Terms and Conditions for BigCommerce Stores

Terms and Conditions for BigCommerce Stores

Do you run a BigCommerce store, or are you thinking of starting one?

In this article, we'll explore why you'll want a set of Terms and Conditions (T&C) for customers purchasing products through your BigCommerce store.

Having a T&C agreement isn't legally required, but we'll show you why you're going to want one anyway.


What is BigCommerce?

BigCommerce is one of the world's leading providers of ecommerce software, providing you with a wide variety of tools and features to maximize your online sales. From worldwide brands like Toyota and Gibson, to smaller, independent retailers, BigCommerce's platform is currently utilized by almost 38,000 websites around the world.

What are Terms and Conditions Agreements?

A T&C is a legal agreement between your business and its customers. It sets out policies both parties agree to abide by when using your website or online store.

T&C agreements are usually located in the footer of a retailer's website. The below example is from Toyota's website:

Toyota AU website: Screenshot of footer with Terms and Conditions highlighted

T&C agreements are sometimes referred to as a Terms of Use (ToU) or a Terms of Service (ToS) agreement. BigCommerce actually uses T&C and ToS interchangeably on their website, but essentially ToU, T&C and ToS all refer to the same type of agreement.

Unlike a Privacy Policy, T&C agreements are not mandatory for your website, but are highly recommended.

What are the benefits of a T&C agreement for your BigCommerce store?

There are numerous benefits for you and your customers.

In the event of a dispute, the T&Cs should tell your customers who they should contact and the agreement itself will act as the basis for resolution.

It can also protect the copyright and trademarks of your business.

The scope of a T&C agreement can be broad, but for a BigCommerce store, you'll likely want to include the following elements:

  • Payment information
  • Returns policy
  • Shipping and delivery
  • Discount codes, coupon codes and gift certificates
  • Legal restrictions
  • Contact information

Let's take a look at why each of these points is beneficial in a T&C agreement for your BigCommerce store.

Payment Information

Payment Information

A straightforward payment system between your company and its customers is a vital component of any successful business.

Explicit details of payment arrangements within a T&C agreement can help inform your customers and ensure that they're aware of important elements such as acceptable payment methods on your BigCommerce store, or the currency they will be charged in (particularly useful if you sell overseas).

Toyota's Australian store (built on BigCommerce) highlights this below:

Toyota AU Terms and Conditions: Pricing and Taxes clause

It can also be useful to list any taxes or additional charges which may be levied on your customers.

Including these details will help protect you in the event of any disputes. Additionally, without this information, your support team may spend numerous hours answering emails on this topic when it could be covered with a few simple sentences in your T&C agreement.

Consider including in your T&C agreement:

  • Method(s) your customers can use to pay for your products
  • The currency your customers will you charged in (very useful if selling overseas)
  • Details of any additional taxes or levies

Returns Policy

Returns Policy

If you're using BigCommerce for your online retail business, your customers aren't able to walk into your store and return an unwanted item. Instead, your best bet is to cover your Returns policy within your T&C agreement.

According to one survey, 67% of online shoppers check a Returns policy before making a purchase and 92% will buy something again if the Returns process is easy.

Your Returns policy should state the number of days a customer has to notify you they wish to return their item, and how they will receive their refund (e.g. store credit, a like-for-like product, etc.).

Different retailers operate varying rules for cancellations. Some retailers offering large or bespoke products will not accept refunds when a customer has a change of mind, as in this case with Toyota's very simple but strict cancellation policy:

Toyota AU Terms and Conditions: Cancellation clause

On the other hand, the fashion retailer ASOS has a generous 28 day, 'no questions asked' refund policy for its US customers:

ASOS: Returns and Refunds Policy excerpt

Consider including in your T&C agreement:

  • Timescales for customers to return unwanted goods
  • Reasons why a customer can return an item from your store
  • Method of refund for customers (i.e. store credit, like-for-like product)

Shipping and Delivery

Shipping and Delivery

Before your customer places an order at your BigCommerce store, they may have questions regarding the delivery of their items. You can mitigate any concerns by setting out a clear shipping and delivery policy in your T&C agreement.

BigCommerce itself offers an extensive support section on how to set shipping arrangements for your store. You may choose to offer just a couple of options, or you may decide to offer a wide array of shipping arrangements.

Whichever route you choose, it is useful to clearly state your shipping rates. You can do this either directly within the T&C agreement or by including a hyperlink to a separate agreement.

GrapeTree, a medium-sized UK retailer of health foods, explicitly states their shipping rates within their T&C:

GrapeTree Terms and Conditions: Delivery of Products clause excerpt

Meanwhile, ASOS provides a hyperlink to a separate Delivery page that's mentioned in the T&C:

ASOS Terms and Conditions: Delivery clause with Delivery page highlighted

The link to delivery information is also provided in the website footer:

ASOS website footer: Screenshot of Delivery and Returns link - highlighted

When users click on the link they're taken to the separate Shipping and Delivery page that's very easy to navigate, read and understand:

ASOS Shipping and Delivery page screenshot

Although your BigCommerce store can be accessed from an Internet connection anywhere in the world, there may be geographic restrictions on where your product can be delivered (due to local laws), or you may choose to ship only within your nation or region.

Including these details in your T&C agreement can help your customers easily understand if they can receive your products in their area.

Consider including in your T&C agreement:

  • Details of standard/expedited delivery options for your customers
  • Pricing information for the delivery options you offer
  • Countries/jurisdictions your products can be delivered to

Discount Codes, Coupon Codes And Gift Certificates

Discount Codes, Coupon Codes And Gift Certificates

Many online retailers offer coupon codes to entice customers to purchase their products.

With this in mind, BigCommerce provides you with a variety of options to enable discounts through your store. Your customers are also able to use gift certificates exclusive to your business through this platform.

Usually, there are rules and regulations included with discount codes to ensure they aren't abused by customers (only one discount code per purchase, for example).

ASOS covers the use of discount codes (called Promo Codes) within their T&C, also linking to a dedicated support page:

ASOS Terms and Conditions: Promo Codes clause

Gift certificates or gift cards make excellent additions to your BigCommerce store, as they can be used for birthdays or holidays in lieu of a specific item.

For example, Amazon summarizes how customers can redeem gift cards on their website within their Gift Card T&C agreement, stating where and how they should be used:

Amazon UK Gift Card Terms and Conditions: Redemption clause

Unused gift card balances usually expire after a period of time. Amazon clearly displays the limitations on their gift cards (in this instance, ten years):

Amazon UK Gift Card Terms and Conditions: Limitations clause

Putting this information in your T&C agreement ensures your customers are aware of any restrictions on discounts/gift cards at your store. It is extremely beneficial to include these clauses within your T&C agreement, as they will act as the basis for any customer disputes.

Consider including in your T&C agreement:

  • How customers can use gift cards/discount in your store
  • Details of any restrictions when customers use gift cards/discount codes in your store
  • Rules for expiry dates on gift cards

Legal Restrictions

Depending on your business type, there may be restrictions on who can purchase from your store. For example, if you own a store selling vaporizers, you cannot sell to those under the legal smoking age.

As referenced in the Shipping and Delivery section, you should make it clear within your T&C agreement who can, and can't, buy your products. This helps protect you in the event of any future disputes, particularly if your business does sell products which are restricted to certain demographics (i.e. age or location).

Fireworks are another example of age-restricted products.

Captain Boom clearly sets out who can buy their products and where they can be shipped to in a separate Frequently Asked Questions section of their T&C agreement:

Captain Boom Terms and Conditions: Frequently Asked Questions excerpt covering age and shipping

Finally, you should include information in your T&C to ensure customers understand how their personal data will be utilized. The easiest way to do this is to include a link to your Privacy Policy, which is a legal requirement in most jurisdictions.

Consider including in your T&C agreement:

  • Any legal restrictions (such as age or other details) for customers using your store
  • A link to your Privacy Policy (which is required by law in most jurisdictions)

Contact Information

Contact Information

Including your company's contact information is a simple way to assure customers that you are available should they have any questions or concerns regarding their purchase.

Customers can engage with online businesses in a number of different ways, including phone contact, emails and social media (an estimated 67% of consumers use Facebook or Twitter to ask for help, according to one survey).

The speed of social media also means many consumers expect 24/7 service, even from smaller retailers. It can therefore be useful to include your usual hours of customer service to ensure your customers know when they can expect to receive a response.

The UK-based health and beauty retailer, Boots, displays the opening hours for its customer care phone line, as well as anticipated timeframes for email responses, within the Contact Us section of its T&C agreement:

Boots: Contact hours and email information

It's a good idea to include as many forms of contact as possible. These can include a physical address, an email address, a telephone number and/or social media channels.

Consider including in your T&C agreement:

  • Email, telephone and/or social media contact details for your business
  • Your hours of customer service
  • Estimated turnaround time for responding to emails

Summary

There are numerous benefits to having a T&C agreement for your BigCommerce store.

Primarily, it provides a basis for any disputes arising between you and your customers, and should inform them who to contact if they have a query.

It also helps to ensure that your customers can make an informed decision before purchasing, and can manage their expectations on shipping/delivery and cancellation/returns.

A T&C agreement implementing the themes outlined above will help ensure that you are protected in the event of any disputes, whilst informing your customers about the rules and policies governing your BigCommerce store.

This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.