Does Your Ecommerce Site Comply?

Ecommerce MarketingThis month (Oct 2012) the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said that more than a third of the UK’s top online retailers could be breaking consumer laws!

The OFT looked at 156 top ecommerce sites and found that 62 may not be fully complying with consumer protection law. This included unreasonable restrictions on refunds and compulsory charges being added without prior warning during the checkout process.

As many smaller online retailers use larger sites to set the example for their own online sales policies many more ecommerce sites could also be breaching UK consumer protection law.

Ecommerce UK Consumer Rights

Below is a brief summary of some key consumer rights, if you are an online retailer making sure your sales policy is in line with these will help keep you the right side of the law in the run up to Christmas.

  • Goods must be delivered within 30 days, unless agreed otherwise
  • Customers can cancel an order within seven working days (longer for financial products) and must be given a full refund
  • When refunding the refund should include any delivery charges
  • Customers do not have to return the goods in their original packaging
  • The customer is responsible for the safe return of items
  • As the retailer you will have to pay for return postage if the items are going back because they are faulty or not as ordered

Other Mistakes to Watch Out For

As well as the above if you are trading online you must provide an email contact address, as opposed to a web contact, otherwise you are breaching E-Commerce regulations.

In addition all charges should be clearly displayed upfront and not hidden at the checkout.

Online retailers who don’t comply with the law could be taken to court and face fines, so don’t taking your compliance fore granted.

Maximising Sales

So why have some retailers been less than compliant when it comes to consumer law. In the instance of hidden charges this could be a genuine concern that customers may be put off by these costs.

Whatever the reasons ultimately the consumer law is there to make sure customers get a fair deal and are full informed, because that is what they want. There are better ways to promote your products and encourage sales while keeping your website compliant.

Cornish WebServices are experts in internet marketing with a proven track record of real results. We focus on giving clients a genuine return on their investment and for retailers that means reaching more customers and generating more sales.

To find out more visit http://www.cornishwebservices.co.uk/

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So What is S & OP?

Sales and operations planning or S & OP is a structured forum and its related process for communication and decision making relating to supply and demand.

S & OP MeetingsThe main goal is for the decision making team to continually strive for and optimise the operational functions of their organisation, which can include:

  • Product development and marketing
  • Customer development and sales
  • Finance
  • Product supply

In addition the S & OP process includes the following updated plans:

  • Sales plan
  • Production plan
  • Inventory plan
  • Customer lead-time (backlog) plan
  • Product development plan
  • Strategic initiative plan
  • Resulting financial plan

Decisions at the Right Time

Timing is key as all S & OP decisions need to be taken at the right time and take into account the balance between flexibility, demand and capacity.

As a rule when doing long-range forecasting plan flexibility can be extensive while predictions on supply and demand can be inaccurate so several long-range forecast scenarios will need to be in place. This long-term strategic planning can be complex and the decision process is often slow.

When looking at the short-term view often just a few weeks ahead this operations planning finds that flexibility is more limited while predictions on demand and capacity tend to be more accurate making decision making much simpler and quicker.

Sitting between these is a middle stage or tactical planning stage looking only months ahead that see slightly more flexibility than the operational planning stage coupled with still a good degree of demand and capacity prediction accuracy.

Benefits of a proper S & OP process

Ultimately successful S & OP implementation saved money and resources while improving operations and sales making organisations more effective in what are still very difficult economic conditions.

However, getting these right systems in place can require expert support plus access to more detailed modelling tools especially for the more difficult strategic planning stage. Total Logistics are highly experienced and independent S & OP consultants and can help you create a fully integrated S & OP process that will give you greater business agility, enabling you to reconcile supply and demand plans and determine your supply chain requirements over short, medium and long term horizons.

In a recent example, Total Logistics delivered successful S & OP solutions to a global manufacturer. As a result of this, finished goods inventory holding was reduced by more than 50% and operational costs were reduced by nearly 10%.

For more information call Total Logistics on 0118 977 3027 or visit www.total-logistics.com