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Compliance check list every online store needs

Compliance check list every online store needs

There are a few policies you need to have on your website to make sure you have all the legal stuff sorted.

We can’t give you legal advice, so this is just general information. If you have any further questions, please consult a local lawyer or privacy professional.

We are going to cover the following in this article:

  1. Laws, regulations and standards
  2. Insurance
  3. Terms of service
  4. A privacy policy
  5. Shipping policy
  6. Returns policy

 

Mandatory product standards:

Your product may be in a category that is covered by mandatory product standards. It is compulsory to have particular safety features or information on products for legal supply of the product into the Australian market. It is an offence to supply goods that do not comply with mandatory standards and you may face a fine or penalty.

There is a range of products that come under the standards including anything, but certainly not limited to, baby and kids toys, bean bags, cosmetic labelling, Care labelling for clothing & textiles, Sunglasses, toys and the list goes on.

Check out the ACCC Product Safety Australia website for more information.

And if you sell to other countries make sure you check that you comply with their standards too.

 

Insurances:

Insurance is something that is specific to each situation. We recommend that you talk to a broker to see what kind of insurance you and your business need.

Here is some general information about insurances you may need to consider:

  • Liability insurance and this usually covers you in case someone gets injured while using your product, no matter where they are.
  • Property insurance and this usually covers the loss or damage to your physical products. It’s important to note that your existing homeowner’s policy would cover your personal items, but likely won’t cover anything related to your business. If you run your business from home, it’s important to have both aspects covered unless you could replace all of the inventory and equipment out of pocket.
  • You may also need to look at transit and shipping insurance.

Again, we recommend you talk to a trusted insurance broker to see what insurances you may need.

 

Terms of service policy

Your website needs to have a terms of service policy. This lets anyone who visits your site know things they are and aren’t allowed to do when shopping on your site.

You need to state your terms of use in clear, simple, and easily understood language.

Your terms of service need to include terms around products, billing information, third-party tools and links, indemnity and governing law.

Now this all sounds a bit complicated but Shopify have provided a free terms of service policy generator.

 

Privacy policy

Your online store needs to have a privacy policy.

Online privacy is important because as an online seller, you collect and retain personal information about your customers including their name, address, email address, and possibly their credit card and other types of financial information. As the online store owner it is your responsibility to ensure this personally identifiable information is protected, and that when you collect such data you comply with federal and state privacy laws. And privacy policies are mandated by law in many countries.

Your privacy policy needs to clearly state what kind of personal information you will collect from users visiting your website, who you will share the information you collect with, and how you will use and store that information. And your privacy policy needs to be clearly accessible on your site.

You need to comply with the laws of the location that you are selling to.

Most countries have their own privacy policy and if you sell in that country you need to comply. Some of the more newly introduced laws to be aware of are:

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the Greater Union’s data privacy law and affects you if you are based in Europe or who serve European customers.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a California law that gives California residents more control over their personal information. If your website is available to California residents or you are involved in the sale of California residents’ personal information, then this law likely applies to you.

Shopify have a great whitepaper on CCPA and GDPR if you need more info on this.

We can’t give you legal advice, so this is just general information. If you have any further questions, then consult a local lawyer or privacy professional.

Shopify have a free privacy policy generator that you can access.

 

Refund policy

A good refund or return policy can help protect your company and win your customers’ trust, which in turn increases conversion.

We recommend having a really good returns policy. And by good, we mean good for your customer. Make it easy for them to return items. Don’t make them jump through hoops.

People are literally taking a leap of faith when they shop online. They need to trust that the product is as good as you say it is and they need to trust that they can return it if they don’t like it.

If you don’t have faith in your products why should your customers?

Sure, by having a returns policy you may have some returns to deal with, but this will be far outweighed by the increased conversion rate.

Shopify have a free refund and returns policy generator that you can access.

 

Shipping Policy

Another policy that you should have on your website is a shipping policy.

Customers have been burned by orders taking 6+ weeks because they unknowingly purchased from a dropshipping site. So having your shipping terms clearly stated is really important to build trust and to increase your conversion rate.

You want to let people processing times, shipping times, shipping methods and different policies for different locations or order values if you have that. You don’t have to be boring here either, you can add some flare to your shipping page by including pictures of you packing orders and how your orders look when they are sent. People love a good unboxing experience.

 

Spam

 If you send out your marketing emails or messages, you need to know about spam laws.

If you plan to send marketing messages or emails, you must first have permission from the person who will receive them.

Even if someone else is sending out your marketing messages for you, you must still have permission from each person who will receive your messages.

After you get permission, you must ensure your message:

  • identifies you as the sender
  • contains your contact details
  • makes it easy to unsubscribe

 

Getting permission

A person who gives express permission knows and accepts that they will receive marketing emails or messages from you.

People can give express permission by one of the following:

  • filling in a form
  • ticking a box on a website
  • over the phone
  • face to face

 You cannot send an electronic message to ask for permission, because this is a marketing message.

Keep a record when a person gives express permission, including who gave the permission and how.

Under the Act, it’s up to you to prove that you got a person’s permission.

You may infer that a person gives permission to get your marketing messages if you can satisfy both of the following:

  • they are a current customer
  • the message you want to send is related to the product or service they already bought from you

For more information about spam laws in Australia check out the ACMA’s website and if you are sending to another country, be sure to comply with their spam laws.

Final word

So to make sure your website ticks all the rules, regulations and legal boxes make sure you have these elements covered:

  1. Laws, regulations and standards
  2. Insurance
  3. Terms of service
  4. A privacy policy
  5. Shipping policy
  6. Returns policy

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

A sneak peek into our facebook ad campaigns

A sneak peek into our facebook ad campaigns

There is a lot of fear flying around at the moment due to Covid19. We’re hearing things like

  • “If you aren’t discounting, you aren’t competitive”
  • “People aren’t buying”
  • “I’m going to pause everything until this blows over because you can’t get good results at the moment”

Fear is really dangerous. Fear is contagious, and it is often worse than the thing that we’re initially afraid of.

Fear often comes from the unknown, so we wanted to get real with you and show you what’s happening for our clients.

Did you know that we also run a boutique Facebook Ads agency where we manage clients ad campaigns for them…

We wanted to lift the hood and give you a sneak peek into our current results.

Below are 2 screenshots from 2 very different accounts, with 2 different budgets.

We know there are a heap of numbers here, so what do you look at to make sense of it all?

  • Amount spent: this is how much was spent on Facebook ads
    Purchase conversion value: this is how much was made in sales on the website as a result of the ads
    ROAS: return on ad spend

Both of these accounts are NOT discounting, people are still buying, and they are getting good results.

So, if you have felt yourself slipping into a state of fear… breathe.

Surround yourself with evidence of success, abundance and positivity.

If you’d like to learn more about running Facebook ads for your online store, click here to take our FREE Facebook Ads Masterclass.

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

We purchased from 30 online stores – here’s what we learned

We purchased from 30 online stores – here’s what we learned

In light of the current pandemic a lot of businesses are feeling unsure, overwhelmed and uncertain of what will happen to their business, income, etc..

Inspired by Denise Duffield-Thomas, Karyn and I decided we would commit to supporting online store owners in various ways, including by spending with them.

We asked people to share their products with us in a post in our group, then we went on a support shopping spree.

Why? 

  • We wanted to intentionally act from a place of support and abundance, not scarcity or fear
  • We knew that the little cha-ching sound of a purchase would spark confidence & optimism for online store owners
  • We hoped it would encourage people to pay it forward and to spread love and abundance by shopping with other small business owners.

We made a purchase from 30 online stores and while we were there we observed the following opportunities to improve: 

When someone asks for a recommendation, send them to the product page, not your home page

Heaps of people said they recommended a certain product but sent me to the home page. This is like asking a shop assistant where the soap is and they say “in the shop somewhere” as opposed to “isle 10 just past the tissues”.  Don’t make it hard for people to find what they are looking for and to give you money.

On that, if someone does happen to land on your home page, make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. Think of your menu like isles in a supermarket. Clearly categorise and communicate what you sell and where people need to go on your site to find it.

 

Limit distracting pop ups

Turn off pop-ups that distract your customers’ attention. For the most part, pop-ups are simply annoying and don’t increase your chances of making a sale. Just because you can have them, doesn’t mean you should.

 

Ask for people’s emails, but don’t send people away from your site

Capturing an email address is great because not everyone is going to purchase the first time they visit your site. By getting their email (and their permission to send them marketing communication) you can continue building up the relationship with them until they decide to purchase from you, or unsubscribe. If you are going to offer an incentive in exchange for someone’s email address:

  1. Make sure the incentive is good. “Subscribe for the latest updates” is not enticing.
  2. Don’t send people away from your website to get their code. A lot of sites said “thanks, check your inbox for your code”. What you’re doing here is basically sending people away from your website to a place filled with other brands’ offers and marketing communications.

Here are 2 websites that I thought offered particularly good incentives in exchange for my email: https://psimvegan.com.au/ and https://tribeskincare.com.au/

 

Don’t deter people with shipping

Free shipping is the best so if you can, offer free shipping. Or at least have a free shipping threshold where people have the option of qualifying for free shipping if they spend over a certain amount. We have an entire blog dedicated to shipping if you’re curious to learn more about the psychology of shipping and how it can impact your online stores’ conversion rate.

If you are going to charge shipping, communicate it early. There’s nothing worse than spending time browsing a site, picking out an item, adding to cart, initiating checkout then being hit with surprise shipping costs, especially if the cost of shipping is almost the same as the product you are buying. It’s just annoying. Clearly tell people what they can expect to pay for shipping upfront and all throughout your site.

A surprising number of sites had “local pickup – free shipping” selected as the default shipping rate. This doesn’t show until the final checkout so you think you’re getting free shipping until all of a sudden you aren’t. Super annoying and an unnecessary obstacle.

 

Keep it super simple

Remember not everyone knows as much about your product for the first time. When designing your product page try to step into the shoes of someone who has never seen your brand or product before. What do they need to see to be enticed to buy?

  • Don’t try to over complicate things. Communicate what you sell, who it’s for and why they should buy it in a clear, simple, easy-to-understand way.
  • The standard works. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when you’re designing your site. Consumers are used to websites being laid out in a certain way. If you try to be too different people won’t know where to look. Be different in other ways, like your images and language, not the layout of your site.

Images are everything!

Images are one of THE most important elements of your online store. Include a mix of product-only and lifestyle images (images that show your products used in context). Make sure you show every angle of your product and if you sell clothes, tell us what size the model is wearing. Oh, and keep your images all the same size. You don’t want people noticing little discrepancies and taking their attention away from you and your products.

 

Make sure you have a Pixel properly installed on your website

A Facebook Pixel is a free little piece of code that you can install on your website and it allows you to retarget people like magic after they have been onto your website. 76% of websites we purchased from either didn’t have a pixel, or had that was not paired with a catalogue.

 

Make sure you have a privacy policy

Exactly 50% of sites we purchased from didn’t have a privacy policy. Your online store needs to have a privacy policy and in most countries is governed by law. Shopify has a free privacy policy generator that makes it easy to create a privacy policy for your website.

 

Aim to make your packaging instagramable

You want your packaging to be Instagramable. People love a good unboxing experience and when your packaging is a little bit special it makes the experience more engaging, memorable and sharable. Of course, you want to make the packaging, wrapping and materials that your product comes in beautiful and on brand, but by adding something a little extra goes a long way. https://bytaralouise.com.au/ popped in a lollypop which was super cute, memorable and put a big smile on my face.

Also, make sure your packaging aligns with your customers’ values. Consider environmentally friendlier packaging options.

 

Focus on repeat purchases

As well as acquiring new customers we also want to focus on repeat purchases and loyal customers. Selling to an existing customer is much easier, quicker and cheaper than acquiring a new customer.

Send follow-up communication. So often people put so much effort and energy into acquiring a new sale they forget that the purchase journey doesn’t end at the checkout. Don’t forget to continue on the communication with customers after the sale.

 

Share the love & keep moving forward

The more success you have the more positive impact you can have on your life, your family, your community and the world around you.

If you are feeling helpless at the moment, the best thing you can do is to support someone else. On the other hand, if your store is experiencing success, as a lot are at the moment as more people move to online shopping, share the love and support another business. It will literally make their day.

We hope this feedback will help inspire and motivate you to improve your online store. Comment and let me know if you’ve found this helpful and what areas you are going to focus on first.

PS: We have also created this eCommerce Thrive Guide. In this guide we illuminate proactive, positive actions you can take to strengthen your business now, and into the future. Click here to access the guide now. 

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

Top 5 mistakes online store websites make & what we recommend instead

Top 5 mistakes online store websites make & what we recommend instead

Your website is a critical element to the success of your online store. And so often we see people driving traffic to a site that isn’t ready for it. 

We call this, not being Traffic Ready. 

It’s like turning on a tap without having any buckets in place to capture the water, or at best, having very leaky buckets. 

So how do we get Traffic Ready? 

We do this by reviewing and auditing your website through a quantitative and a qualitative lense – and making updates based on our findings. 

We’ve done over 200 online store website audits and we see the same mistakes coming up again and again.  

Here are the top 5 mistakes people make on their website.

Mistake #1: Not having crystal clear messaging 

When someone hits your site you have a few seconds to make a good impression, and for them to take that next step. 

They need to know that they are in the right place, immediately. 

When we live and breathe our products it’s so easy to forget that not everyone knows as much as we do about them. It’s so easy to end up with messaging that’s not clear and a little bit diluted. Often you are so close to your product and your brand that you totally miss the most important messaging because you think that it’s obvious. 

What we recommend:

Make sure your image and text let people know exactly what you sell and why they should buy from you within 3 seconds of hitting your site, without scrolling down. 

We have also created a 3 second test which you can access in our free group

Mistake #2: The focus is on the logo

We often see the logo take front and centre. When your logo is front and centre, it takes up a lot of valuable real estate that could be used to showcase your value proposition and products. Now, I’m sure your logo is gorgeous, but people aren’t coming to your website to buy your logo. People come to your website to see what’s in it for them. 

What we recommend:

Reduce the size of your logo and left-align it in your menu bar. This way your logo is still seen, but it won’t take up space that could be used for sale-generating information. 

Mistake #3: Using default headlines

Default headlines 

There is nothing worse than seeing the default headings still in use on a website.

What we recommend:

Don’t be generic when it comes to the headings used throughout your site. Get creative and use call to actions that are in line with your brand. 

Mistake #4: Not having a pixel installed 

The Facebook pixel is a free peice of code that allows you to create and target audiences based on the actions people take on your website. Without a pixel you can’t retarget people on Facebook. 

What we recommend:

Even if you aren’t running ads now, install the Facebook Pixel so you are collecting this powerful data now. 

Mistake #5: Having pop-ups that drive people away from the site 

We often see pop-ups that offer an incentive in exchange for an email address. The problem that we have with this is the message that follows the email entry.

It’s usually something like “thanks, please check your email to receive your code”.

This is another way of saying “thanks, please leave our website and go to your inbox. The same inbox that is flooded with offers from other stores where you may get distracted and never come back to our store again”. 

What we recommend:

Keep people on your site. Sure send them an email too. But let them access the incentive without having to leave your site.  

Final word 

Use these most commonly made mistakes to do an audit on your own site and see if you are making them too. And if you are, take action now to resolve them. 

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

Are your prices on your online store too low?

Are your prices on your online store too low?

When you compete on price it’s a very fast race to the bottom.

Bargain Hunters are Only Loyal to Price

If someone bought from you due to your low prices, they’re likely to buy from someone else the minute they find a cheaper alternative.

As soon as there is a cheaper option, you lose that customer.

And, in the world of eCommerce, there will always be a cheaper option.

You get what you pay for

Another fundamental reason we don’t compete on price is fundamental human behaviour. 

You get what you pay for” has been so deeply ingrained in our psyche that if it’s cheap, we expect it to be nasty. 

Healthy profit margins are essential

Profit margins are another seemingly obvious reason we don’t want to compete on price. 

Less money per unit, in turn, means you need to sell significantly more items to make the same profit you did before you slashed your prices. 

Huge companies who turn over hundreds of thousands of units can afford to make very small profit margins. 

It takes time, energy, effort and most importantly money to run an online store as a proper business. And running a business is already difficult enough when you’re making a healthy profit. 

People pay for values

People will pay extra to buy a product that aligns with their values. 

What we buy tells the world something about who we are. Buying an expensive handbag tells the world “I can afford this” (even if they can’t). Buying ethically made products tells the world “I care”. 

People pay for rare 

When something is rare, it is perceived as more valuable. Think gold, gems and natural resources as examples.

Can you create a limited edition variation of your product? Or perhaps partner with other brands, designers or artists to create limited-edition collaborations. Could create a version of your product with a specific colourway to celebrate or support an event, cause or charity close to your, and your audiences, heart? 

Final word

Competing to be the lowest-priced retailer is a fool’s game. One we don’t want to play.

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

How to get more new customers to buy from your online store

How to get more new customers to buy from your online store

Getting new customers is essential for the growth of your online store. 

Someone who has never purchased from you before is literally taking a leap of faith that your product is as good as you say it is.

New customers are taking a chance on you. Can you take a chance on them? 

There are a few ways to encourage new customers to take that leap of faith and buy from you for the first time. 

  • Incentivise them by offering something for their first purchase. This could be a discount in the form of a percentage or dollar amount off their first order. A note on this one – it must be enticing. Do not offer 5% off as that will just look stingy and you might as well not offer anything. 20-30% is enticing.
  • Offer highly reduced trial kit for their first-time purchase. Or even a free sample pack if you sell a consumable.
  • You need to have a really good money-back guarantee. And I mean good for the customer. If you don’t have faith that they will love your product, whey should they?

  • Shipping is one of the biggest barriers that stops people from buying online so have free shipping or a free shipping threshold

It is always going to cost you more time, effort and money to get that first sale. That’s why it’s important to understand what the lifetime value of your customer is, and how much you can afford to spend to acquire a new customer. 

Click here to find out how to calculate the lifetime value of your customers and cost per acquisition budget. 

Of course, once someone has taken a leap of faith to purchase from you for the first time you need to give them a fantastic experience and focus on keeping them as a customer.

Not only does this encourage them to be loyal, it also gives them a reason to tell your friends how great you are – which in turn leads to more new customers. 

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact.