Every 30 seconds, more than $1.2 million of transactions are made online in the United States. It’s fair to say that online shopping has become well and truly mainstream and this presents an excellent opportunity to you entrepreneurs out there.
If you have a good idea, a great product(s) to sell and you take the time to bone up on the best internet marketing techniques, you could set up an amazingly successful startup. However, if you want to stay on the right side of the law, there are a few things you will need to be aware of.
Transactions Should be Simple
If you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law with your new venture, you need to ensure that your transactions are as simple as possible. When a customer makes an order on your website, you will need to supply their goods within the timeframe stipulated. Of course, there can always be issues with carriers, but for the main part, you should deliver, and you should not be tempted to shave a few days off your delivery times if you want to keep customers happy.
Terms and Conditions Should be Included
You should always, preferably with the help of a good business lawyer from a law firm that specializes in this stuff, create comprehensive terms and conditions for your ecommerce site, Your terms and conditions should make it clear to your customers that when they make a purchase, they are agreeing to enter into a contract with you.
You should also lay out details of your shipping, payment and refunds policy, as well as any pertinent liability information for your company. You will need to ensure that these terms comply with the law in your business’ jurisdiction if you want to avoid any issues.
You should never, even for one second, think about ‘bigging up’ your products and services, telling what you consider to be little white lies to make more sales. Some customers might be fooled, but many won’t, and you could find yourself at the center of a fraud suit!
Offer a Cooling Off Period
If your business is based in the UK or Europe, then distance selling regulations stipulate that you must give your customers a 30-day cooling off period in which they can return any goods no questions asked. Obviously, if you aren’t doing business in these markets, this won’t apply, and many other markets are a lot more lenient in this respect, but you still need to find out what, if anything is required of you.
Even if you aren’t legally compelled to offer a cooling off period, it is a good gesture to make, which shows your customers that you are a kind, caring and legitimate company, so it’s worth considering.
If you want to stay on the right side of the law, it’s always best not to spam random people with your marketing emails. You should endeavor to only ever contact people who have agreed to be contacted just to be on the safe side. Behaving ethically will also help to boost your brand image.
When it comes to staying on the right side of the law in the ecommerce industry, this post has only scratched the surface, and highly recommend that you do lots of research and seek expert advice before proceeding. Good luck!