THINGS TO KNOW WHEN SETTING UP AN E-COMMERCE BUSINESS

 

With the tremendous growth in E-Commerce in Nigeria, certain things need to be considered when setting up an online business;

  1. Protection of Business Idea
    A business idea should be protected before the product or service is ready for the market by using a Non-disclosure Agreement. One should also consider enjoying exclusive rights,arising from various types of intellectual property (IP) rights, including patents, trademarks, design  and copyright. This is to avoid the risk of losing one’s rights or being liable for  infringing the IP rights of others.
  2. Website Security
    It is pertinent to pay careful attention to the development and maintenance of one’s website. Dealing with cyber security incidents such as theft of consumers’ data, alteration of platform information,  website  shut down, and exposure of confidential information about the organisation  could have a negative impact on a business or  lead to diminished brand reputation, disrupted services, loss of consumer trust  and possibly   There are 3 core aspects of information security to be reflected upon before entering into discussions with hosting providers, viz:

  • Confidentiality: this is to protect consumer’s information (e.g. credit card numbers and personal information) from unauthorized parties.

  • Integrity: this is to protect information from being altered by unauthorized parties in order to be sure that the information is accurate and trustworthy. This  can be monitored by checking daily for altered files.

  • Availability: this is to make sure the website is up and running all the time. Implementing an emergency back-up power system and rigorously maintaining all hardware components are two of the keys to this.

  1. Set up a web Shop.
    First, a company domain name, which is  easy to remember and  associate with should be registered In order to protect a brand online,   variations of the main domain name should be registered, e.g. registering .com even if you plan to use .ng. This will help avoid  copycat sites or confusion for   There is no restriction on the number of domain names one can register. If a consumer mistakenly searches for a .com address online instead of .ng, they can automatically be redirected to .ng without even noticing they had initially made a mistake. General contact information such as address, phone numbers and email addresses should be provided. A disclaimer on the website which should be clearly communicated for general information purposes; and permission should be sought from  consumers to use cookies.
  1. Protect the personal data of consumers.
    Consumers sometimes share their personal data such as their names, addresses, bank or credit card details without much thought but as an online trader, personal data of consumers must be protected from misuse and their rights to privacy respected in  procession of personal data.

     5.  Online shop promotion.

Online advertising or commercial communication  enables easy access to target audience, market and competitive business. Forms of online advertising include web banners, e-mail marketing, social networking,Search Engine Optimization (SEO), etc. This which will help make sure that one’s business is high on the list of results produced through a  search engine.

    6. Terms and Conditions/Ordering process

Business terms and conditions and ordering process constitute a contract with a consumer. If the terms and conditions are clear and the ordering process is transparent, relationships with  consumers will be solidified and this would encourage  them to come back to the business website and make more purchases.

 In order for a contract to be valid and to minimize the risk of mistakes and misunderstandings that could jeopardize the contract, a business must comply with certain information requirements during the ordering process, viz;

  • Provide necessary information on the characteristics, prices and charges of the product/ service.
  • Inform consumers of the different steps involved in making purchase before they place their order.

  • Make sure the order is confirmed. To ensure the consumer understands clearly that they are confirming an order, display an‘acknowledgement page’. This page is used to confirm the details of the purchase clearly and prominently. This page should include the characteristics of the goods or services and the total price. Make sure consumers are appropriately directed to read and accept the terms and conditions of the contract.
  1. Payment options.
    Payment is an important factor in concluding a sale online. An easy and smooth payment process  reduces the risk of a shopping basket/cart being abandoned and will increase conversion rates from browsing to sale. This includes  giving  consumers a choice between different payment methods (e.g. credit or debit card, bank transfers, pay on delivery or some other means).
  2. Delivery services.
    Ecommerce is incomplete without proper delivery of goods therefore it is important to choose the delivery service that suits both the trader and consumer. In order to make the right choice, expectations of the consumer should first be understood.
  3. After-sales process
    Good after-sales service  enhances consumer loyalty and encourages consumers to visit the business site to make  more purchases, make good reviews and also advertise positively on  behalf of the company via word of mouth.
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