In today’s day and age every mobile, laptop or desktop essentially functions as a 24×7 retail store. Whether it is selling or buying stuff online, the process is no longer hectic, all thanks to e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Owing to the presence of such major online retail outlets you are always guaranteed a large buying audience for anything that you wish to sell.
However, in order to sell things online in an effective manner you also have to be well versed with certain legal requirements. Well, don’t worry, the pointers we have mentioned below will help you sell stuff online in a hassle free manner.
- Terms of service
In order to carry out your business there should be transparency in your policies. You should make your customers aware of your Terms and Conditions. If a customer is signing up to use your services and if those services include them receiving a mail from your behalf on a monthly basis, they should be made aware of the same. If the price of purchasing goods from your business has gone up, your customers should be notified about this in advance. You should send mails or application notifications (if you own one) to your customers for building a bond with them.
- Securing data
Would you go to a retail store that does not have in place a secure payment system for its customers? Similarly, as an online store you have to ensure that your customer’s payment information remains protected by employing reputable payment gateways. If your e-commerce site uses a third party company like PayPal to manage payments, a huge responsibility falls on your shoulder to ensure that you remain compliant with local data protection standards. It is necessary that customer’s personal information, credit card data and identity must be protected when they are making online purchases. You should make yourself familiar with PCI security data standards, gain knowledge on the best way to encrypt credit card data of customers to maintain checkout flow and secure their purchasing data.
- Protecting data
It is vital that you protect all the products/services that you are selling regardless of whether it is computer software or material goods that will last for years. To protect your business you might have to come up with your own exchange policy and apply for delivery insurance. You can also present customers with a cancellation policy, a survey for service review where they can provide feedback. It is necessary that a good two way communication is maintained between you and your customers. To maintain business, you will have to take care of your customers and not leave them in the dark. You should also explain to your employees as to how they are responsible and why it is necessary for a business to nurture a healthy relationship with its customers.
- Be original
Surely, you or maybe your employees must have come up with a great idea. But, have you done your due diligence by checking if that idea or the product that comes out of that idea is already in the market? It is bad to steal someone’s idea. How would you feel if a rival firm hijacks your idea and is dominating the market with it? Therefore, in order to protect ideas that will help your business grow in the future you must have it registered or trademarked. You can also apply for a patent and secure your idea. Getting your idea copyrighted will also help you earn some money in the future if someone steals it for personal gain.
- Keep up to date records
If you are not maintaining up to date records of transactions happening on your website, the above given pointers will fail their purpose. Not only should the records be visible to you, but also to your customers, so they’re able to access if need be. By keeping books open, both you and your customers will be protected. No doubt, maintaining a record of digital data is easier said than done, as the costs and risks involved are way too high. But simply explaining your customers as to how you are protecting their data will not be enough. In order to steer clear of legal matters, your company needs to maintain a record of how and when the customers were notified regarding the changes made in online terms.
Wouldn’t you like to write your own Will and ensure that your legacy stays protected even after you’re long gone? In the same way, when it comes to your business and customers (well, even that’s somewhat a part of your inheritance, isn’t it?) you’d definitely like to keep those competitors at bay! So to do just that, keep the above pointers in mind and run those ‘terms and conditions’ through a lawyer before sending it to the customers to ensure they’re iron clad strong.