Here are a few things you should know about me, the way I run my business, and how you are treated as my honored guests and favorite customers...
What Personal Info Is Collected
• I have two types of accounts in my shop, one for "guests" and one for "members".
As a guest, you can still browse and shop without providing any permanently stored information: obviously, you'd need to provide a shipping address to receive your order, but I don't keep your address recorded onsite, nor do I write it down and harass you later.
• Your name and billing address is collected solely to complete your transaction and ship it to you.
If you paid via Paypal, they do keep a record of your address in the transaction history... but I rarely dig through old orders unless the customer contacts me with a concern.
I'm the type of person who dislikes creating user accounts for each and every online shop, and I loathe passwords that force me to dig through two years of archived emails to find again... I mean, when I have to "log in" to purchase a $13.00 cartridge of ink, it gets a bit rediculous. So I understand why some folks might not want "to join", especially if this is an impulse purchase and you don't plan to return. :)
However, there are some cool perks to becoming a member of my shop, including personal recommendations based upon your past purchases, and the ability to leave ratings and reviews on items (which are made visible to other shoppers).
• Membership involves providing your name, e-mail address, and billing/shipping address, which is stored in your Personal Account, which you can access (with your username/password) and update at any time.
Members also have the option to create a personal Address Book to store shipping addresses for their friends and family, enabling them to send gifts directly to the recipient. These addresses are only used for shipping and delivery confirmation.
I have a feature allowing you to e-mail friends to share specific stuff you've found on my site, but I don't store your friends' e-mail addresses, unless they come back and create their own account, although I might make a note of which item you've found interesting enough to share. Popular items might wind up being featured, or even develop into an entire series, in the future. :)
Providing your phone number is optional, because I don't want to harass you over the phone.... and I won't send you unsolicited stuff in the mail either. (Except for Lily - I sent her the original "Dearest Lily" painting as a surprise gift - but we're actually good friends, so I knew she would appreciate it, and not report me to the Feds)
Cookies - yummmm!
There is a cookie-tracking program installed on my site.
I was disappointed that cookies aren't made from oatmeal and chocolate chips, but they also aren't the scary evil things that we were warned about 15 years ago... when everyone was like, "Arrrgh! Disable your cookies!"
If cookies make you queasy, they can be disabled easily on your browser, but some shop functions might not work properly without them.
Cookies do collect basic information about your visit; such as where you came from, which pages you visited, and the length of your stay.
How Information is Used
So what do I do with all your info? Ideally, I sift through it and create cute little bar-graphs of my customer base, to create an overall profile of my customers, which helps me manage this shop and make beneficial improvements.
From studying your visit, I can determine...
• where in the world the majority of my customers and visitors are coming from
• how they find my site, and how long they browse before they lose interest, or make a purchase
• which areas and pieces in my shop gain the most attention, and how many actual sales are made in those areas
• which areas and products are being completely ignored
• how successful my promotional efforts, mewsletters, and coupons are...
It's what the large companies refer to as "gathering research". I don't "research" as often as I should; I'm usually too busy creating artwork, or Twittering and Facebooking about my artwork.
Outside Party Disclosure
I don't stalk people (regardless what my exes tell you) and I absolutely DO NOT sell customers' addresses and names to third-parties.
This information is mine, all mine. But seriously.... I think it's rediculous to spend money on lists of names; every time I get spam from companies like Rogaine and eHarmony, I just laugh maniacally - like this, "Muahahahaha!" knowing they wasted their money on someone who will never use their product or service.
I also hate the telemarketing industry, and more recently, the inbox-spamming industry. If you work as a telemarketer, I do not hate you personally. I just hope that your job is rewarding you for the torture you endure each time my husband answers your calls. I don't answer telemarketers' calls, period.
Bottom line: Your info will probably be used once in a blue moon, but NEVER by anyone other than myself.
Newsletters, E-Mail Coupons, Etc.
I try to send monthly - more likely, bi-monthly - newsletters, called "Mewsletters" to people who opt to receive them, and there is an "unsubscribe" option available as well.
I also like to send my customers an occasional e-mail coupon or discount... again, these services are geared towards people who enjoy my work and wish to collect my pieces for themselves, or to send as gifts.
You always have the opportunity to decline any notifications or special offers ... but those who know me well will tell you, that I'm not the spammy 10-messages-in-your-box-per-day type.
Imagine! Some companies actually pay people to sit at their desks and write spam all day!
I work hard to keep things secure...
• with my SSL Certificate, and encription of data
• by using funky, long passwords and administrative file names, like this: f9kHSDIUR8ihtjfzdh25_0rjdyrhAEir5r (note: that is just an example... don't try that password at home)
• by not sharing said passwords with anyone, and keeping the only written copies in a secure locked place
• by regularly reading the updates regarding potential threats, and implementing any prevention measures, posted by the geeks running my webhost's security forum...
I cannot guarantee 100% that some criminal mastermind won't gain unlawful access to this site's contents - even huge companies with billions of dollars, like eBay and Amazon, can't make THAT promise (read THEIR policies, heh).
However, our personal information is extremely important to me (my info is stored here, too!) and I will do my best to guard it... and will notify you immediately if there is any threat.
If you have any additional questions concerning my privacy statement, you may contact me below.
800 W Franklin St.
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740