Ethics in e-commerce

05/04/2020 1 By indiafreenotes

Although the growth of e-commerce continues to provide businesses with more opportunities, the e-commerce industry faces many of the same ethical issues as traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. A key advantage of conducting e-business is that it gives small businesses access to a broader consumer market so they can compete with larger businesses. However, it’s up to the business owner to let customers know that a site is a safe and secure place for them to shop.

  1. Establish Core Values

As a major component of a company’s guiding principles, core values help a small business set priorities and plan for the future. These are the rules that govern how your company is run. Values give a company direction while a company code of ethics defines the behavior you expect your business to exemplify. Identifying a set of business values tells your customers that you are committed to providing quality service and that you take responsibility for the business decisions you make. Some companies publish their business principles on their websites for visitors trafficking the site to view.

  1. Post Your Business Policies

Do you accept returns? Under what conditions? Do you give cash returns or store credit? Are shipments insured? Where are you physically located? Do you offer customer support and service? 24/7?

Your business policies should be carefully laid out for all to see. There should be a large link off your home page to a page or two of your company’s policies. If you guarantee customer satisfaction, tell each customer. If there are conditions on returns, lay them out clearly. Skip the 6-point text on the back page (the fine print). Be straight with your customers right from the start.

  1. Gain Consumer Trust

Customers are more likely to view your business as legitimate if your website looks official. For instance, when customers see the Better Business Bureau seal displayed on your website, they know your business is making a commitment to meet their needs. A small business owner looking for accreditation can use the BBB seal to convey the message to consumers that the business is trustworthy. Consumers can identify if a business is a member of the Better Business Bureau by looking for the online BBB seal on the website.

  1. Secure Customer Data

Security of information is a major concern even for a small e-commerce website. It is the responsibility of e-commerce businesses to protect sensitive consumer data such as addresses, customer account numbers and bank and credit card information. Secure Socket Layer, more commonly referred to as SSL, is a system that encrypts information that is transmitted between the customer and Web server. Data encryption prevents hackers from gaining access to a customer’s personal and billing information. Business owners must purchase a SSL certificate for their website’s server.

  1. Create Ethical Web Content

Pay special attention to the marketing materials you include on your website. Avoid publishing misleading statements that could give consumers the wrong idea about the products you offer. For example, don’t exaggerate claims about the quality of a product. If you fail to deliver what you promise, the Internet can work against you as dissatisfied customers may spread the word to others via social networking sites. Keep the content on your site current so you continue to offer consumers reliable information. An additional factor to consider is that while search engine optimization can bring more traffic to your website, it’s your responsibility to supply useful and original content. According to SEO Workers, a group of Internet marketing consultants, websites that fail to offer valuable information are sometimes viewed as spam, which consumers usually don’t like.