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Online US Retailers leaving Euros on the Table

How is the USA handling GDPR?

Both towards Europe as well as at home!

Recently while on a trip to Europe, I was shopping on one of my favorite US retail websites. To my surprise, the site wouldn’t load and came up with a rejection message that said “We can no longer accept orders from the EU.” So surprised was I that I continued to check other US websites (from Europe) where I normally shop to make purchases. I couldn’t believe the variety of responses I received, but most did not provide an option for shopping from Europe in the US websites.

What does this mean?

As a US resident, traveling (or living) outside of the United States, you literally cannot access a site of sites (unless you’d use a safe and circumventing VPN service).

Here is a summary of my shopping attempts:

  • One website posted: This company is not available to customers…who are located outside of the USA… We apologize for the inconvenience.
  • Another website: Call us if you wish to shop outside the USA
  • Others simply ignore it that they don’t ship to Europe and only inform you if you ask – leaving only “State” options
  • Probably the funniest (you can also read ‘worst’) experience simply provided the following error message:

Please check out our Instagram account for some other visuals of the research findings.

What can we learn from this experience?

Here are few ideas.

  1. The USA is different than Europe and now, beyond just modern political activities, GDPR may be seen as constricting EU purchasing from the USA.
  2. There are as many different European sales approaches as there are companies – yet some choose to embrace the opportunity while others do not
  3. The US is unclear about how to handle their data – while some would rather avoid addressing the issue than working with this ‘restricted’ market.

How are the states responding to GDRP ? How about California – even more drastic than GDRP?

Just months after Europe passed GDPR, California passed its own consumer protection acts in June 2018, which are intended to go into effect on January 1, 2020. The California Consumer Privacy Act is a series of rights for California consumers on how their personal data is collected used and potentially (re)sold. As the laws state that California residents will be able to request a 12 month view of their historical data, this means that as of January 1, 2019, companies would need to have started aggregating and understanding their data collection efforts. Referring back to an earlier blog post ‘The Silver Lining of GDPR’, there is both opportunity and new costs associated with this new legislation. The implications of the California law are widespread and can be considered in great length. The most urgent are:

  • Multiple new costs associated with data collection, compliance and usage
  • New liabilities and likely litigation costs as consumers become aware of their new rights under the law
  • The requirement (and opportunity) to (re)consider what and how to interact with one’s consumers

As we move forward in our blog posts, we will explore the value of your company data versus the additional costs of compliance. The good news is you likely are sitting on more value than you realize! If you would like to be kept in the loop on our blog updates, please let us know by providing your contact details.

Rebecca Bucnis is the Managing Principal, Data To Dollars.

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