Before You Sell ANYTHING Online, Implement These 3 Legal Agreements
The world of online business is a great thing and has allowed many people to completely change their life.
If you scroll TikTok or Instagram for any amount of time, you’re sure to find someone telling their story of how they went from teacher to online business owner by selling [insert cool thing they created] online.
Or how they were able to retire their husband and travel the world by van all because of the product they created.
Or how they were able to quit their nursing career and stay home with their babies because of their digital product.
I LOVE seeing stories like this because it means that people are thinking outside the box, recognizing gaps in the market and using their talents to fulfill needs.
It’s truly crazy to see some of the things that people have come up with!
Just the other day I was scrolling TikTok and I found a girl that sells hand painted banners for parties and events – something that started as a simple hobby for her has turned into an actual business that she is seeing huge success from.
While I love to see these sorts of things happen in the online business world and believe that businesses like this can be a great thing, there’s a missing piece that people often don’t realize comes with it – and that is all things legal.
I know, I know… the word ‘legal’ tends to give off the “womp, womp, womp” vibe, but I’m not here to burst anyone's bubble or be the online business police. 🚨
In fact, I’m here to do the exact opposite. Even though I’m a practicing lawyer, I don’t want to be your lawyer… I want to show you and give you the tools so that you NEVER need one.
My ultimate goal is to help you continue to do the thing you love without experiencing any of the legal headaches that have the potential to creep up when you work in the digital space.
The reason this is so important is because it’s truly never been easier to sell something in the online world. New Shopify sites and Stan Stores are created daily, so it always appears to be just that simple.
And while it might be simple to set up the logistics of what you’re selling, there’s a few extra steps you want to take to ensure that you’re protected with any and all sales.
While I know you probably have great intentions and don’t *plan* on doing anything illegal or frowned upon, without proper policies and legal agreements you could find yourself in big legal trouble that could be easily avoided.
So, if you have an online shop of ANY kind – whether you’re selling digital goods and services or physical products – you want to make sure that you have these 3 legal agreements in place to protect you and your business for the long haul!
3 Legal Agreements Your Online Shop Needs
Whatever you do, do NOT skip this one!
Most privacy policies are fairly similar and include information such as:
- A detailed list of what personal information is collected
- How that information is collected, used and protected
- What rights the user has to the information they share
If you don’t disclose how you use consumer data like cookies, ad tracking and collecting email addresses, you can subject yourself to some pretty hefty fines – we’re talking up to $7500 per instance! 🥴
$50 now to save you $7500 or MORE in the future? It’s a no brainer!
An agreement like this is the first layer of protection for your content that essentially says, “Hey! You can’t steal my stuff and here’s how you can use my website.”
This is a legally binding agreement between you and ALL of your website visitors that typically covers topics like if or how they can use your website images (including your logo), how they can backlink to your website and even how they can quote your blogs.
This agreement also helps limit your liability for any possible errors, such as typos or technical glitches.
- Terms of Purchase / Service
Lastly, you want to ensure that you have a Terms of Purchase / Service Agreement that sets the rules for how your product or service can be used.
Not only does a Terms of Purchase Agreement cover how someone can use the product or service they purchase, but it also should cover policies that are a part of the purchase process, such as refunds, chargebacks or cancellations.
This type of agreement is often referred to as “Terms and Conditions”and you’ve likely seen these in action during your own purchases with various businesses.
Most businesses have the “I agree to these Terms and Conditions…” checkbox at checkout, which means that you’re actively agreeing to the terms the business has set up.
That little checkbox that you might be familiar with is called a “clickwrap” in the legal world and is the exact way that I advise business owners to display their terms.
When you set your terms as a clickwrap (NOT a browsewrap), your agreements are more enforceable if any legal action is ever needed!
When it comes to implementing Terms of Purchase for your online business, you want to make sure you’re including all of the applicable clauses to fully protect yourself.
Sometimes business owners aren’t sure what to include, so I’ve combined it all for you with THIS template!
Overall, having an online shop and selling digital products can totally change the game for people and I’ll always support those going after it.
But I’ll never stop shouting the legal things from the rooftops because the online shop that once felt like a game changer for you could quickly become the thing you resent if you start facing legal trouble.
So, go ahead and implement what you need to avoid all the legal drama – because we both know that no one's got time for that! 👏🏼
P.S. Need all 3 of these legal agreements? There’s a bundle for that!