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Policy Updates: Who Reads the Policies Anyways?

Posted on March 24, 2009 by Zach

Recently, we had some interns helping us review our policy pages. Overall both I and the interns thought it was a pretty interesting project and we will certainly be making some necessary changes to our policies. Specific changes include: making our policies more readable, more user friendly, and displaying the most valuable information in an easy to read layout.

Before we set out on this project we knew that our policies had not been updated in a while, and we were interested in how we stacked up against competitors and other Internet retailers.  We focused on what was displayed in others policies, the terms of their policies and how strictly they where enforced. We also paid particular attention to what was enforced and why some policies seemed more flexible than others, and of those policies which ones were clear sticking points for merchants. With that in mind we decided that our onslaught of interns would be perfect for the job of researching website policies and providing us with some recommendations.

Throughout the entire process I had to combat the question, "who reads the policies anyways?” and I had to explain that it’s true, most people do not read the policies, upfront.  What the interns needed to understand was that the policies contain essential pieces of information which need to be made public and available to our users regardless of what point in the buying cycle the customer decides to read or review them. While someone may not care what the returns process is upfront, you know they certainly care if they get the wrong product, a damaged product or simply do not like what they ordered. Clear and concise information regarding how to contact us, answers to common questions, order status, return a product, terms of use, privacy information etc., needs to be available.

Having this information is not only important, legally, but it is also important to keep transparency between our staff and consumers.  When imperative information is made public upfront it ensures that we are properly servicing our customers and in turn giving them the ability to serve themselves.


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