Contracts in the Self-Service Economy

Sep 27, 2016 7:30:00 AM

The self-service economy is all about speed. Your phone is the one-stop-shop for on-demand service that has come to be expected. With apps being downloaded by the second, serving customers “later” is no longer an option. The option is, “now”, end of story.

Back when sales cycles were slower, there was more of an opportunity to go back and forth on the legal agreements before signing. Door-to-door salesmen had physical copies of agreements that they would leave their customers with. Companies doing business together put their contracts through the legal wringer before being able to finally come to an agreement on terms. Now, presenting agreements and handing them over to your legal team to review takes up too much time. 

Of course, large deals still have customization and provisions that must be discussed before customers will jump on board, but for moderate deals, contracts look different, and you may not even realize it.

So, what do look like?

Companies such as Hubspot and Salesforce have purchasing experiences that are built into their apps that makes purchasing their services extremely easy. Do customers realize that buying this service online is binding them to a contract? Maybe, maybe not. Online purchases feel so standard that those buying assume that the service agreement is being made in good faith. Even using your DSW app to rush order a pair of shoes before an event requires entering into an agreement with DSW, and most people do that willingly. We love the trust aspect there, however, it is still important for companies to construct thorough Terms of Service and Purchasing Agreements, and for customers to put forth effort to understand them.

Think about how many apps you’ve downloaded, services you’ve signed up for, or purchases you’ve made just this month. It’s amazing right? And how many times did you consider that you were entering into a contract when you confirmed your transaction? While the time of redlining every little detail is escaping us in the self-service economy takeover, laws still exist. Neglecting details of an agreement can still cause expensive problems, and it already has. The speed and instant gratification that comes with the self-service economy may blind you to what you are agreeing to, but the legal implications can be dense. Do us a favor and remember: when buying or selling software, services, or goods online, even though you may not feel like you are entering into a contract, you are. It’s as simple as that.

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Amber Ferrari

Written by Amber Ferrari