Two recent examples of draft guidelines relating to ecommerce show why retailers must be prepared to lobby if they don’t want to be stuck with unworkable rules.

Ecommerce industry body IMRG last week published the response it has presented to the Information Commissioner’s Office relating to the consultation on the ICO’s online personal information code of practice.

IMRG’s response to the draft proposals is comprehensive, and demonstrates how poorly drafted regulations, or regulations that apply to all businesses without adequately taking into account retail, could create problems down the line. Not least of the points it raises is that the consultation makes no reference to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, despite this being an industry standard that retailers have already had to adopt. Retail Week will keep you informed on what comes of this feedback.

And IMRG is already involved in pushing for greater clarification on European-wide guidelines relating to distance selling, again warning that a lack of clarity at this early stage could leave retailers in the lurch.

In April the EU redrafted guidelines relating to distance selling were published that should help to level the competitive playing field relating to selective distribution. But the IMRG is pushing for more clarification, particularly on the point that retailers could be asked to have physical outlets by suppliers, even where the product does not warrant it.

The EU guidelines also state that suppliers can no longer prevent authorised sellers from selling on the internet. And they can no longer prevent online sellers from a taking a sale from across borders, though they cannot proactively market products to customers in countries where they are not authorised to physically sell them. For more information on how the changes will impact online retailers – especially of luxury items – see Forrester analyst Patti Freeman Evan’s blog post on the topic.

It is time-consuming and complicated for retailers to try and keep up with all the additional regulations and guidelines that they are supposed to adhere to. But unless they are prepared to get involved in their shaping, then they may find themselves bound by rules that are unworkable for years to come.