Table of Contents
Online retail continues to grow in popularity each year with no signs of slowing down. E-commerce has become an essential component of everyday life for many people worldwide. E-commerce refers to a business model where goods and services are sold online. Also commonly referred to as ‘electronic commerce’ or ‘internet commerce’, e-commerce enables businesses to access wider markets, with anyone with internet access within reach of these businesses. Whether you are a small business just getting started, or an established business transitioning to the world of e-commerce, you must keep up with the most efficient ways to run your business. This article will take you through five e-commerce practices when starting an online store.
1. Understanding Intellectual Property
When setting up an e-commerce business, it is important to consider the intellectual property (IP) and copyright implications. E-commerce store owners are not exempt from trade mark and copyright laws, making it an important consideration. For example, e-commerce businesses should consider trade marking their brand assets. This may include their website name or logo. Doing so ensures others do not copy or steal them for their own use. This may have negative consequences, such as tarnishing your brand reputation.
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3. Establish Your Terms and Conditions
A terms and conditions page is useful to include on any e-commerce site. This important business practice serves as rules and guidelines between the business and the customer. It can help limit liability and disputes. The terms and conditions page should be easily accessible to all website users and include:
- information about delivery, payment and refunds;
- disclaimers; and
- the scope of the relationship between the business and the customer.
4. Consider Shipping
E-commerce businesses frequently deal with logistics companies. Thus, it is important to consider shipping practices when starting an online store.
Firstly, it is important to know what you can and cannot send via post. In Australia, the Australian Code for the Transport of Goods by Road & Rail outlines certain goods that you cannot send via post. Similarly, logistics companies will have their own restricted items or items requiring additional fees and paperwork before shipping. Therefore, before starting an e-commerce business, it is a good idea to consider what items you will be selling and how you can send them.
5. Protect Your Payments
When starting an online store, you should consider how you will accept payments. E-commerce stores must use only the most trusted and secure platforms to authorise payments. Any loss of customers’ financial data will have serious consequences. It is also important to consider what payment options are commonly used and acceptable for potential clients. Failure to provide access to preferred online payment methods has the potential to isolate prospective customers.
It’s now easier than ever to start a business online. But growing and sustaining an online business requires a great deal of attention and planning.
This How to Start an Online Business Manual covers all the essential topics you need to know about starting your online business.
The publication also includes eight case studies featuring leading Australian businesses and online influencers.
Whether you are a small business just getting started or an established business transitioning to e-commerce, you must keep up with the most efficient ways to run your business. Knowing the best practices to run your online store is a good start. Some e-commerce practices you should keep in mind include:
- understanding intellectual property;
- establishing your terms and conditions;
- considering shipping regulations; and
- protecting your payments.
If you need assistance establishing good practices for your e-commerce business, our experienced commercial lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or visit our membership page.
Frequently Asked Questions
E-commerce refers to a business model where goods and services are sold online. Also referred to as ‘internet commerce’, e-commerce enables businesses to access wider markets and market their goods internationally with fewer costs to get started. However, it is important to note that, like all businesses, e-commerce businesses are still regulated by laws.
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