New regulations for B2C websites

A recent European Court of Justice case (late Feb ‘09) has led to revisions in the European E-Commerce Directive.

Changes to the European E-Commerce Directive

Until recently businesses selling to consumers only had to put a contact address and email address on their website. Now things are a little stricter. These days, to comply with the European E-Commerce Directive your business website should include:

  • The full name of your business
  • The street address of your premises
  • Contact details including an email address, to allow people to contact you ‘rapidly’ and communicate with you ‘directly’ and ‘effectively’ (while they don’t make it 100% crystal clear, it appears that a telephone or fax number is also essential)

To someone who has worked in direct marketing for many years, this seems like common sense. It certainly isn’t onerous. Everything you can do to raise your profile, increase trust and gain credibility will pull you ahead of your competitors. Being open about who and where you are, and how to contact you easily is all part of delivering good customer service. And offering a choice of response methods means you account for all tastes: some people prefer the telephone – it’s in their nature.

Contact page essentials

As far as being open is concerned, I’d take things a step further. I always recommend that my clients also include this lot in their contact page:

  • If they’re a Limited company, the company’s registered address and registered company number
  • If they’re a Partnership or an Agency, the legal details
  • If they’re registered with the VAT man, the VAT number
  • A named contact to call. Even if the person isn’t available when customers call, having a real name to ask for is always attractive