E-commerce delegation: what precautions to take before outsourcing?

Choosing to outsource your e-commerce activity may, at first sight, seem like the ideal solution: saving time, process efficiency… However, be careful not to neglect the legal aspect. Legal liability cannot be externalized!

Although e-commerce delegation is in vogue and allows merchants to outsource their e-commerce activity, they must not forget the legal requirements applicable to this activity.

E-commerce delegation: what precautions to take before outsourcing?


E-commerce delegation services offer merchants the possibility of being accompanied in the creation and deployment of their website. By service providers offering a global service. Including technical operational aspects: – website development, server management,
– sales (marketing, animation, referencing, CRM),
– strategic (analysis / reporting)
– and logistical (management of dispatch and returns of goods).

Legal risks

The fact that this delegation covers many aspects increases the associated legal risks and the contractual precautions to be taken. The difficulty in this regard lies in the fact that the delegate takes charge of all aspects of the website by offering “turnkey” services. However, he or she acts on behalf of the delegate, who remains responsible for compliance with the provisions applicable in the eyes of Internet users. It is therefore advisable to place strong contractual obligations on the delegate. In terms of compliance with the legal conditions applicable to the operation of a website. And to obtain guarantees. On the part of the service provider, particularly in terms of :

Formal obligations

By including certain mandatory information defined by the law relating to confidence in the digital economy (article 6* relating to the obligation to include a legal notice in an open standard on any website and article 19* relating to the obligation to ensure that Internet users have easy, direct and permanent access, in an open standard, to certain information relating to the e-merchant). Or relating to the Commercial Code (art. R.123-237*);

For this specific point, you should look at the laws that apply in your country. In Europe, these laws do not have the same name but have the same effect.

*French law

Provisions applicable

To promotional offers (lotteries, conditional sales, unfair, i.e. misleading or aggressive commercial practices, etc.) ) ;

Obligations specific

To distance selling (obligation to provide information to the consumer, right of withdrawal, delivery time or period of performance of the service, the automatic liability of the online merchant, etc.).

Data protection

Determination of the roles and responsibilities of each person, prior formalities to be carried out with the CNIL. Definition of the purpose of the processing and the data processed, storage period, place where the data will be stored. As well as compulsory information to be included on the website, etc.

Commercial canvassing

In particular canvassing by e-mail is subject to “opt-in” of e-mail addresses. Indeed, canvassing by e-mail is in principle prohibited. If the recipient of this canvassing has not previously expressed his consent. By a free, specific, and informed expression of will. These aspects must therefore be contractually regulated.

Carefully study the contract

Beyond the guarantees of legal compliance, a merchant who intends to outsource his e-commerce activity will have to carefully study the contract proposed by the service provider. Or propose one to him in order to manage all the delegated aspects.

However, these are often turnkey contracts. All aspects have to be managed contractually. From the creation of the online shop, through marketing. To customer service and back-office management.


Now you know in e-commerce delegation what precautions you should take before outsourcing.

These main legal remarks, although not exhaustive, are only intended to shed light on certain precautions to be taken. In order to prevent the delegation from becoming a real headache for traders/merchants. Who opt to outsource their e-commerce activity.

Therefore, before you decide to delegate, define your needs precisely. Measure the advantages and disadvantages for you of this solution. And, because of the full-service nature of e-business delegation. Before committing yourself, carefully study or draw up the contract intended to govern the services.

If you were interested in this topic, you should also like the articles in the “E-commerce delegation” category. You will find them all here.

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