As the world shifts from traditional means of shopping,where we go to the store and buy things to packages dropped on our doorsteps -A standard of shipping is becoming mandatory for all sorts of web businesses.While many online retailer sites tell you that shipping policies are not required by law, it's still a good habit to include one on your site.
A shipping policy is a simple statement that includes all the information set out by your vendor for customers. Setting the right tonefor your shipping policy not only builds trust in your brand, but it alsobecomes an asset in case the customer comes back with a question. To help you make a shipping policy, this article contains all the information you need toknow before getting started.
What is aShipping Policy?
A shipping policy is a statement that explains relevant laws in a region, policies, and set agenda between you and your customer. It makesit clear for the buyer to understand how your product will be exchanged and ifthey require a return or aftercare service. It's in the interest of both parties and should be explained in a detailed manner. It can include:
· Courier option: Type of companies that will handle your shipment
· Services: Same day, detained, overnight, standard,international, etc.
· Pricing: Free shipping, flat rates, calculated rates, or shipping based on a specified location
· Handling time: The amount of time the seller takes before shipping an item
· Delivery timeframe: The amount of time courier takes to ship an item
· Restriction: Places where you can't deliver your services
· Shipment Laws: Based on a specified location
Why have a shipping policy?
Having a detailed shipping policy for your online business is beneficial in the long run. By carefully initiating how your customers will receive their goods, you can:
· Build your brand online trust
· Decrease cart abandonment
· Close more online sales
What to include in the Shipping policy?
If your business deals with either local or distance selling, the following pieces of information can be included in your shipping policy:
1. Your business general information - This includes contact details, your business social links, forums, blogs, and physical Address location.
2. Estimated Delivery cost and Arrangement - We're using the word 'estimated' because some states require you to pay extra duties and taxes.However, providing the customer with an exact shipping cost is always a plus point.
Pro tip: Grab some developers and build a cost estimate calculator for your site delivery.You can also use pre-defined plugins if you’re on WordPress.
3. How long the package will take to arrive: This step is very important as most customers are eager to receive the goods early. You have to precisely mention how long the package takes to reach their doorstep. Also, if you haven't mentioned the processing time on the product page then provide it here.
4. Domestic and International Shipping: Explain the qualifying of both domestic and international shipments. It’s best to include a table here as it is more reader-friendly.
5. Transparency: Apart from making a separate return policy, you can include a summary in this section. Mention all the exchanges, refunds, and the event of lost or damaged packages.
6. Service interruption: Explain the scenario which may cause your shipment to be delayed. There are tons of variables that can happen outside of your control. A shipping policy is the best page to explain the whole scenario and answer their general queries.
7. General Customer notes: It's always a good idea to leave a separate blank field where the customer can write notes to facilitate the process. However, it can be optional and the customer can leave the space empty too.
8. Custom Paperwork information: Although the courier will handle the customs workload, if you're shipping through any other medium then include this point as well.
For international customers, there are two options:
9. Delivery with duties and taxes paid (DDP): There are a lot of third party sites that act as brokers between a courier and the vender. They can process the payments of shipping by paying a small fixed fee to customs.
10. Delivery with duties and taxes unpaid (DDU): In this type of shipment, customers are responsible to bear the expenses of all the custom taxes. The taxes are calculated as per the country laws.
How to write an effective Shipping policy?
Now that we have explored what should be included in your shipping policy, take the points, and start answering them. The end results will differ depending on your business requirement. But the following points will help you out:
· Include FAQ entries
· Use Bullet points
· Keep your paragraphs separated
· Interlink other pages like return policy, customer support, Contact Us, etc
· And finally a thank you note
Shipping policy examples
A good example to check is the site Merchant ofYork. They have built a separate landing page to address the shipping details and cost in the Pandemic. The store also has listed a window ofavailability if you want to personally pick up the product from specified locations.
You can list further details like International shipping concern, a table for shipping cost, Delivery details, and deadlines.
Another great example is to check Billy's apparel. As we've mentioned above, your shipping policy doesn't have to be complicated –check how this website has handled this.
The majority of the shipping related queries are mentioned on the product page, however, they have a separate two-part FAQ section as well.This page leads to another page that has a separate shipping policy forinternational customers.
Where should I include my Shipping Policy?
Your shipping policy should be included in the footer section. It should be mentioned with all the other important pages of your website. The idea is to include them where the customers can easily reach.Because a footer section of a website remains the same, it is one of the best places to include important URL’s. Beyond this, you can create a template and mention it on individual pages as well.
How often should I update the shipping policy page?
The shipping policy page depends on the nature of your business. If you're targeting an international audience, you might have to get in touch with your designated courier turf rates.
We recommend you to update your shipping policy every 3months. Each time you change your shipping page, make sure that your audiences read the updated information.
Return policy in particular is the second most visited page that comes after the product page itself. So you must mention each of the legal agreement pages where they all require.
Should I opt for third party Shipping services?
Yes, if you can find anyone that suits your business requirement. There are tons of websites that offer eCommerce shipping services in this regard.At Fetchy, for example, we can help you find the best shipping arrangement for your online business. We can offer sellers great shipping prices for both domestic and international shipments including a seamless process and total integration to your store(s).
In addition to making your policy page simple, make it attractive and easy to read. Many online businesses make mistake by just adding a simple paragraph as a shipping policy. As per the famous saying:
"Trust is the cornerstone of running a successful business."