What is an ecommerce Terms and Conditions (T&C) document?
Your Terms and Conditions (T&C) is a contract between you and your customer. Customers must agree to your terms in order to browse your site, make purchases, or use any associated services. By laying the code of conduct for your site and how visitors interact with it, your T&C gives you legal cover in the case of any disputes which might arise.
Why should you have Terms and Conditions for your ecommerce site?
While it’s true that hardly anyone reads a site’s T&C document, it’s still a good idea to create one for your website, particularly if you’re an ecommerce merchant. Here are the top reasons to outline your Terms and Conditions:
1. It provides legal protection
This might come as a surprise, but there is no legal requirement for ecommerce businesses to provide Terms and Conditions on their site. Because of this, many businesses make the mistake of thinking that T&C aren’t that important. But you risk leaving yourself open to legal action if you don’t have one.
Legal disputes cost a lot of time and money, and for the most part can be easily avoided if you put some pre-emptive groundwork in — i.e., your Terms and Conditions. When you set very clear rules of conduct, you can stave off a dispute before it happens. So, no matter what it is that you sell on your ecommerce site, you should make sure you are protected against any nasty surprises, such as misuse of your site or plagiarized content.
2. Your T&C can build customer trust
Being transparent with how you operate makes you much more trustworthy to consumers, compared with you having no Terms and Conditions available at all. This is important because trust is among the biggest concerns that consumers have when it comes to online purchases. Having well-crafted T&C could well be the difference between your customer choosing you over a competitor.
What to include in your Terms and Conditions
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of having Terms and Conditions for your ecommerce site, let’s discuss what it should include. Every website is different so, the sections of your T&C may vary, but here are some of the most common components typically included in an ecommerce site’s terms.
1. Information accuracy
If you are running an ecommerce site with a lot of product pages, it can be a full-time job making sure that all the information is accurate. It’s one of the most likely errors that will occur in your online store, so it opens the door to a lot of customer service issues. For this reason, it’s very important that you stipulate that information can sometimes be inaccurate and change without notice.
This section should mention that despite your best efforts, on-site information might not be up-to-date and that certain information (e.g., prices, product descriptions, stock quantities) may change without notice.