Mastering eCommerce compliance - Staying protected as you scale
Adam Pivko from DFO shares his expertise on compliance and teaches us how to protect your store as it grows. If you're not researching the topic of compliance and implementing changes on your website often, you're likely breaking U.S. and international laws without even realizing it - not good!
Watch the video to stay ahead of the curve. You can also get in touch with Adam Pivko directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit DFO’s website at dfo.global. Learn more, earn more!
Full Video Transcript
Hello, and welcome to fulfillment.com’s educational vlog. My name is Adam Pivko and I'm the Vice President of strategic partnerships at DFO. We’re one of the world's leading performance marketing companies delivering superior ecommerce software, and marketing brands to the world. I want to focus this blog on how to build and scale your brand, while maintaining a high level of marketing compliance. It can be done and it's easier than many people believe it to be. It requires a marathon mindset, not just short lived money, the ability to reduce your exposure to risk via false and misleading claims and the ability to view your content from your customers perspective. The not so secret secret is if you care about your customers, and if you make one of your goals to improve the lives around you, you'll find the results you're looking for.
In simple terms, marketing compliance is the rules and regulations that protect consumers from being lied to, or misled or having their privacy violated. It also governs how consumer data can be used. There are a few things that harm businesses more than compliance violations, fines and other monetary penalties while they may be steep, are the least of your worries here, it's the brand equity and damage that is scarring. In an information rich world like ours, it can happen at lightning speed. What's really lost in this scenario is trust. The goodwill you've built with your customers, your potential customers, your employees, your business partners, your stakeholders, all of it evaporates instantly. It ties up cash flow funding, sales hiring, and it's a difficult situation to recover from.
Keeping content on your store compliance
So let's spend a moment on content itself. Content refers to the actual collateral effects tactics used in marketing, namely, ads, images, descriptions, testing and scientific claims, urgency widgets, testimonials, terms and conditions, privacy statements, and your website as a whole.
Flash sales, countdown timers, and “free shipping” claims could get you in trouble if not authentic
Often, if something in this realm looks or feels funny, you should ask yourself, can I substantiate this claim, this feature, this comment or this review? depending on what your answer is, you should be prepared to go back to the drawing board and ask yourself again, at the end of the day, if you've made a great product, done the research and applied critical thinking to your marketing, there is no need to lie to your consumers. They'll convert. Good advertising pushes boundaries, but does so responsibly. The most common mistakes we make in the performance marketing industry are typically related to deceptive advertising or inauthentic product information. These may include scarcity claims, you've seen those countdown timers and limited time tickers. These are fine to use if there are real and authentic, free shipping promises, these require that customers are informed of any shipping cost in advance of making purchases, and that there are no hidden or disguised fees, product origin and quality.
Keeping product descriptions compliant
If something is not stainless steel, you can't market it as such. In the same realm, if it's manufactured in Italy, your marketing can't say it was made in the United States. inauthentic founder or inventor claims. Again, just stick with what you can substantiate. If you can prove it and it's real great. It should be good for marketing, testimonials and endorsements. This is a huge one and you see it misused a lot. This is one many companies just don't take seriously enough. Marketing that gets portrayed is often not the typical experience of the user. Testimonials should be comments from real people. It’s not that hard if you just want to be compliant. So let's talk about scaling and scaling while Maintaining compliance.
Compliance as you scale with advertising
Believe it or not, it's possible. In order to make a lot of sales, brands and products need to be seen by lots of people. This is where ad platforms come into play. And regarding compliance, DFOs chief Commercial Officer said it best. So let me just read it. Traffic and ad platforms like Google and Facebook have built their own compliance technology, and hired armies of staff to enforce their standards. Legislation and lawmaking still play a role, but they can't keep up due to the volume and speed at which ecommerce moves. This is the reason why it's so important for brands and companies to police themselves in this area. It's easy to get caught up in the e commerce whirlwind, especially when using affiliates to scale.
Is your ecommerce brands affiliate program compliant
Speaking of affiliates, they're a great way to help drive volume to your product portfolio, and something we use for our own efforts as well at DFO. There are a number of steps brands can take to ensure compliance with these independent media buyers like establishing your KYC or knowing your customer. Know your customers guidelines for all new partner relationships. Keep in mind those brand equity issues we talked about earlier. Ensure brand guidelines are crystal clear and disseminated immediately upon establishing a new relationship. And lastly, ensure your company's internal compliance team is set up to monitor not only your own marketing, but that of your partners. This includes all marketing assets like ads, pre sales, interstitials, checkout pages and more. We can even take it a step further when scaling globally. When doing so keep these points in mind. Compliance needs to be deeply embraced both vertically and horizontally across your organization. If project managers, salespeople, customer service, and everybody understands what's appropriate, as well as the writers and creatives, you'll be better off and anyone should be able to, or be enabled to spot and catch compliance issues.
Staying up to date
Ensure your company and teams are up to date with the latest regulations and standards. laws and practices change very quickly and what is mandated by countries that are not the United States often requires jumping over a few hurdles or extra steps. Let's quickly recap the most important things to remember. Marketing compliance is crucial and often has longer lasting equity effects than just fines and penalties.
Applying compliance to your content
Since content is king, make sure it's compliant. Avoid common mistakes by ensuring everything you're showing and saying can be substantiated. Understanding how ad platforms work and ensure media buying partners have clear brand guidelines. That's huge. There are great untapped markets outside of the United States, but they require an understanding of domestic regulatory laws and requirements in order to be successful. That's it.
DFO is not only an affiliate network and a performance marketing agency, but we are an advertiser of our own products and brands so this puts us in a unique position to talk shop, share insights, and be a helpful team that you can discuss your challenges with or bounce ideas off of.
I'm personally happy to talk to just about anybody up or down the e commerce value chain. So please don't hesitate to reach out to me on your preferred medium. Thanks for listening, hope this benefits your organization and the industry as a whole. Compliance is not that hard. So gear up for the fight, and you'll be and you'll do just fine. Thanks. Have a great one.