“How much will shipping cost?”
“When will my order arrive?”
Some of the most common questions you get as a store owner will inevitably be related to shipping.
A well-thought-out shipping policy not only helps you proactively set the right expectations around shipping times and costs, but it also becomes an asset whenever customers come with questions about their orders.
Your shipping policy is a living document for your business, one that you update and adjust as your operations and circumstances change—especially when the unexpected forces you to adapt.
Whether you’re creating a new shipping policy from scratch or updating your existing policy to curb customer support inquiries, we’ve put together this resource to help you cover and communicate the right details—with a template to get you started along with examples you can borrow ideas from.
- What your shipping policy should include
- Shipping policy examples
- Free shipping policy template
- Where to communicate your shipping policy
What your shipping policy should include
What you cover in your shipping policy and how you communicate it will be highly dependent on your current business operations and supply chain. The goal is to be transparent with customers.
As 2020 brings unforeseen shipping delays and increased carrier costs, it's more important than ever to keep your shipping policy up to date with the following key points in mind:
- Essential shipping details are easy to find. While it is common practice to keep a link to your shipping policy page in the footer of your website, consider how you can also surface important shipping details in the right place at the right time (e.g. on your product page or website banner).
- Clear and concise presentation. Don’t make customers comb through your shipping policy page for the information they need. Whenever possible, make it easy to navigate with clear subheadings, tables, bolded text, and links to learn more.
- Order processing times. After an order is placed, how many days will it take to get it ready to ship? It’s worth communicating if you’re excluding weekends and/or holidays, and if you have certain cutoff times for processing orders (e.g. orders received after 5pm will be processed the next business day). If changes occur within your supply chain, due to peak periods or as a result of COVID-19, you should update your processing times to reflect it.
- Domestic and international shipping options. What are the qualifying regions for your domestic shipping options? International shipping can be broken down in its own section where you list the countries you ship to and estimated delivery timelines. If you offer several shipping options, you can list them in a table so the information is easy to scan.
- Shipping costs. Break down your shipping costs for the customer. If you have a free shipping threshold, you can communicate in various places as an incentive for customers. Any potential surprise fees should be surfaced too, such as duties and taxes the customer may incur.
- Local delivery and buy online, pickup in-store. If you offer local shipping options, such as local delivery or buy online, pick up in-store, you can explain the steps customers will need to follow after ordering and clearly communicate your local delivery coverage.
- Transparency around returns, changes and cancellations. On top of accommodating returns through a dedicated return policy, you can also summarize how your business evaluates refunds, order edits, exchanges, and what your process is in the event of a lost or damaged order.
- Potential service interruptions. Orders may take longer to arrive due to variables outside of your control. Your shipping policy page is where you can communicate approximately how much longer and explain to customers why.