Shopify shipping policies simplified
In eCommerce, some of the most common customer queries revolve around shipping. Like, how long will my order take to arrive? What shipping method do you use? And can I return items if they’re not right?
Your shipping policy should provide customers with clarity surrounding all these questions and more. A clear and comprehensive shipping policy doesn’t just enhance the customer experience; it also helps to streamline business operations and boost efficiency.
If you manage a Shopify store, creating and maintaining a detailed and professional shipping strategy is time well spent. Trust me, it pays off in more ways than one, helping to set your eCommerce website up for growth and success.
In this article, we’ll explain what a shipping policy is and why having one is so important. We’ll also reveal best practices for Shopify shipping policies and guide you through creating one, step by step.
What is a shipping policy?
A shipping policy is a set of terms that clearly outlines how a business ships orders to customers and its rules surrounding returns and refunds.
Shipping policies are designed to set customer expectations and build trust and transparency. An eCommerce business’s shipping policy should be displayed on its website for customers to refer to.
Why is it important to have a shipping policy?
The general purpose of a shipping policy is to explain to customers how the business sends customer orders and manages shipping and returns issues. But this isn’t all shipping policies are useful for. A clearly defined shipping policy will have a far-reaching positive impact on business operations and customer experience. Let’s learn some benefits of crafting and maintaining a first-rate Shopify shipping policy.
Sets customer expectations
Your Shopify shipping policy should act as a roadmap for customers, telling them what to expect after placing an order with your store. Offering this level of clarity about the shipping process helps reassure customers and answer any questions about the process.
Enhances your business’s credibility
Your shipping policy acts as a promise to your customers. It explains in detail the service they should expect from you, demonstrating that you are upfront and transparent. This can help to build trust, especially with new customers.
Improves reputation and customer loyalty
Consistently delivering (pun intended) on your shipping promise can help turn first-time buyers into loyal customers. Happy customers are more likely to buy again and spread the word about the great service they received from you.
Gives a competitive advantage
In the crowded online marketplace, your shipping policy can be the ace up your sleeve. Offering better shipping options or clearer information can set you apart from the competition.
Protects your business
A shipping policy isn’t just useful for customers but also helps protect your business. Clearly setting out your shipping terms and policies helps your business avoid disputes and misunderstandings.
Reduces customer service queries
Make sure your shipping policy answers all the most common shipping queries customers ask, is easily discoverable, and is promoted at key points throughout the customer journey to reduce shipping-related customer queries. This will help to reduce customer queries and the time and resources your business spends answering them.
Clear shipping policies and procedures help your business to operate more efficiently. As well as setting out expectations to customers, a shipping policy also sets out expected standards internally, making handling orders, processing shipments, and managing returns more efficient and less prone to errors.
Compliance with legal requirements
Shipping isn’t just about getting a package from point A to B. There are laws and regulations to consider too, especially when sending items internationally. An effective shipping policy will help ensure your business complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
Key information to include in a shipping policy
A good place to start when creating a shipping policy is to map out every point the policy will cover. The exact content of your Shopify shipping policy will depend on various factors, including your logistics process and which countries you sell to. However, whilst the details of every shipping policy do tend to vary, there are some must-haves that every rock-solid shipping policy needs. Let’s find out what these are:
Consider this section a little behind-the-scenes info for your customers. Explain what happens next once you receive their order. Include information about any communications or updates they should receive regarding the order and how soon you will start processing it. This could include information about cutoff times for same-day shipments and whether you ship over weekends.
Offering customers various shipping options increases the chance of them making a purchase. Examples of shipping options include Royal Mail First Class, Royal Mail Second Class, Next-day delivery, and named day delivery. Some eCommerce stores also offer courier and parcel delivery services from providers like Evri and InPost; this could include the option to pick up from in-store or from a parcel locker. Provide detailed information about each shipping option you offer, allowing customers to choose the best option for their requirements. Create a table and list each shipping option, how long it takes, and how much it costs to make it easy for customers to compare options.
The length of time it will take for customers to receive their order can make or break the deal. Whilst it’s not always possible to provide an exact timescale, you can offer average timescales and estimates. Again, use a table to list estimated delivery timelines for each location you ship to.
This section should provide straightforward and transparent information about how much it will cost customers to have their items shipped. If you offer free shipping, promote it clearly, not just in your shipping policy but throughout your website. This section explains how costs are calculated and lists any flat shipping rates you offer.
If there are any locations that you don’t ship to, use this section to let customers know.
If you offer order tracking, tell customers where and how to access it, allowing them to track their order’s progress in real-time and minimising customer order queries.
If you manage an international Shopify store, things can get a little complicated. Your shipping policy should explain how customs, duties, and taxes work for international orders. Use this section to list which countries you ship to and the shipping options available for each. This transparency helps international customers understand the logistics and potential additional costs involved, ensuring they are well-informed before purchasing.
Lost or late shipments
Sometimes, things can go wrong with customer orders. Offer customers peace of mind that if there is a problem with their order, you have a process for resolving it. Tell customers how they can report a problem and provide information about the steps you take to resolve such issues. This section could include policies like refunding shipping costs if an order arrives late or sending replacements for items lost in transit.
Returns and refunds
Providing clear information about how your store deals with returns, exchanges, and refunds is crucial for building customer confidence and can be a deciding factor in their purchase decision. Explain how customers can request a return, exchange, or refund, and specify the timescale for processing refunds. It’s also important to clarify whether the store covers the cost of returns or if it’s the customer’s responsibility.
Can I use a template to write my Shopify shipping policy?
Absolutely, using Shopify shipping policy templates is a great starting point when drafting your policy. Plenty of free ones are available online, which can save you time and ensure you don’t miss any essential points. However, it’s important not to blindly copy and paste. You’ll want to review your template with a fine-toothed comb and personalise it to reflect your brand’s unique policies and ethos.
When customising your policy, be sure to use clear and concise language and break the policy down into smaller, digestible sections with sub-headings. This makes it easier for customers to understand and quickly scan the policy to find the specific information they need. Writing the policy in your brand’s voice can also make it less generic and more engaging for your customers. For further inspiration, check out Shopify’s shipping policy template and the Termly free shipping policy generator.
Where on my Shopify store should I display the shipping policy?
Of course, even the most clearly defined shipping policy won’t do much good if your customers can’t easily find it. It’s important to add your shipping policy to your Shopify store and link to it at various stages of the customer journey. Key shipping information should also be displayed prominently throughout the website. For example, if you offer free shipping or free shipping over a certain amount, displaying this information prominently can help to encourage more people to make a purchase. While it’s useful to link to your shipping policy whenever relevant, there are some key places where customers will expect to find it. These are:
Often, it isn’t until they reach the checkout process that customers wonder how much it is going to cost for them to have their order shipped. Making this information simple to locate and easy to understand helps to reduce friction to checkout, increasing conversion rates.
Questions about shipping and returns are some of the most frequently asked questions received by customer support teams. Many customers will automatically look for the website’s FAQs section before looking for a dedicated shipping policy. Include key shipping and returns information within the FAQs and a link to the shipping policy for more detailed information.
How often should I update my shipping policy?
While there is no set rule for how frequently you should update a Shopify store policy, it should still be reviewed regularly to ensure all the information is correct and up-to-date. It’s important to also get into the habit of updating shipping policies whenever prices or processes change.
Partner with Create8 to write your Shopify shipping policy
Need help creating and seamlessly integrating a customer-friendly Shopify shipping policy?
Here at Create8, we are proud to be a Shopify partner, making us well-placed to help guide you through the process. Our content writing and Shopify web design teams have helped countless eCommerce businesses write and integrate bespoke shipping policies that are informative and align perfectly with their brand’s ethos. Our team will work with you to integrate a clear, concise, and effective shipping policy into your Shopify eCommerce store to help enhance customer experience and streamline your operations. Whether you require Shopify chipping policy writing services or Shopify international shipping policy creation, contact our team today to get your project started.