More than ever, people are turning to the internet for their go-to shopping resource. Many e-commerce retailers are entirely online based and establishing trust with their customers is one of the greatest tools for enhancing their sustainability. Do you have a shipping policy for your e-commerce business? Online shoppers want to know details about the nature of transactions they are getting into and if this information is available on the website, it makes for a pleasant shopping experience.
What does a shipping policy look like?
Often prepared as a stand-alone document, the shipping policy is everything that your customers need to know about after they have placed an order. Key information such as how long it will take before an order reaches the buyer and where they are supposed to receive it should be contained in this document. For international shipping, buyers will ordinarily be required to choose between more than one shipping methods; this means costs may vary.
Every shipping policy is unique to the nature of business and size of operation. Overall, the document contents should be accurate, clear and straightforward.
Is it necessary to have a shipping policy?
When thinking about what to include in your shipping policy, think along of the benefits of having it as opposed to not having it. From giving crucial information to customers on shipping to providing a framework to resolving shipping-related issues, e-commerce businesses definitely benefit from having it.
- Provide shipping options and related costs – customers want to know how much an order will cost them and this includes the shipping costs. If you have a shipping policy on your e-commerce site, you help your customers plan their expenditure. At the same time, you save time that you would have otherwise used to respond to shipping inquiries made over support channels.
- Provide delivery timelines – when you promise to deliver on orders, customers expect that you will do it within reasonable timelines. Did you know that the only difference between you and your competition could be in the delivery times? Before you commit, factor in holidays, transit times and access to various locations.
- Provide business protection – every business is in it for the profit and this interest must be protected. For instance, what can a customer expect when they receive a damaged product? The shipping policy should clearly outline the procedure for making returns and exchanges. It is also important to provide realistic timelines for exchanges especially for international customers.
What comprises a good shipping policy?
When coming up with a shipping policy, think about all the questions you would have if you were making an online purchase. Most of it comes to mind quickly, but some of it only comes from experience;
- Shipping options – the customer wants to know the various shipping companies that your business uses to effect delivery.
- Delivery options – does your business offer same day, overnight, international, or standard, for example. This is important for customers who order on strict timelines.
- Shipping costs – do you offer free shipping? It is a good idea to mention this. For those who use flat rates, it is a good idea to provide a pricing table. Some customers find it easier to work with a shipping calculator.
- Delivery handling times – it is important for the customer to know how long it will take for their order to be processed.
- Shipping timeframes – this depends on the location of the buyer and most sellers offer on a region by region basis. It is information that prepares the buyer on how long they have to wait before the order gets to them.
- Shipping restrictions – you need to have a list of destinations which you do not service. For delicate or potentially hazardous products, it is important to offer additional costs and extended timeframes.
- Missing or lost package – packages get lost in transit all the time and your customers want to know if and how they can make claims.
- Return and exchange information
Having a firm shipping policy in place and clearly documented is considered a best practice for all e-commerce businesses. For those who do not have one set up or are interested in upgrading what they have, this article has been compiled to offer you some insight. If you’d like to learn more about shipping best practices, head over to the QuickBox Fulfillment blog today!