Articles on: Settings

Stay Compliant With Rules and Regulations While Sending SMS Notifications

Plans: All plans Platforms: Shopify


Notifying customers about upcoming sales, new products, exciting coupons, etc. is essential, but complying with rules and regulations like TCPA, GDPR, CTIA, etc. holds the utmost importance. This help guide will teach you how to get consent from your customers for sending marketing notifications.

What you'll learn

In this tutorial, we'll discuss:

Key regulatory definitions
How to modify Shopify store settings
How to get customer consent

Key Definitions

TCPA stands for Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress and ratified in 1991.

The TCPA is a federal law and restricts telemarketing communications via voice calls, SMS texts, and fax. Without explicit customer consent, companies must adhere to strict solicitation rules, solicitors must honor the National Do Not Call Registry, and subscribers may sue a company that does not follow the TCPA guidelines.

Read more about TCPA here.

CTIA stands for Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, which represents the United States wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem in the United States, such as carriers and suppliers. The CTIA is not a legal authority, and you can't be sued for not following its guidelines, but you can suffer other consequences, such as being flagged or reported by your mobile carrier. In short, the CTIA promotes the industry’s voluntary best practices.

Read more about CTIA here.

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). The GDPR will levy harsh fines against those who violate its privacy and security standards. Please note that its penalties could reach tens of millions of euros.

Read more about GDPR here.

User MUST comply with our SMS content policy. By setting up an SMS flow with AfterShip SMS, you can notify your UK, US, CA, and AU customers through text messages.

Step 1: Set up Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in your store

To ensure compliance with relevant anti-spam and privacy laws, it is crucial for you to take appropriate measures and have both a Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions agreement in place.

Please consider the following information as our suggestions, not legal advice. Kindly contact your legal advisor regarding how to comply with rules and regulations set by your local government.

Suggestions for the Privacy policy

Describe what data (related to SMS marketing) you’ll collect and how you will handle it
Explain how and when you will use the collected data. Also, tell with whom you’ll share the data and why
When and what kinds of SMS texts shoppers will receive
Include additional privacy policy disclosures for abandoned cart. Your privacy policy must explicitly state how information is captured to determine when a shopping cart has been abandoned. For example, talk about website cookies, plugins, etc.

Suggestions for Terms of service

We recommend mentioning the following details in your terms of service:
Company’s legal name
Opt-in method: Mention how shoppers can opt for SMS notifications and what kinds of SMSes they will receive
Opt-out instructions: Tell how shoppers can stop receiving SMS notifications
Possible fees and Frequency: Explain how frequently shoppers will get SMSes from your side and also give clarity over charges for getting SMS alerts
Support instructions: Mention how shoppers can reach your customer service team
Give clarity regarding failed/delayed/misdirected messages
Share a link to your privacy policy

Guide on Shopify store setting

Now navigate to Shopify admin dashboard > Settings > Checkout.
Look for the Consent for marketing section and click the SMS marketing checkbox to enable SMS opt-in at Shopify checkout
You would be asked to modify your legal settings, which you should do by clicking the link

Now, you’ll find yourself in the Policies settings of your store, where you must add details to the Privacy policy and Terms of service sections.
Once you’re done, click Save, and add dedicated pages to your store.

Only for Shopify store
We’ve launched a multistep popup template to let you collect email addresses in Step 1 and get customers’ consent for SMS marketing in Step 2.

Just log in to your AfterShip Popups & Forms account > Go to Popups and forms > Click Create new form campaign > Select Email and SMS popup > Click Create.  

Key info to keep in mind:

In the Text section, we already have SMS permission text in the template by default. The reason is that store visitors should know why you are collecting their contact number. It will prevent unnecessary complaints against your notifications and keep you compliant

Besides this, ensure that the privacy policy and terms of service pages are updated. And the template is having the right links.

Phone number form: You can hide the phone number form on a mobile version if you select Mobile: Send SMS button. Web: Enter phone no.
In this case, the user's default message application will be opened automatically on their mobile device with a pre-populated text message including the opt-in keyword. Once they send the message, they'll start receiving text alerts based on your SMS flow settings.

What else can I do to stay compliant?

Another important aspect of SMS marketing is to send messages to recipients at the right time. You shouldn't take this lightly because TCPA prohibits texting after 9 p.m. and before 8 a.m. in the recipient's time zone. Even some states have more strict rules, such as Florida, which does not allow sending messages between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

By default, we enable quiet hours based on the recipient’s country code to prevent SMSes from reaching after 8 p.m and before 9 a.m. Your SMSes wait in a queue and get triggered automatically as soon as the quiet hour's duration ends

Note: If you have defined any other step after the SMS action in your flow and your messages are on hold due to quiet hours, the step will be delayed until the SMS is sent.

Change SMS quiet hours setting

Merchants can update the default SMS quiet hours by navigating to the SMS setting. Before adjusting the default settings, make sure you’re following the compliance requirements.

If you need any help, feel free to connect with our support team.

Updated on: 27/02/2024

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