Terms and conditions of use

1. Conditions of Use / General Conditions

Often referred to as ‘Online Store Terms,’ conditions of use outline what overall services you’re providing and what those services are conditioned on. Here’s a rough template of the clause, followed by an example from popular store WeeSqueak.

2. Data Protection Disclaimers / Privacy & Security

Not to be confused with your standalone privacy policy, an effective eCommerce terms of service should include your privacy and security terms. This data protection/privacy clause should clearly state what personal information of your shopper you use and store, and how it is protected.

This clause deals with the legality of your standalone privacy policy, including things like how your store brand handles things like security control, privacy policy changes and lists of legal disclosures. Alternatively, some are very short and include something like this: “Please refer to our Privacy Policy [linked] for our full privacy and security practices.”

Don’t forget to also add if you will be collecting UGC from Instagram marketing or other social channels and how they will be shared.

3. Delivery Terms

The delivery terms clause of the eCommerce terms and conditions is also often referred to as the ‘shipping policy’ and includes the basic shipping/delivery policy for your online store. These can be short and concise, or more comprehensive. Some brands opt to add just a simple line directing shoppers to a separate shipping/delivery document

4. Payment Terms

This is where you outline how payments are made when a shopper purchases a product from your store, and includes the terms and conditions involved in payment. In other words: the full payment needs to be made by [payment term], after which orders will be dispatched. This can also include special fees or billing charges, shipping taxes and more that may be relevant.

5. Billing Information Terms and Conditions

Billing accuracy is an essential clause for your terms and conditions template. This is where you outline your policy on restrictions based on sales quantities per person, as well as what the buyer is agreeing to, such as ensuring that they are providing complete, current and accurate account information. Here is a template supplied by Shopify

6. Product Information

A comprehensive eCommerce terms and conditions should include a clause outlining the product/s (or service/s) you’re selling. Here you can use a general policy and disclaimers and outline specific restrictions relating to your products, such as products that may be age-restricted, or warranty information. In the case of the former, some brands thoroughly set out product or service eligibility in its own clause, as outlined by Dollar Shave Club.

7. Liability Limitations

Every eCommerce T&Cs has to include a liability disclaimer. This clause protects eCommerce business owners like yourself from liability beyond the transaction, and will also outline warranty information and other limitation disclaimers. In layman’s terms, this is where you state that your store is not responsible for any liability, loss, personal injury, damage or expense that the customer may suffer after the transaction. Here is another example from Dollar Shave Club, followed by the liability limitations clause from GearBunch’s T&Cs.

8. Dispute Clause

Another must-have clause in your eCommerce terms and conditions is the dispute clause. This clause outlines how conflicts are dealt with and resolved, and by which law (location) the dispute will be handled. In other words, if your business is located and operated out of the US, then US law and dispute practices would apply. If you’re in the UK, then your terms and conditions need to state that disputes will be handled by the UK legal system and follow the dispute law of the UK.

Here is a rough idea (template) of your disputes terms and conditions to get you started:

Any dispute relating to any activity on [My Store] or the purchase of any [My Store] products shall be submitted to confidential arbitration in [State/Province], [Country], unless you have in some way threatened or violated [My Store]’s intellectual property rights, whereby [My Store] may seek an injunctive.

If you’re in Europe, you may be more familiar with the term ‘Choice of Law.’

9. Trademarks / Intellectual Property / Copyrights

To protect yourself, you need to include a trademark – intellectual property of copyright – clause. This clause protects your images, content, product names, business name, logos and design. In some cases, this info is included info under one heading, while other store owners opt for having different clauses outline the conditions for each. Here is a good example from the guys at Lootcrate.

10. External Links / Third-Party Links

Another important addition to your terms and conditions template for eCommerce is the clause that outlines external or third-party links. Simply put, this clause will state that third-party links have been included on your site for your site visitors’ benefit, but that you don’t have any control over the content on those pages. Shopify’s eCommerce terms and conditions template includes such a clause for third-party tools