Terms and Conditions, Privacy policies oh my!

Probably the most boring part of your website, but essential for your e-commerce website. Why? Because the banks and merchant services won’t give you your credit card facilities without them. We explore the key elements you need for a successful e-commerce site approval from the New Zealand banks. We are pretty sure you’ll find this useful wherever you are in the world too.

What are the main parts you need to include?

  • Privacy policy
  • Shipping policy
  • Returns policy
  • Terms and Conditions (or Terms of Trade)
  • Contact details

Let’s explore each one in more detail.

Privacy policy

With privacy laws changing all the time, it makes sense to have a privacy statement that explains how you collect and use customer data. With laws in Europe like GDPR and the Privacy Act in New Zealand, you can be sure any data breach will be treated harshly. Many of our clients keep confidential information as part of the services they provide. This means they need to be clear about what they collect and why. If you ask for a passport number, you must have a good reason to ask for it. Your privacy policy will cover this, how to request access to data held on behalf of a customer and how to request changes or have it removed.

Shipping policy

Informing customer when they can expect their products to arrive will minimise customer service requests. In all our years of building e-commerce sites, “where is my order?” has to be the bane of all our client’s business. Shipping expectations can easily be set, but rarely are, so the customer makes up their own expectations. When there are shipping delays outside your business, you end up getting the call, not the courier company. Having a clear, easy to understand shipping policy will help set the right expectation of your customers.

Returns policy

Knowing how I can return a product is helpful when things don’t go to plan. Ordered the wrong size? Product not as described? I need to know what my minimum statutory rights are, but also what your policy is on returning those shoes I ordered a size too small.

Returns cost a lot of money for e-commerce businesses, so minimising returned goods is the name of the game, but occasionally things go wrong, so you need to set out your process and the rules.

Terms and conditions

Good old T&C’s should be easily added to your website. These often cover a bit of all of the above but may need to be simplified for your website. You should have resolution processes, a little about privacy and outline your legal company name and physical address as a minimum here.

Contact details

So many e-commerce websites make it difficult for customers to call you, or ship returns. Make it easy for your customers to get hold of you. The following basics should help:

  • Legal company name
  • Physical address (or a postal address if you don’t want customers showing up to your warehouse door)
  • Phone number
  • Contact form or email address

Most customers are happy to email you, but not all. It goes without saying that any legitimate business won’t want to make it hard for customers to get in touch, but it would surprise you to find many businesses do.

What next?

As you can see, having each of these not only build credibility for your business, they help your customer find key information that will prevent problems later.

If you’re considering building an e-commerce website, give us a call. We’ve been building e-commerce sites for 20+ years and have helped many clients transform their business online.
 

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