A shipping policy is a document that details your company’s shipping options, largely for the benefit of the customer. A shipping policy for online stores is important to ensure that there is clarity on your procedures, in order to build trust and communication with your customer base. While a shipping policy is not a legal requirement, it does encourage transparency and can be used to protect your business, in case discrepancies arise. This document generally answers questions around order and delivery processing dates, payment options, overhead charges, potential delays, and point of contact if needed. Many key eCommerce platforms like Shopify encourage enterprises to add and regularly update their shipping policies, for better interaction with shoppers who visit their online stores.
Why Does Your eCommerce Store Need A Shipping Policy?
Increases your credibility with customers
A shipping policy for online stores is important to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what to expect before, during, and after an order is placed. Apart from answering common questions around timelines and payments, a shipping policy for your store will also clarify on whether or not a product can be delivered to their location, if there will be any variation in charges, and what the terms and conditions would be for returns, exchanges, and cancellations. This in turn builds on trust and increases the chances of a returning customer base.
Saves you time
Additionally, an accessible and easy-to-read shipping policy can save you and your business time! Nearly 80% of an eCommerce enterprise’s time goes on answering customer calls around shipping. This can be drastically reduced, by addressing common questions on your website through a policy, and directing this saved time and energy towards further growing your business.
Helps protect your enterprise
While shipping policies are not legally binding, they can be considered as a definitive document that provides required information to customers in advance. This can provide you with legal benefits in case of miscommunications, reiterating your company’s safety in a competitive and fast-paced eCommerce environment.
How Should You Prepare To Write Your Shipping Policy?
Before you set out to write a shipping policy for your online store, it may be prudent to ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your enterprise offer local, domestic, and international shipping?
Do charges include overhead pricing or custom surcharges
What are the locations you deliver to? Can you add a list for the same?
Can full or partial refunds be offered incase of returns or cancellations?
Do you have an optimal mechanism to keep your customers update about their products in case of delays, as well as provide them with an active tracking option?
What Should You Have In Your Online Store’s Shipping Policy ?
A shipping policy for online stores should always be made readily available and easy to understand. Many eCommerce platforms also encourage you to translate your policy for a key market (for your products) that is non-English speaking. This could be beneficial for both domestic and international buyers, if your online store caters to both. Ideally, your shipping policy should be visible on the homepage of your website, to make it easily accessible.
Apart from these key aspects, your policy can be as descriptive as you think will be required. However, some basic queries should be answered in your policy.
- Order processing period
- Standard delivery timelines
- Domestic and International delivery information
- Local deliveries and In-store pick up options
- Overhead charges levied (if any)
- Payment options
- Returns, Exchanges, and Cancellations
- Potential delays and interruptions in deliveries
A shipping policy for online stores can help your eCommerce enterprise build on trust and a returning customer base. It can help clearly communicate your company’s policies around products and its delivery, and can save your time by addressing common questions via your website helping you further your business’ growth. Leading platforms like ClickPost which work closely with storefronts like Shopify and Magento, often encourage companies - big and small - to create and regularly update their shipping policies, in order to improve customer interaction. They also help enterprises to create a shipping policy via templates that can be tailored to meet the company’s requirements.
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