Should You Have A Shipping Policy?: Guide and Examples

Establishing a sense of trust between seller and buyer is a crucial step toward success for businesses of all kinds. But for eCommerce businesses in particular, establishing trustworthiness without a physical storefront or face-to-face interaction can often be especially challenging. That’s why a clear shipping policy is so crucial.

Shipping policies also include a return policy, which helps customers to understand the steps that are needed to be able to return an item or receive a refund. 

But shipping policies aren’t just for the benefit of the customer. These kinds of policies can actually help businesses to plan better for the potential economic impact of returns, too!

Today, we’ll take a deep dive into what a successful shipping policy looks like so that you can start to craft an effective plan for your organization! 

What is a Shipping Policy? 

So what is a shipping policy? Shipping policies refer to the way that online businesses communicate shipping information to current and potential customers. 

A shipping policy might cover information about when the customer can expect their items (based on what they ordered), how much shipping will cost, and what the company will do to make things right if something should go awry during the shipping and fulfillment process. 

Why You Need a Shipping Policy 

A well-crafted shipping policy template has several notable benefits for your business. Your customers can be better informed before making a purchase from your site and will therefore feel more supported by your brand in the process. 

Not only will your customers know exactly what to do if they want to return their item, but they’ll also know when the item should arrive. Just make sure to clearly communicate when there are circumstances that might slow down shipping times, such as holidays or supply chain delays.

A shipping policy gives your team a concrete set of actions to take if and when shipping or return issues do arise.

So what should you cover? An effective shipping policy will tell customers about your return and exchange policy, what supply chain management partners should do about issues, and how customer service will be handled if there are fulfillment or shipping problems. 

Where to Display Your Shipping Policy 

With eCommerce businesses, your online presence is your storefront. For this reason, many online brands prioritize eye-grabbing design and fun, engaging content on their websites. 

Usually, customers who browse a website are looking to find products, a personalized brand image, or the company’s backstory. With so much going on, it can be difficult to fit in important information like your shipping policy. For this reason, many online companies choose to dedicate a section of their site to shipping and return policies. This section should be easy for customers to find. One example of doing this is by placing your policy link within a drop-down menu or on a footer. 

Some brands opt to include an abridged version of their shipping policy or updated shipping information as a banner on the home page. 

These banners can relay necessary and timely information, but they don’t detract too much from the page’s overall style. Linking to shipping policies in your home page’s footer is another great way to provide easy access to this information. 

Three Key Parts of Your Shipping Policy 

Your company’s shipping policy should be efficient and concise, while also being detailed and descriptive. Customers shouldn’t be confused or unsure about the steps they should take to find individual information about their order or learn how to make a return. 

1. Standard Shipping Costs 

When you display your typical shipping rates and any bundling deals that reward customers with free shipping, your customers will be able to shop with a more detailed understanding of their order’s total cost. 

This is particularly important for customers who will be shipping internationally, as they might be faced with higher shipping costs. 

2. Restrictions Around Shipping 

Some companies refrain from shipping to specific countries or to PO boxes. Some state legislations even restrict certain shipping practices between U.S. states. Make sure this information is clearly stated within your shipping policy to avoid potential issues with customers. 

3. Typical Delivery Timeframes and Shipping Methods 

Some online retailers utilize a single shipping company for their fulfillment. On the other hand, others may need multiple companies on board to keep the needs of their supply chain in check. 

Make sure your customers understand who will be carrying their package from place to place; as well as when they can expect their item to arrive after they place an order. Ideally, you should provide your shoppers with shipping options that grant them speedy and on-time delivery.

Three Shipping Policy Examples to Learn From 

Not sure how to design your shipping policy for optimal success? It can be helpful to check out similar businesses with online storefronts. By doing so, you can see how they communicate their shipping policies to their customers.

1. Minaal 

The online brand. Minaal, features unique travel gear. However, this brand does more than simply provide written information regarding their shipping policies! Minaal provides a color-coded map of the United States to clearly display common shipping times based on location. 

2. Kigurumi 

Kigurumi is an online business that sells onesies for animals. This company makes it easy for customers to find shipping information that is specific to their country by listing organized tables clearly labeled by shipping destination. 

3. KKW Beauty 

Makeup company KKW Beauty makes it easy for customers to receive important shipping updates related to COVID-19 delays. They display a link to this information at the top of their homepage, providing vital insight with minimal distraction from the homepage content. 

Shipping Policy Templates 

Sometimes, a shipping policy template is exactly what you need to provide basic shipping and returns information. From there, your company can add any specific details that your customers should know regarding your shipping zones, typical costs, and steps required to return or exchange items. 

Optimize Your Shipping with a 3PL 

For small eCommerce businesses with a limited product and shipping range, managing to ship and return policies can usually be handled in-house. However, as your company expands and your supply chain becomes more complex, you may want to utilize the services of a third-party logistics company (3PL). With a 3PL, all of the intricacies of your supply chain can be expertly managed, from manufacturing to warehousing to shipping. Want to learn more about what a top-notch provider like Print Bind Ship can do for you? Get a free 3PL service quote today!