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How to Create a Shipping Policy For Your Ecommerce Store

01/02/2022 | Share:

Any experienced online business owner will know the value of having a well-thought-out shipping policy. But, not everyone knows how to create one. This post will look at the importance of a shipping policy for an ecommerce store, what the policy should entail, and how to create one that can be adjusted and updated as your circumstances and operations change.

The Importance of a Shipping Policy

Online consumers are a savvy bunch, and they know what the information is that is important to them. Nothing is more paramount than a store’s shipping policy. This will tell a potential shopper everything they could want to know about the delivery of their item. In addition to this, it is actually compulsory to have one!

Here are some of the most important reasons why your ecommerce business needs a shipping policy:

Transparency

A shipping policy will transpire to consumers that you are a transparent and reliable company. From this policy, shoppers will learn when to expect their item after purchase and how much the delivery charge will be, removing any room for misunderstanding or unwanted surprises.

Almost 90% of online shoppers will not fulfil their transactions if there is no transparent information relating to the shipping process. This is a lot of custom to lose.

Company Protection

In the majority of cases, ecommerce owners will include most of their company information within their shipping policy. This may include details about damages, return and exchange policies, international shipping expectations, and more, which will give consumers great peace of mind.

Moreover, if there has been an issue, a consumer can’t cite your business as dishonest; the information had all been provided prior to order fulfilment.

Loyalty and Increased Custom

With a clear shipping policy, your ecommerce store is more likely to entice consumers to hit that ‘buy’ button. Customers like to know where they stand, and with clear shopping information, they will know when their item will arrive – fulfil this, and that customer is much more likely to become a loyal customer, coming back to you time and time again.

Why are loyal customers so important? Here are some stats:

  • They’re cheaper. It will cost you five times more to acquire a new customer than it will to retain an existing one.
  • They spend more. Loyal customers spend 31% more than new customers, plus they are 50% more likely to try a new product.
  • They’re better brand advocates. The most effective type of marketing you can have is the good word of a genuine customer. 82% of marketers cite word-of-mouth marketing as vital in increasing brand awareness, and 64% of executives believe this to be the most effective marketing method.

 

What to Include in your Shipping Policy

What you detail in your shipping policy and how you communicate it will depend on your business operations and supply chain. While it is paramount to be transparent with customers, some information is irrelevant, so ensure to stick to the most vital points.

As recent years have shown us, there can be unforeseen delays and increased charges, so it is more important than ever to ensure you can amend and update your shipping policy if the need arises. To keep yourself safe, avoid terms such as ‘guarantee,’ and ‘promise,’ unless they’re followed with ‘to do our best,’ or words to that effect.

Here are a few things that customers absolutely should be made aware of in your shipping policy, as a minimum:

Time to Process Orders

Once an order has been made, how many days should a consumer expect to wait before it arrives? It is advisable to make this section of your policy pretty thorough and communicate whether you exclude weekends and/or bank holidays and if there is a cut-off time for order processing (e.g., orders made after 3 pm will be processed the following business day).

Time to Ship

If you have various shipping options, such as priority service, free shipping, or next-day, then apply the differences for each option. If changes are expected within your supply chain due to peak periods or as a result of Covid-19, you should update this section of your shipping policy to reflect that.

Remember to avoid terms like ‘guarantee’ here, as all you can really guarantee is that you will try; most of the shipping process is entirely out of your hands.

Shipping Costs (if any)

Here you can break down your shipping cost for the consumer; transparency is so important. While customers like to be informed of how the charges are justified, they don’t need to know every single thing; for example, tape, boxes, polystyrene, and bubble wrap can be worded simply as ‘packaging.’

If you have a free shipping threshold, such as ‘spend £20 to receive free shipping,’ have this incentive clearly communicated in your policy, as well as on other areas of your ecommerce website.

Any potential surprise fees, such as taxes or duties the customer could incur, should be outlined.

Explain Where You Ship – National, International?

Here, you would detail the qualifying regions for your domestic shipping options. For example, is national considered to be mainland UK or does it include Northern Ireland? International shipping could be broken down into a separate section where you detail all of the countries you ship to and the estimated arrival times.

If your ecommerce store offers several different shipping options, this can be displayed on a table for easier readability.

Details on Refunds, Returns, and Exchanges

A highly detailed section on refunds, returns, and exchanges is vital for business and customer protection. In the UK, it is also a legal requirement. Customers have the right to cancel their order for a limited time, even if the products aren’t faulty in any way. However, the customer must contact you within 14-days for you to have to legally adhere to a refund, return, or exchange.

It’s important to keep the language here clear and straightforward. You must specify a time frame for returns, define the conditions under which you will accept a return, and disclose any fees associated with returns; who pays for the shipping predominantly.

You may also wish to summarize how your business will evaluate exchanges, refunds, or order edits and the process for lost or damaged products.

Summary

Hopefully, you’re now more aware of your customers’ expectations and legal obligations when it comes to creating a shipping policy for your ecommerce store. The more details you include, the better protection for the consumer and the business. Conversely, you want to keep the details brief and stick to what is really necessary.

Ensure that you’re able to quickly amend your policy during peak times or due to Covid-19 related issues with your supply chain. It is vital that the policy is kept up to date.

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