Building trust among eCommerce customers is a powerful weapon in the hands of retailers. Transparency is the basis for this - and thus a clear shop policy translates into increased order volumes.
Many retailers, therefore, choose to go easy on their customers, giving them a choice of payment methods or informing them about their return policy. However, they often forget about another important document - the shipping policy. In today's article, we will show you how to create a unique and clear shipping policy document that will contribute to the success of your business!
Shipping policy template: what to include
A well-crafted shipping policy is a document that should clear up any doubts about shipping an order. At the same time, it should be concise and prominently displayed on the website.
But before we get into the specifics, I will try to convince any unbelievers why shipping policy is a key element in making a purchasing decision:
you provide your customers with the necessary knowledge: and thus avoid potential complaints and dissatisfaction. A well-informed customer is a satisfied buyer who can make a responsible decision and not be surprised by hidden shipping costs or longer delivery times occurring sometimes, especially in international shipping;
legitimacy and trust-building: open communication always plays in your favor as an online retailer. Transparency is something really worth taking care of, as the chart below illustrates perfectly (according to Study: Why B2B Marketers Waste 19% of Their Budgets):
increase in orders and further eCommerce business growth: according to data collected by ReadyCloud, as many as 60% of online shoppers check the shop's return and shipping policies before clicking the "buy" CTA button - this applies in particular to international shipping and delivery. Ensuring that these documents are clear will therefore prevent an increase in shopping cart abandonment and increase your profits. The Baymard Institute reports that the cart abandonment rate is linked not only to the presence of a shipping policy on the website, but also to its content - e.g. 63% of stores do not mention in-store pickup as an option for free delivery, and 45% of online stores use unnecessary jargon in the checkout process, confusing consumers and discouraging them from completing the order by relying on shop policies written in typical legal language.
Now that we know the reasons for such a shipping policy, let us consider what should be included in it. The absolute must-have elements to be described in this section include a set of fairly basic delivery information, including:
shipping methods (in an ideal shopping world describing each of the multiple shipping options);
estimated delivery time;
link to the returns and refunds policy page;
shipping conditions (including what to do if talking about lost or missing packages enriched with shipping restrictions list);
contact details for after-sales service.
Another important aspect that must not be overlooked is the placement of the shipping policy on the shop's website. Of course, you can create a dedicated shipping policy page; but you can also opt to describe everything on the FAQ page, and website footer and to include the most important information on the shopping basket page. You can also additionally send your customers the link to the same page once more along with the shipment confirmation email.
Now that we know where to inform customers of the shipping policy - let's take a closer look at the important details of selection.
Shipping costs: the most important FAQs
Whether you are shipping across borders or targeting local buyers; no matter which destination country - shipping pricing must be clearly defined and leave no room for doubt. The ideal solution to such a seemingly complex situation is to present the price list in tabular form, allowing buyers to select the delivery method that is most convenient for them in terms of both ease of receipt and cost. Do not forget to include the estimated delivery time in such a list.
Thanks to this, you can easily deal with managing customer expectations by providing them with calculated shipping rates, which is extremely important while dealing with different shipping zones and international orders.
Pro-tip: offer free shipping if possible. This is easiest to achieve with local delivery. Studies show, that free domestic shipping enriched with quick delivery (within 2 business days) is what (not only) local customers want.
Interestingly, as research by Econsultancy shows, customers are willing to go to great lengths just to get free shipping:
The challenge of international shipping when running an online store
Let's not kid ourselves: shipping processes are complicated, especially when it comes to shipping restrictions and, multiple international shipping options.
If you are not in a position to deliver literally anywhere in the world (and let's face it - none of us are, unless we use third-party services and, for example, fulfillment service providers), include in your shipping policy information about geographical restrictions and a list of places and areas excluded from delivery.
Remember also that in the case of international shipping, you must include information regarding not only the delivery method or shipping carrier itself, but also the costs associated with customs taxes, information about imported goods or import duties, and which party bears these costs.
Shipping policy template: learn from the best in the eCommerce business
Before I go into specific examples of good practices from industry giants, I have some good news for you - you can easily find a free shipping policy template on the internet, which will certainly help you to prepare a well-written document.
Below I will show you more than one sample shipping policy template - I hope that a quick glance at this selection of shipping policy page list will inspire you to create your own, covering all of the most important issues, including shipping method, multiple shipping options, free local delivery, available to chose shipping option or information on the delivery within just a few business days.
Check out these shipping policy examples:
ASOS shipping page was included in my list not because of its clarity or nice UX, but because of its... accuracy of description. It is ideal for anyone who ships internationally - it contains all the necessary information in bullet points, described in clear and transparent language, leaving the customer in no doubt.
Happy Skin Co
This company, on the other hand, shows that a wall of text may not be the best solution - and relies on graphic simplicity to convey information, worthy of real CX admiration:
Gymshark has made it onto this list by making policy simple: through the clever use of a drop-down menu, it makes it easy to select the logistics matters section of most interest to a given customer:
I am of the opinion that a good picture is worth more than a thousand words. Minaal follows a similar maxim - and therefore relies on the use of a map. You have to admit it - it is nice, clear, aesthetic, and easy to read:
Summing up: the recipe for a perfect shopping policy page in your online stores
Create a shipping policy for your online store describing in detail the whole shipping process. Offer international shipping, clear refund policy page, and let the customer choose a preferred shipping method. Ensure competitive shipping fees and information about return shipping costs (if applicable).
Also, ensure that the shipping policy page contains information on the return policy - or a link to the relevant document.