“Do you ship to my country?”
“Where’s my parcel?”
“When will my order arrive?”
“Do you accept returns?”
Do these questions sound familiar?
All of these concerns can be answered by a simple shipping policy. It can help to set expectations with your customers and build brand trust. A well-detailed shipping policy can also reduce the time spent on the phone/email alleviating common customer queries, saving you time and money.
If your online store does not currently have a shipping policy, or you’re looking to improve your existing policy, we’ve put together some valuable tips to get you started!
What is a Shipping Policy?
A shipping policy is a document that concisely outlines to your customers how your store’s shipping process works. Shipping policies can include domestic and international shipping costs, the methods of delivery you use, estimate delivery speeds, the countries you send to, and more.
What information do I include in a Shipping Policy?
A shipping policy must be transparent, concise and relevant to your customers. If your policy is easy to understand, it should answer the majority of their questions without them having to get in touch with you directly about parcel delivery. This gives you time to focus on other parts of your business.
When writing your delivery policy, we recommend you keep the following points in mind:
You should include shipping costs to each country you deliver to. You should outline all your expenses to send a parcel in a clear table or description. It’s essential to be as clear and accurate as possible so your customers aren’t hit by further costs later.
You can also enable live cart quoting on WooCommerce and Shopify web store to communicate shipping times and costs at checkout. Live shipping quoting can increase customer confidence and provides your business with accurate costings. Equally, this is an excellent place to mention your restrictions if you have free shipping thresholds.
Your buyers will want to know when they can expect their goods to arrive. That includes the time it takes for an order to go from creation to dispatch- particularly relevant for personalised or handmade items. It’s a good idea to have cut-off times in your policy if you offer faster shipping options like Next Day or weekend deliveries. The more detail you give, the less likely it is that customers will contact you asking for clarification.
Sustainability is vital to many eco-conscious customers, so if you’re doing your bit don’t forget to shout about it!
The more information you can give your customer about their order, the better- this includes the type of packaging you use. You might talk about the eco-friendly materials you use to package your items, like cardboard boxes, recyclable packets, dissolvable packing peanuts, etc.
Countries you deliver to
A big part of your shipping policy should discuss where you can send your products. You should also include the different delivery methods you offer for domestic and international regions. Many smaller online sellers tend to stick to the UK market initially and then broaden their customer base further afield as they grow.
Returns, changes and cancellation policies
Alongside a dedicated returns policy, it’s worth highlighting how your business operates returns, amendments, exchanges or lost/damaged orders.
If you offer store returns, our Return Parcel feature, available in My Orders, makes it simple to generate a return label with a click of a button.
As the saying goes, “things don’t always go as planned”, and parcel delivery is no exception. However, the way you react to these unavoidable issues is something you can control. This year, we’ve witnessed strike action and regional delays, so you should add to your policy that some issues are unfortunately out of your control and explain the problem to your buyers.
Our Branded Tracking tool, however, will give your customers visibility over their delivery status so they can monitor the progress of their delivery whenever they wish. It’s free, easy to set up and keeps your brand at the forefront even after the sale.
We recommend you put all this information clearly and concisely using headings, subheadings, bold text and links to relevant blogs/pages to make navigating your website or storefront as easy as possible.
A Shipping Policy doesn’t have to live on one designated page, either. Many online stores will communicate their delivery policy on the product pages, FAQ page or website notification bar.
It might also be useful to include a direct link to your courier/fulfilment partner in the policy to boost consumer confidence.
How often should you review your store’s Shipping Policy?
Like everything in business, things are constantly evolving, and your shipping policy is no exception. We recommend you review your delivery policy every 3-4 months, especially if you add a new courier service or anticipate delays. Your policy must be up-to-date during busier sales periods like Black Friday and Christmas.
Choose a reliable fulfilment partner like Interparcel
We hope the above tips have helped define the elements that make up a Shipping Policy and how you can implement these strategies.
At Interparcel, our multi-carrier shipping solutions provide access to a selection of couriers and services in the UK and worldwide to support your shipping policy. As well as offering affordable parcel delivery services, our free tools and features help streamline delivery processes and keep your customers informed. You can also get a quote today and browse our low-cost courier services.