Running an E-Commerce Store: 4 Essential Contracts to Have

From payment processing to keeping an accurate inventory, a lot of things go into running an e-commerce store. Unfortunately, the legal side of this type of business is often forgotten by e-commerce owners. While you may think having a clear return & exchanges policy is enough, there are plenty of other contracts you should be using for your online shop. Here are four of them.

Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions about essential contracts in e-commerce or the legal aspects of having an e-commerce, send me an email at


#1 Terms and conditions

I’ve addressed this document in a previous blog post about essential documents you need for your website, but it really does constitute the foundation of any solid online store. You should think of terms and conditions as the ground rules for your website. It usually addresses what a visitor can and cannot do on your website (from spamming to stealing your intellectual property) and allows you to limit your liability in certain situations. Terms and conditions are definitely a must for any e-commerce.


#2 Privacy policy

This document has also been addressed before in a variety of blog posts, including this one about essential documents you need for your website. As an online retailer, you will be collecting a variety of personal data from your consumers, who need to be aware of the type of data you are collecting, why you are collecting it, and who you will be sharing it with. This includes third-parties used for payment processing, analytics, and a variety of other purposes. Keep in mind that some third-parties require you to disclose your use of their platform to your customers in a privacy policy.


#3 Agreements with your suppliers

This does not apply to every e-commerce out there, but if you are, for instance, a retailer that sells products from a variety of brands, you will need an agreement to solidify that business relationship (you can check out my blog post about consignment agreements here). The type of agreement you will need as well as the content of the agreement will depend on the relationship you have with your suppliers and the way you work with them. It is therefore essential for your contracts to be well suited to your needs.


#4 Affiliate marketing agreement

This is also an agreement that not all online retailers will need, but if you plan on using affiliate marketing to grow your business, you need to make sure your program is clearly outlined in a contract. In this document, you should address, amongst other things, compensation, payment terms, as well as termination.


If you need legal advice regarding e-commerce or if you need help with drafting/reviewing documents, you can always reach me at or you can click the link below to learn more about my services.


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