by Mark Ruthenberg
General Manager, FoundLocally.com
E-commerce on a web site is becoming a fairly standard thing, as more consumer are shopping on-line, and better software is available to cost-effectively develop e-commerce web sites.
Here are five things to look for, to help determine if an e-commerce site is good:
- They tell you they won't charge your credit card until goods are shipped from their warehouse.
- The site should use encryption software (see the lock "locked" at the bottom of your browser screen) to ensure that your credit card number cannot be red by other servers along the Internet
- Shipping & Delivery policies, times and charges are clearly stated. Returns policies (and who pays for shipping) should also be clearly stated.
- Goods sold on-line have clear descriptions and good photos. Clothing should describe fabric content, special care instructions, and show samples of colour choices, for example.
- You should be able to order product either by phone or on-line. Not everybody feels comfortable ordering on-line. Toll-free service or help should also be offered.
While these are ideals, they are not necessarily appropriate for all goods and services sold over the net, not necessarily appropriate for all companies. Recently some large e-businesses (names you'll know!) have stopped allowing toll-free phone ordering, saying the human labour cost of doing so exceeded their product margins