International eCommerce is extremely complicated due to the fact that different countries and regions have specific legal rules, regulations and necessary processes to allow business operation. Each
jurisdiction or area may have established unique requirements that govern the following:
- Applicable taxes
- Customs duties
- Laws around shipping and refunds
- Fraud detection methods
- Privacy policies
You may have a certain degree of choice in regard to what policies you decide to implement as a business, considering privacy and the overall legal impact of your practices. Some areas also have general regulations in place, like GDPR
(General Data Protection Rule), the CalOPPA (California Online Privacy Protection Act), and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). If the site uses specific healthcare data or other sensitive financial information, there
could be additional financial or healthcare industry regulations you will need to comply with, like HIPAA. Ultimately, there are a lot of legalities to consider with your international eCommerce presence, including terms and policies, that
are absolutely critical to pay attention to from a business perspective.
There's nothing like having a successful operation in place which ends up getting shut down because a competitor happens to notice that your international eCommerce site is not complying with legal regulations in a particular region. The
related fines, penalties, interests and fees will be devastating. Not complying with standard terms and legal requirements can pose a significant risk to the health of your business. That being said, following the legal requirements isn't
necessarily overcomplicated. Much of the groundwork involves a basis of simply understanding these legal requirements, how they work, and going into detail around how each of the regions or countries specifically interpret and apply law
across the different areas.