out of receiving marketing messages.
According to guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), as long as customers have provided their details (which they would do during checkout), they are probably happy to receive information about similar products and services. The only things you need to ensure are that there is a clear chance to opt out when you are collecting the data and a clear opt out route in every message you send. The latter has been around for some time, so hopefully you already have unsubscribe links in all of your emails.
For the former, a clear way to opt out when you are collecting the data, the clearest way, of course, is to have a separate tick box to allow marketing messages, however this is not specifically required. From the guidance, if you do have such a tick box, you could actually have it pre-ticked. Alternatively, if you don't have a separate tick box for marketing, you could just have a message in relation to marketing as long as there is a way to opt out, such as an unsubscribe email address. This is less intrusive and will result in fewer people declining marketing messages as they would need to actively opt out. Contact us
if you would like us to review and optimise your checkout process, especially if you've seen a drop in your email marketing lists. There are, of course other requirements to do with the GDPR so let us know if you need any help with Data Processing agreements or updating Privacy Policies.