GDPR in eCommerce: The Epiphany of Personal Data

A sudden realisation of who owns the Data.

Within the world of eCommerce, the practical totality of “Data assets” are made of Personal Data.

EmpathyBroker estimates on stake of Personal Data for average Tier 1 Online Store

Naming Personal Data as “Data assets creates a false sense of property (the notion of “asset”) on something that by definition belongs to someone else; the User.

GDPR acts as a kind of pedestal from which Personal Data is freed from hidden purposes, hence using the symbolism here of Delacroix’s 1830’s “La Liberté guidance le people.

Delacroix’s 1830’s “La Liberté guidance le people.
GDPR frees Personal Data from a company’s ownership to a People’s ownership.

Companies tend to collect this Data on the basis of potential future values, therefore hiding from the User the purposes of the capture.

However, all this Data belongs to every Person who created it; a shift for which GDPR is the ultimate catalyst.

…Our Consumer Data is not our Data…

The Epiphany of Personal Data

This is what I call the Epiphany of Personal Data; a sudden realisation of who owns the Data: The People who create it, not the Platforms who captured it.

The sooner one realises this truth, the earlier one can start to shift the mind. Trust me, it’s not easy to make this shift, a lot of thinking pillars need revisiting.

Everyone in the eCommerce organisation shall come to this realisation, from DevOps, Engineering, Design, UI/UX, Sales, Merchandising/Copying, Analysts, Finance, Architects, CXOs, everyone needs to grasp it.

In doing so, one can create the conditions to:

  1. Draw, from scratch, architectures that dissolve with this reality (Privacy by Design).
  2. Create Experiences that expose when, how and for what goal their Data is being captured (Transparency by Design).


Whether you are an Online Store, eCommerce Platform or the like, your company holds -but does not own-, this type of Data.
Call it consumer activity, affinities, locations, transactions, social, cookies…All of it belongs to a Person, not a company.
Realising the User owns the Data provides an unequivocal force to set the individual truly at the centre of everything we do; that’s what it’s all about.