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Join us in this episode of the Bright Minds of eCommerce podcast as we explore the world of legal protection and business contracts with Shalini Nandan-Singh, founder of Love Your Legals. Discover the significance of well-crafted contracts for online businesses and learn how they can safeguard your brand and customer journey. Shalina shares valuable insights and practical tips to empower entrepreneurs in confidently navigating the legal aspects of their business. Whether you’re just starting or an established business owner, this episode offers essential guidance to protect your brand and ensure your business thrives in the competitive e-commerce space. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to be the advocate your business needs and handle legal matters with grace and confidence.

In today’s episode you’ll learn:

  • The significance of well-drafted contracts for your e-commerce business: Strengthening your brand and fostering customer connections
  • Making the right choice: Templates or custom contracts for your e-commerce endeavours
  • Ensuring clarity in your website policies: Privacy, terms of use, and e-commerce compliance
  • Contracts that matter: Handling influencer partnerships and competitions effectively
  • Boosting confidence in refund policies and terms of sale for e-commerce success
  • Tailoring contracts to align with your business’s risk profile and marketing approach
  • Empowering your e-commerce journey through effective contracts: Advocacy for your business
  • Keeping contracts current: Adapting to business growth and changing needs



[00:00:00] Shalini Nandan-Singh: You are only ever gonna be the person that stands up for your business, right? So, You need to be able to have the skills at some usable level of having conversations, of being able to negotiate, of being able to explain. And if your contract is really well drafted, that is where you go back to begin the conversation on your terms , otherwise, in the absence of a well drafted contract, it’s really difficult to start a discussion

[00:00:29] Dahna Borg: Hi, and welcome to the Bright Minds of eCommerce podcast. I’m Dahna founder of Bright Red Marketing and after helping so many businesses in the e-commerce space over the years, I wanted to bring you the best advice from Australia and experts in e-commerce and e-commerce store owners. If you want to relatable stories and actionable advice and the latest Facebook advertising strategies, you’re in the right place.

[00:00:49] One help with your Facebook and Instagram ads. Remember you can always book in a free strategy session at forward slash free dash strategy dash session will run through your ads. See what’s working and what’s not. And no sales pitch. I promise. So let’s get into today’s episode today. We’re here with Shalina from Love Your Legals. Welcome.

[00:01:10] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Thank you, Donna, for having me.

[00:01:11] Dahna Borg: So good to have you the show. Legals is one of those things that people get real caught up in, so I’m really looking forward to our chat. So before we get into it, tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started.

[00:01:20] Shalini Nandan-Singh: My name is Shalini and I’m from Love Your Legals. I help women who are in the small business space with an online presence to have really good agreements in place for their business. So I specialize in contract drafting and advice. And a lot of my work is drafting terms and conditions for online businesses e-commerce businesses , consultants, coaches, therapists, and e-commerce owners. So yeah, I’m very much in the space of being that part of your business that makes sure that you are having a great customer journey and that your bottom line is maintained or improved, so you’re not losing money.

[00:01:58] It’s a little space, but it’s a big space.

[00:02:01] Dahna Borg: Very big space. Very big space. So just generally speaking, why are having your sort of legals in place and done well, not just stolen from the internet on a random template you copied and downloaded? So important

[00:02:14] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I draft for women who are very brand conscious. So everything that’s to do with their brand on their e-commerce platform. It’s important that it’s aligned. So your contract must speak to your client. To your customer, it must make sense for them. It must make sense for your business.

[00:02:32] A lot of things that you copy or templates that you use is actually quite disconnected in structure, form, and content with the actual business that’s using them. And so what happens is the owner of the business, You or I we feel completely disconnected from that contract. We’re almost embarrassed to offer it to our customers.

[00:02:54] We certainly cross our fingers and our toes and hope that nobody comes back to us with an issue because we don’t feel confident in our document, in our contract, to be able to refer to them and to it and enforce if something is custom drafted and we have. Going over your business, looking at exactly what you do, how you like to show up, and make sure that is communicated in your contract.

[00:03:21] It’s an extension of a conversation to get a good outcome. That’s what your contract is there for. It’s a platform for negotiation. Because it is so important to your business, it’s best that it’s built for your business rather than ripped off from somewhere else. Cause I do undo some disasters.

[00:03:39] That makes sense?

[00:03:40] Dahna Borg: A hundred percent.

[00:03:40] I think the first eight years of my business I had some like terrible copied and pasted off some depths of the internet terms and conditions on my website. That has finally been done by professional. But yeah, I think it’d be a lot of people listening that have got that sort of, oh yeah, I stole it from the internet somewhere.

[00:03:57] Shalini Nandan-Singh: You know it , it is what people do, but less and less.

[00:04:00] Business owners, especially women they’ve always been very conscious of integrity of the right thing to do. And definitely the right thing to do is not to steal other people’s content or contracts, but aside from that, you really want your contract to work for you.

[00:04:18] Dahna Borg: Mine was a free one.

[00:04:19] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Having said that, there is the other step around it is to get it reviewed. I mean, it’s all good. I get clients and customers who are e-commerce owners all the time, who say, look, I’ve had these terms for a while. I got them from the internet, or I put them together myself.

[00:04:34] It’s now time to have it reviewed and tailored for my business. They send it to me. I have a look at it. I make my recommendations as to whether it’s fixable, a lot of the time it is, or whether they get a better and cheaper outcome to just have it done again because they’re doing things vastly different to when they started.

[00:04:51] So the conversation is what decides that.

[00:04:54] Dahna Borg: So if someone’s listening and they’re like, I’ve got a couple of things, but I don’t know they have it all. What are the basic agreements, contracts that an e-commerce store needs to have in place?

[00:05:02] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Okay. First of all, before they even get to their terms of sale or the terms relating to the actual sale of the products on the e-commerce site, their website as a whole needs to be covered for general visitors. These are visitors that come on, have a look and leave. Okay, that are just dropping their IP address.

[00:05:21] They might sign up to an opt-in. They might sign up to your newsletter. They might fill in your contact form and ask for some information. They have not bought anything, right? So for those people, you need to have terms of use on your website to cover your shop window, which is what your website is, and a privacy policy, which is GDPR compliant because these days, if you’ve got a product, Anyone can be buying it from anywhere unless you specifically don’t sell outside Australia or wherever you happen to be.

[00:05:53] But having said that, it doesn’t stop people from outside your area of trading to actually come onto your website and have a look around. So they’re still engaging with your website. So you still need your privacy policy to be. GDP compliant. So those two are key for your website. And then once they go into the shop, into the online selling platform, we get to the checkout page.

[00:06:16] So they’ve selected their products at checkout prior to payment. The other most important document is to have your e-commerce policy or your terms of sale, and that is the document that binds them to your. Processes to agreeing to purchase those products under these terms. And it should be a tick box agreement every time, not buried in your, in the footer of your website, cuz no one will see it there.

[00:06:43] Dahna Borg: So those would be the three main ones at every e-commerce store.

[00:06:45] Yes, if you’ve got an e-commerce store, but in the background though, you will probably be dealing with your suppliers. So you need to have those documents. In place, like if you are dealing with different suppliers and dealing with different contracts, always pays to get your contract, offer to be checked by someone if you’re not comfortable with the terms.

[00:07:05] You also may be having staff in the background of your business engaging, contracting staff , part-time staff or whatever to help you. Dispatch those goods, pack those goods. So those contracts need to be in place and in place properly. And you also may be using a range of suppliers to help you market your business.

[00:07:27] So you may be using someone for Facebook ads, you may be using someone to manage your platform like the backend, do your tweaks to your website. It’s Really common to be using contractors cuz a lot of us are the face of our businesses. We are usually us plus a team of contractors.

[00:07:45] So to have your contractor agreements in place. So on the face of it, it’s your terms of use and privacy policy and your e-commerce policy, that is your terms of sales. And then background is your contractor agreements and your supplier agreements and your employment agreements.

[00:08:01] Yeah. Wonderful. When you are working with businesses in this space, is there anything that you find is a common theme that people don’t have in place?

[00:08:09] Shalini Nandan-Singh: They don’t have a well thought out refund policy in place. It’s usually quite wrong. It doesn’t comply with consumer law requirements. A lot of people don’t understand the service guarantees that they need and the product guarantees they need to comply with in order to refuse a refund.

[00:08:26] They also don’t feel comfortable talking about saying no to a refund.

[00:08:32] Dahna Borg: Oh man.

[00:08:33] Shalini Nandan-Singh: So these are areas of coaching, if you will, that I help business owners do it, graciously, tactfully not to destroy consumer relationships, but actually like, feel good about what you’re doing, standing in your truth and.

[00:08:47] Ensuring that the customer understands why you’ve made the decision you’ve made and then to stand by it. A lot of people are also afraid of really, of getting bad reviews online. And so we talk about how we manage that in the responses. Social media is a real animal. Has a life of its own. So it does put the fear of God in e-commerce owners when they get a bad review because of a rogue customer. It comes back to the client journey and the level of confidence that a e-commerce owner has in actually fronting their business or their team has in fronting their business.

[00:09:27] Dahna Borg: That’s really interesting cuz you and I are obviously in a lot of the same Facebook groups and you would see the same posts I do about people being like, this person wants a refund. And I think that makes so much sense that if you are really confident in your refund policy, it’s well thought out. You know that it’s a hundred percent legal. You didn’t just borrow it from somewhere else and you’re not entirely sure. It gives you the confidence to go back and be like, actually, you’re not entitled to a refund, or, Actually, legally you are. And if someone comes and says, I’m gonna report you, you go, okay, that’s fine. Because I know that my policy is a hundred percent legit.

[00:10:00] I think that’s a really interesting way of looking at it. Cuz I know Sometimes with the refund policy part they’re like should we just, do we just do it? Do we just give them a refund just to stop them being annoying cuz people can get real nasty. But suppose if you’re confident you’re good.

[00:10:14] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Yeah. So that confidence is really an advocacy skill that when I’m drafting for someone and creating their e-commerce policy or their terms of sale terms and conditions or whatever you wanna call it that’s like a built-in Part of that process is to ensure that advocacy or confidence is addressed during the drafting process because it’s really important that you understand the document. To be confident in your refund policy or your terms of sale, even in your product you need to know about it and understand it. So with your product, you do need to know how, what, where and why it was created or built or whatever. Have some knowledge of that.

[00:10:58] It’s the same with your contract. You need to understand why you have it, what’s in there, and what it is that is relevant to the particular issue that customer has brought to you.

[00:11:09] You are only ever gonna be the person that stands up for your business, right? So, You need to be able to have the skills at some usable level of having conversations, of being able to negotiate, of being able to explain. And if your contract is really well drafted, that is where you go back to begin the conversation on your terms , otherwise, in the absence of a well drafted contract, it’s really difficult to. Start a discussion because you get stuck on the, well, I said you said your copy says, your ad says and so where do you go from that? Your FAQs are not terms, they’re not binding, so don’t make that mistake and neither is your sales page, just because your sales page is fantastic. Make sure it aligns with what you’re promising. Make sure in fact it is legal and it aligns with your terms of sale.

[00:12:02] All of these things support you and you in showing up in your business and selling your products and doing it confidently so that your customers know you’re across it.

[00:12:11] Dahna Borg: I really love that. Um, Which brings us perfectly to our next question.

[00:12:15] We were talking about this a little bit before we started recording. You do templates and custom contracts. When is a template a good fit and when do you really need something custom drafted?

[00:12:24] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Look, a template is a good fit if you’re not particularly concerned about brand alignment and your product is quite simple. You’re selling rock painting kits. I don’t know. The products that I don’t recommend a template for are cosmetic items or fashion apparel skincare toys. Anything related to children’s products and food perishables.

[00:12:47] Dahna Borg: Not much left.

[00:12:48] Shalini Nandan-Singh: There is quite a lot. I mean, you can have a refund policy for just ordinary items, but ultimately you need to be across things. If your product requires particular application, product care, if there are safety requirements, if there are labeling requirements, we need to cover all these and a template doesn’t allow for that.

[00:13:08] Templates in generic by nature. So I have a legal essentials bundle, which will cover you for the absolute basics to get you started, but you’ll soon find after selling for a while that certain concerns come through from customers that are not covered in that template and any template that promises that it covers everything is a stretch.

[00:13:33] Sometimes have way too much information cuz they wanna cover everybody. Then the trick come becomes, do I take this out or do I leave this in? Do I take this out or do I leave it in? So you end up with this enormous document that is completely disconnected to your brand and your customers and nobody wants to read it.

[00:13:49] Right? Or you get templates that are so brief. But you sort of wonder where does it really talk about my products? Okay. So it’s that fine line that you have to decide.

[00:13:59] Personally, I think if your products have special requirements like product care, Like safety care like allergic reactions. You should get advice. It should be custom drafted for your product range.

[00:14:13] Dahna Borg: That makes a lot of sense. We were talking about this also prior to our recording. Around your marketing style and your risk profile, determining sort of the level of detail in a contract, which I found so fascinating. Like how does the way you market your business affect what should be in your contract?

[00:14:30] That’s fascinating to me.

[00:14:31] Shalini Nandan-Singh: First of all, your contracts and your marketing should be aligned, so whatever you’re promising in your marketing makes sense. But I think what you’re referring to, Dahna, is how important it is to actually speak to the business owner and get an indication of what kind of risk. Perception they have, are they risk averse or are they, okay with risks. So some people are just happy not to have a conversation and refund, first sign of an inquiry, here’s your money back. Right? Because they just cannot deal with conflict or, they’re not concerned about the loss to their figures.

[00:15:06] About doing a couple of refunds a month. Then there’s that other person that has worked really hard on their business, and I’m not saying the first person didn’t, but I’m saying it’s really important that each sale goes through successfully. And a refund would really upset their cash flow cause.

[00:15:22] It’s a business probably from which they’re supporting their family. So if that’s the case, then your refund policy needs to be quite tight

[00:15:30] But at the same time, a bit of work needs to be done with the owner of the business as well in drafting and making sure that they are very comfortable with the document because they will need to enforce it.

[00:15:41] So usually during the drafting process, we have a due diligence process where I actually do have a chat with you or the client. And we talk about their sense of risk. How do they feel about it? Because that’ll depend very much on me then going and having a quick look at sales page. And then looking at how tight I need to draft the documents for them. I mean, it’ll still contain the important stuff that is compliant with consumer law, but the processes might be a little bit more relaxed or more tight in terms of dealing with the customer. So some people are very casual and happy to have the conversation, and some people simply are not.

[00:16:20] They wanna sell the product and that’s it.

[00:16:23] Their terms to cover them entirely. So that’s a key thing when you get custom drafting is that, that bit’s gotten right because those documents are an investment. You get them done once you get them done properly and you’re set.

[00:16:35] Dahna Borg: You don’t need to do it again, not unless things change.

[00:16:37] I love the way that you talk about contracts in that it’s an extension of your brand and it goes with your risk profile. It’s a very personal process. A lot of lawyers I’ve spoken to previously, it just all sounds very technical and nothing sort of fits. So I really love your approach to this. It’s quite refreshing. I like it.

[00:16:55] Something that I know. A lot of people deal with, cuz they talk to me a lot about it is when they’re working with influencers and running competitions and things. Have you got any insight into why having contracts for those things is so important?

[00:17:08] I know why they’re so important cuz I’ve seen them go wrong.

[00:17:11] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I do draft influencer and brand ambassador agreements and. They’re really quite important. There are influences that have no contracts of their own. So the product owner is kind of left. With a handshake type of arrangement, which is what we see then go wrong.

[00:17:28] And in social media, we see these posts about, Hey, I sent this product to an influencer, and she’s accepted it and I’ve never seen it again. And what do I do? So, It pays to have your own agreement to offer to an influencer because they most likely will not have one.

[00:17:44] Okay? You have to be strong and you have to be strong about your product. If an influencer is not willing to look at your contract, then perhaps they’re not the right influencer for you. Because you want that influencer to be just as mad about your product as you are, but to be just as ethical about conduct as you are.

[00:18:06] And it’s the ethical conduct of influences that has caused so many problems in this space. So I’ve drafted influencer agreements, usually after influencer relationships have gone wrong.

[00:18:18] Dahna Borg: No one thinks about it till then.

[00:18:19] Shalini Nandan-Singh: And that’s perfectly fine. I mean, this is business and that’s the other point I was gonna make, Dahna, is that, in relation to advocating for your business, this whole, stomach clenching response we get when someone is not happy, we have to put it in the perspective of it is business. It’s you dealing with the big unknown out there. That’s your market, and there will always be a percentage of people or incidences that will force you to step out and deal with it, so the best thing you can do is to have the tools in place to help you deal with it and your contracts are one of them, and being able to understand them and talk about them and maybe role play them with someone like myself. Those conversations is the other tool that you probably would benefit from.

[00:19:02] Dahna Borg: I really like that.

[00:19:03] obviously other than having really good contracts. Do you have any sort of tips and strategies for when things go wrong and you do have to have those conversations you might Even need legal representation have you got any tips and strategies for people that are in that position?

[00:19:17] Shalini Nandan-Singh: So when you are approached. We don’t know that something has gone wrong until a customer comes to us with a complaint or a concern. So, always respond as quickly as you can, even if it is saying that. We’re gonna look into it further and we may need more information, but don’t leave them.

[00:19:33] Hang in for weeks and then send them something that says we just got your email. Can you just give us some more information? Okay. So always leave the line of communication open. Secondly, if you do have terms in place, go back to your contract and see where it fits in. And those are really what you are bound by. Now, you can choose to set that aside because it is your contract and meet the client halfway or the whole way.

[00:19:58] Or you can choose to enforce it and say, look, our terms are this. I would always say to you make an effort to resolve. Acknowledge if there is a concern but the most important thing about customer concerns and complaints is that it’s an opportunity for improvement. Clearly, something has occurred.

[00:20:16] It could be all the client or the customer, or it’s something in your processes needs improvement. So look at it as that opportunity, as okay, I need to do this better. And the client has raised that with me. So let’s fix that issue for that product, whether it is a refund, a partial refund, or a replacement of a product or, I’m sorry, but there is no refund for change mind, for example.

[00:20:42] But all of these things start the conversation like you hope to finish it, which is respectfully.

[00:20:47] Dahna Borg: Always.

[00:20:48] Before we wrap up to the last couple of questions we ask everyone, is there anything else you think we’ve missed that is worth sharing?

[00:20:53] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I think a lot of e-commerce businesses start selling and they don’t review what they’re doing, at six months or 12 months. I think it’s very important to put a review of your processes and your contracts into your C RM as a, return item to address even at 12 months.

[00:21:12] Only because in that 12 months you have changed suppliers. You have changed your terms a little bit you might be offering more products that need, A second look at in terms of your contracts. So keep it fresh. Just remember that your contracts are a living document. They need to change and grow and adapt to your business as your business changes and grows.

[00:21:35] So I think that quite often in this space where we are the face of our business and we are our brand and all of that, we tend to get so caught up with the marketing that we forget to ensure that these things, like your contracts are actually, keeping up with your business.

[00:21:51] Dahna Borg: I love that. So in terms of your business are there any strategies or habits that you follow each day to help you stay on track?

[00:21:58] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Yes, I have a very close and loving relationship with Asana

[00:22:03] Dahna Borg: Fantastic.

[00:22:04] Shalini Nandan-Singh: And I have a team member who supports me. Worked out long ago that a contractor relationship is one that I value. So it’s something that I’ve really got a good contract in place for.

[00:22:17] I find if my calendar is clear to me what I need to do the next day. I’m a lot better organized. I also can’t multitask and I don’t.

[00:22:26] The other thing in the last 12 months that I find I have really needed is to switch off at four o’clock. It doesn’t mean I’m any less busy or productive or that I don’t love my clients, but it’s just exhausting. So it’s really the basic things, drink lots of water, make your lists, tick ’em off have some downtime and your calendar is there, there’s a reason why you can move stuff. So if it’s not working for you on a Monday and you really can shift it to a Wednesday, it’s in your control so use it.

[00:22:59] Dahna Borg: Do you have a favorite business book?

[00:23:00] Shalini Nandan-Singh: Yes. At the moment I am reading ‘The One Thing’.

[00:23:04] Dahna Borg: Oh

[00:23:05] Shalini Nandan-Singh: that’s the book I’m reading at the moment it’s by Gary Keller. Because I’ve always done that. This is what I’ve always done is draft small business agreements. It’s the one thing. I don’t do anything else. This is my area of specialty. Other lawyers will be doing a whole lot of other practice areas like family commercial leases, this, that and the other. I’ll do a little bit of commercial work, but my focus is the one thing I draft great contracts.

[00:23:33] Dahna Borg: Do you a favorite podcast?

[00:23:35] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I do you have a favorite podcast at the moment?

[00:23:37] It’s with Susan Daphne. It’s called Content Sales. Because I’ve built my business on educational content business owners. So I did that organically and more instinctively. And so now I I’m thinking, I’m enjoying that because it’s giving me a little bit more validation for the kind of content that I have been producing.

[00:24:00] There’s a couple of other ones too, but they’re not really related to business.

[00:24:04] Dahna Borg: Look, most of aren’t it’s crime podcast.

[00:24:08] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I’m more of a music listener.

[00:24:10] Dahna Borg: I’m fan of the quiet walks where there’s just, there’s no music, there’s no noise.

[00:24:15] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I’ve started that too.

[00:24:17] Dahna Borg: I have a nice little lake. I can walk around. There’s lots of birds and nature sounds and I find that very calming.

[00:24:22] And if people are impressed by you as I am after this, how is the best way for them to find you, work with you and get your eyes on their contracts?

[00:24:31] Shalini Nandan-Singh: I’m happy to speak to you or to anyone about their contracts. My website is easy to find. It’s called Love Your Legals. My Facebook business page is called Love Your Legals. And I believe in accessibility. There’s a discovery call you can book on my website. A lot of people message me through my business page, which is also leads to the booking link for a chat.

[00:24:53] And my email address is on the website. It’s my shop window.

[00:24:57] Dahna Borg: That’s fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I have learned a lot so I hope everyone listening has also learned a lot. And again, thank you so much for joining us.

[00:25:05] Shalini Nandan-Singh: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

[00:25:07] Dahna Borg: Thank you for listening to the bright minds of e-commerce podcast. As always, you can find the show notes at 46 thanks for listening.

Dahna Borg

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