Opinion

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How merchants can avoid pitfalls of marketing in the online world

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A solid, well thought through business plan that clearly articulates the business objectives is critical from the outset not least in helping to engage with investors, partners and suppliers.

The construction or design refresh of the company’s website is often the next key step to take when launching a new business, branching out into international markets, or simply adding a digital element to a previously purely physical “bricks and mortar” operation.

If the design matches the business proposition, adds value for customers and provides reassurance about the product or service being offered, that can give the organisation real impetus and the potential to grow.

However, there are typically a raft of issues associated with selling online that many businesses fail to address. These range from terms and conditions to refund policies to contact telephone numbers.

All of those need to be considered and have a presence on the website – businesses that don’t do this look unprofessional and may fall foul of consumer protection law.

It’s a given that dealing with customers professionally and efficiently at all times is critically important but it is, if anything, even more important in the digital environment.

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Businesses need to be aware that as soon as they move from face-to-face to online customer interaction, the balance of power shifts to the consumer. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2014, the consumer’s right to cancel an order starts the moment they place their order and ends 14 days from the day they receive it.

In the online world also, unless there is indisputable documentary evidence to the contrary it is often easier for consumers to claim, for example, that they didn’t receive the goods, and therefore avoid payment.

While a well-designed website is great, there is also a challenge when it comes to processing payments – continue on the next page for understanding how to manage this issue.

Image: Shutterstock

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