I love online shopping. It’s convenient (can be done from the couch after a hectic day), allows you to shop around and doesn’t involve bringing a persistent toddler to climb the shop walls.
Given Australia’s initial reluctance to embrace online shopping I couldn’t have imagined that we would so quickly reach an age where online shopping would become so popular.
It is no surprise that as technology continues to develop, consumers have been moving towards e-commerce and the Internet as their medium of choice for purchasing goods. In 2015, digital sales of video games in Australia have, for the first time, outperformed the traditional brick and mortar sales. According to a study conducted by the Interactive Games Association of Australia, Aussies spent $2.832 billion on video games last year, with approximately 56 per cent coming from digital video game sales. While the video game industry as a whole continues to grow, even in traditional retail sales, it has become more important than ever to pay particular focus to e-commerce.
Many of my retail clients have embraced the growing popularity of digital sales by implementing their own online shopping websites in addition to their traditional retail stores. I have also worked with many clients who have chosen to conduct their business almost completely online – 5 years ago this was almost unheard of.
However, some businesses forget that the online platform must still abide by Australian Consumer law, and that it may also fall under other Internet-specific laws that need to be considered.
- If a customer wants to return a faulty good, do you know who has to cover the return shipping costs? Make sure you have a solid Returns Policy that meets with Consumer Law standards.
- If a product is damaged in the delivery process, who is liable? Ensure that you have a Delivery Policy, insurance and good terms with your carrier to protect yourself.
- Do you distribute marketing emails? You must ensure that it does not fall under the SPAM Act.
- Do your electronic transactions meet with the requirements of the Electronic Transactions Act?
- The Internet makes it easier than ever to copy or steal a brand/logo. Is your brand or logo protected by Trademark registration?
- Do you know how you are allowed to deal with negative reviews? Deleting them may be considered misleading and deceptive and result in penalties.
Along with these considerations, Australian law relating to the Internet and e-commerce is continually being reformed to reflect the modern needs of society – make sure you are continually reviewing your e-commerce contracts, terms and policies to ensure that it meets with today’s standards.
I’ve worked with many clients to develop effective and complete legal document packages for their e-commerce websites. If you are looking to protect your online business, don’t hesitate to give me a call on 1300 033 934 or email me at for a no obligation chat.