Often being overlooked - a shipping policy is critical for your eCommerce success.
By declaring important shipping information, it helps address customers’ concerns towards their orders, thus triggering that tipping point with confidence and validation to make their purchase decisions.
Order fulfillment is a ‘winning the expectations’ game in customer service, and a shipping policy is probably an early battleground where you set the right expectations - not too high, not too low, just about right.
Our feelings of ‘satisfied’ and ‘disappointed’ come from expectations. For instance, a customer may be pissed off by additional shipping charges if he or she expected the parcel to be shipped for free.
Before you start to draft a killer eCommerce shipping policy: Recall the questions you have had as a customer regarding your order as a well-written shipping policy should respond to all these concerns and hopefully meet as many expectations as possible.
Regardless of shipping content and destination, we’ve summarized some of the most prominent things NOT TO BE MISSED in a shipping policy:
Local / Domestic / International? While offering only domestic shipping can be disappointing to shoppers in other geographical regions, letting your customers know your shipping options lies at the bottom line.
Money is a sensitive subject. A shipping policy helps avoid gray areas in terms of who is responsible for shipping costs - and who is liable to pay VAT/GST! Whilst many eCommerce businesses offer free shipping as a powerful incentive, do state clearly to avoid unexpected charges that can scare your customers away.
Learn more about shipping duties and taxes for eCommerce: https://bonuship.com/en/blog/crowdfunding-fulfillment/top-faqs-answered-about-shipping-duties-taxes-ecommerce
Shipment Processing Time
Be honest with the time required for you to handle an order before it’s shipped. Remember to mention cutoff times and exclude weekends and holidays for order processing!
You may include:
— Normal processing time: Business days it takes you to process an order
— Additional time required during peak season
This is a critical one in this era wherein customers expect delivery to be fast and faster than ever. Tell your customers as much as possible and give them confidence by informing:
— Estimated delivery times
— Shipping methods
Whether you ship your orders by yourself or outsource the order fulfillment process to a 3PL, it is necessary to provide real-time order status for customers to track and trace their orders. Having clear instruction on order tracking alleviates the pressure of your customer service team!
Returns, Exchanges & Order Cancellation
While you should introduce a decent return policy (which we’re happy to share more in another blog article), make sure you give a brief overview of how you work on refunds, exchanges of goods, and order cancellations to grant your customers a sense of trust and security that their money won’t be missing.
Now that you’ve come up with your first draft - check the list below to review:
1. Is it easy to be found on your eCommerce website?
There is no model answer for where you should display the shipping policy on your eCommerce site, but having a link to the policy page at the footer area is a common practice.
2. Is everything clearly stated?
Make it easy to read and understand. User-friendly navigation, precise information, simple presentation, and the list goes on. Considering that your customers may not read the shipping policy in full, an organized layout helps them find the answers to their questions.
3. Have you covered (& answered) all the FAQs?
Common questions include but are not limited to:
- Where is my order?
- Where do you ship?
- How much does it cost to ship to my country?
- Do you offer free shipping?
- How long will it take for my order to arrive?
- Can I track the delivery of my order?
- Will I be charged for customs and import charges?
4. Is it feasible?
Your shipping policy should be an action plan (not an ideal, imaginary blueprint). Hence, you should be and must be capable of everything you mentioned as you operate. Otherwise, false promises can hugely harm the reputation and credibility of your eCommerce business.
Long story short, utilize shopping policy as part of your customer service management. Here's to clear the air between you and your customers by setting the right expectations and gaining trust!