Articles | Preparing your website for business

Cathrine Ripley explains the key points that should be considered by website owners before doing business on the web.

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Cathrine Ripley

Cathrine Ripley

Traditional retailing has had a rocky ride over the past few years with periods where sales volumes have been particularly vulnerable.  The icy-cold snap in March 2013 pushed online retail up by 16% compared with the previous year’s figures.  Combine this with the fact that sales via mobile devices were generally up 243% compared with the previous year and it will be no surprise to hear that companies are taking advantage of this.

Every business should be capitalising on these opportunities by making sure that for both advertising and legal reasons, their website is up to scratch.  Below we highlight some of the points that all website owners should consider.

General information

Business websites should display the following information:

  • company’s registered name and company number (even if your business trades under a different name, the company’s registered name should also be shown);
  • company’s registered office address; 
  • full contact details including an email address;
  • details of any public register on which your company appears, together with the registration details (e.g. if your company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, your website should state this along with the applicable registration number);
  • information about any supervisory body or trade organisation to which your business is subject along with details of any professional body with which you are registered; 
  • VAT registration number (if your company is registered for VAT purposes).

This information does not need to be displayed on every page of the website, but it should be easy to locate and clear to read.

Privacy policy and cookies

Where you are collecting information about the people viewing your website you should have a privacy policy.  This should set out:

  • How and why you collect the data;
  • What you will use the data for; and
  • How the data will be stored and kept safe. 

If your website uses cookies you need to provide clear information about them.  For more information on cookies, please read our article on them. 

Terms of website use

We also recommend that your website has clear terms of use explaining to visitors how they can expect to use it and what they are and are not entitled to do.  Important issues such as intellectual property rights can be included as well as other issues which are important and pertinent to your business. 

Pricing

If your website displays prices, these must be clear and state whether they include tax and/or delivery charges. 

Terms of business

Where orders are made through the website you should also ensure that you bring your company’s terms of business to your customer’s attention.  How you do this will depend on the design of your website, but the customer should be required to accept the terms of business before he/she is able to proceed with the order.

You should also comply with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 in providing information to customers, including information on the right to cancel the order where this is relevant.

If you would like advice on any of the issues highlighted in this article or on more specific issues such as using AdWords to promote your website, other advertising and marketing issues, or running competitions through websites, please contact Cathrine Ripley.