Due to the absence of retail outlets in their operations, e-commerce businesses rely on shipping services to transport their goods to consumers, as well as handle product returns and exchanges. As a result, any e-commerce business needs to have a transparent, organized, and easy to understand shipping policy that informs customers of shipping costs, timeframes, and modes.
Here are some pointers for crafting a winning shipping policy for your business.
The visibility of your shipping policy is crucial. Some suggested places for placing a shipping policy are the website footer, checkout pages, and product pages. You may also create a dedicated page detailing your shipping policy.
The shipping policy may be written in paragraph, table, or question and answer format. Paragraph format is ideal for minimalist brands that like to stick to the point and do not have excessive information throughout their sites. Table format ranks high in readability. Question and answer format answers common shipping policy questions from a customer-centric perspective.
Regardless of the format you choose, make sure that the verbiage conveys the content of your shipping policy clearly and concisely.
Consider the critical basics that anyone browsing your website must know before deciding to make a purchase.
Include a detailed overview of where you ship, as well as whether you offer international shipping or have any restrictions on shipping destinations.
Modes of Transport
List which carriers you use to ship. If your business uses multiple carriers for shipping certain items or shipping to particular destinations, include this information in this section. Also, indicate whether Same-Day or Next-Day shipping is available.
Shipping Costs and Delivery Timeframes
A breakdown of all shipping costs and delivery timeframes is imperative to include in your company’s shipping policy. Depending on your partnerships with carriers, your shipping costs may vary based on the value of the order placed. You might also offer free shipping if an order meets a certain threshold, and you may also handle gift orders.
If your company ships internationally, make sure also to include a breakdown of any extra duties and taxes to be assessed. Your customers need to know all this information.
Receipts and Invoices
Do you include receipts and invoices in the package, or do you email them? From a customer perspective, it is also vital that you indicate this in your shipping policy.
Returns and Exchanges
What is your policy on returns and exchanges? Policies on returns and exchanges differ drastically from company to company. For example, some companies employ reverse logistics (drop-off returns) and cover the cost to return or exchange a product. These policies have the potential to make or break the customer experience when it comes to direct-to-consumer brands or eCommerce brands (less eCommerce business). Make sure the policies of your business are included for easy reference.
Missing or Lost Packages
Due to no fault of their own, customers’ packages may become lost or stuck in transit, especially when shipping abroad. Instill peace of mind in your customers by providing instructions on how to contact your business about a missing package.
All the content published on your website, from the homepage to product listings, is a representation of your brand. Do not miss the opportunity to write a shipping policy that not only delineates important shipping guidelines but also reflects the same tone as the rest of your retail site. Include attractive and relevant graphics to complement your site’s design.
As an e-commerce retailer, it is your duty to provide fast, accurate, reliable delivery of your goods. Last-mile delivery services can provide your customers with a quality experience as they await the products they have ordered. Providing a positive experience ensures peak customer satisfaction, as well as an increased likelihood of your customers making repeat purchases. It is an excellent opportunity to build essential brand loyalty.
It is also a best practice to provide a quality post-purchase experience. It is not a bad idea to send a follow-up email to your customers to make sure that they have received their items promptly and as described. Using this tech-driven and data-driven approach to soliciting customer feedback helps you understand what works and what does not when it comes to both your product offerings and your shipping processes.
Finally, be sure to update your shipping policy regularly to reflect any changes your company makes in real-time.