Whether your customers buy consumer products off an ecommerce website or large, critical pieces of equipment for their B2B company operations, they want to know exactly how their purchase will make it to them. That’s where a carefully written shipping and delivery policy comes in.
It’s not a good idea to copy and paste another company’s policy because each component has to be customized to your business. As long as you can make decisions about the following areas that make sense for your business and explain them clearly, writing a comprehensive shipping and delivery policy is a fairly straightforward process.
Decide Where You’ll Deliver
If you have some kind of restriction on where you can deliver, the shipping policy should elaborate on that (but it should also be listed on any website order forms as well.) Mention whether or not you’ll deliver to:
- Other countries, continents, or states outside of the continental U.S.
- P.O. Boxes
- APO and FPO addresses
Even if you don’t have limitations on where in the world your goods can go, mentioning that specifically will go a long way toward reassuring potential customers interested in making a purchase.
Explain the Methods
Next, list the methods and/or carriers that will be a part of the shipping and delivery process. Depending on your products, this can include just USPS with options for ground, first class or priority, a variety of ground carriers, or a specific freight carrier for heavy or oversized items.
If customers have any choices about the shipping, this is the place to make that clear. Also be sure to note how they can track an order if that’s possible.
Lay Out Timelines
Explain approximately how many days a customer can expect to wait for their package for each shipping method and for locations outside the country if applicable. If any time should be allowed for warehousing, make that clear as well. But above all, communicate that while you do everything possible to adhere to those timelines, they are still your best approximation and are not exact.
Make Delivery and Shipping Rates Clear
If shipping and handling requires an extra charge, list those rates for any options available, or mention that you offer free shipping on some or all products. (This should be on all your product and order pages as well.)
Also be sure to include any extra charges that can come up as a result of a wrong or incomplete address, failure to adhere to customer obligations, or anything else that could impede the order.
Include Customer Obligations
Make it clear whether a customer needs to do anything special to receive their order, like signing for a package in person or paying for the order in full before shipping will begin.
Many customers will be more likely to accept these policies if you can be clear about why you have them. For example, if you mention that the type of goods you deliver are perishable, could be damaged by the elements, or could be stolen off of a curb or doorstep, there’s a higher chance your customers will prepare accordingly.
Tell Them How You Can Help
As a final touch to your policy, Include contact information customers can use in case they don’t receive their delivery or any other problems with receiving their product come up. This ensures an excellent customer service experience as well as a streamlined problem solving process.
When you first realize that you’ll have to create a shipping and delivery policy, the task can seem a little intimidating. But it’s just a matter of clearly communicating the details of how customers will receive their orders. As long as you’ve thought through that process, or have a reliable shipping company to handle it for you, creating an effective policy should be a breeze.