Most Effective Shipping Policies That E-Commerce Owner won’t Share With You

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effective shipping policies

Let me bring you to the world of e-commerce business owners. Forget about hiring lawyers and raising your initial costs. What if I told you that you can form the best shipping policies for your e-commerce business, all on your own?

It’s not exactly rocket science, for one. Today, I’ll let you in on the best and most effective shipping policies that are obvious, but no e-commerce owner will tell you about.

Why Do You Need Effective Shipping Policies?

Once you’re through the process of determining your entire process of finding your shipping carriers, deciding costs and other aspects, it’s time to get technical with the dirty details of shipping.

When things don’t go as expected, what would you like to bank on to relieve yourself of maximum liability while keeping the trust of your customer AND providing excellent services, all at the same time?

Sounds pretty, complicated, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, that’s why you have shipping policies. They cover both you and your client from unnecessary grief and inconvenience, be it the process of shipping, payments, or returns and so on.

All you have to do is keep them short and sweet for greater clarity.

Bringing clarity in communication with your customers give you the following advantages:

  • Reinforces trust and good faith
  • Increases sales 
  • Lesser clients abandoning their shopping carts

How To Go About Policy Making?

All you have to do is think like an e-commerce businessperson trying to protect his interests. What would you like to safeguard yourself against? Where would you like to avoid legal conflict with the customer?

Similarly, step into the role of your customers. What would you like to know before, during and after ordering your product? What questions would you like to be answered?

Apart from these methods, you can also conduct thorough research of your competitor’s policies or those of famous e-commerce websites. You may be able to get an excellent overall idea of how to formulate your policy structure and framework. 

Many e-commerce company owners combine their Policy page with their terms and conditions.

You could do the same, or hold two different sections, as per your taste. 

The 30 most important Shipping Policies

The policies for your reference below may look basic, but are the most integral ones to save you from unnecessary amendments once you learn the hard way: through loopholes you missed. 

Read these policies and what details they need to include. Since no two companies or businesses are alike, feel free to improvise and tweak them into what works for you best!

Shipping Options

What kinds of shipping would your client be able to avail? Do you offer:

  • One day shipping
  • Two-days shipping
  • Overnight/Express shipping
  • International shipping
  • Standard shipping (4-7 days, for example.)

Shipping Costs

Pricing your shipping charges is also important for effective sales. Questions to ask yourself.

  • Whether you charge for standard delivery or the other kinds of delivery
  • How you price your shipping based on locations and area codes

Free Shipping

If you offer free shipping to increase your turnover and sales conversions, this is a good time to mention it. Feel free to include:

  • What qualifies for Free Shipping
  • If there is a minimum amount of sales to avail free shipping
  • Under what conditions are the Free Shipping not available for 
  • The time taken to deliver a freely shipped product

Free Shipping For Premium Members

To increase more subscribers to your e-commerce site and business, you can offer memberships that offer perks and benefits such as free shipping. Popular e-commerce businesses recover the costs of the freely shipped goods through the membership fees collected for a time period, be it monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly.

Shipping Insurance

Let the customer know whether their products are insured on your behalf or not, or whether the costs of shipping insurance is included in the final cart price to be paid by the customer. Shipping insurance is very helpful especially in the case of international shipping, high-value and fragile goods and products. This way the both of you are covered even if the transportation goes south.

Overseas Shipping

Overseas shipping involves the payment of duties and taxes according to the tariffs depending from country to country. You need to mention whether the customs duty and shipping insurance will be added to the overall charge of the customer’s order. Also, give them a detailed break-up of the charges per country to refer to.

Payments Policy

Your payments policy will save your life from tragic events that could be avoided if you didn’t take our advice into account. Money is a fragile issue to the customers, so if they think that they’re being cheated or ripped off, they’ll drop out of your cart like dead flies.

  • The key is total transparency and no hidden costs. Mentioning the modes of payment you accept and on what conditions are a must.

Cash on Delivery

Cash on delivery is an attractive feature many customers seek. While you try to maximize order confirmations, keep in mind to mention these:

Card on Delivery

  • Which orders qualify for Cash on Delivery
  • If there is a minimum amount fixed for Cash on Delivery items
  • If there is a maximum amount ceiling for Cash on Delivery items
  • Cash on Delivery charges for products under the minimum amount (handling charges)

If you accept debit and credit cards on delivery, make sure you mention:

  • The terms of payment
  • Minimum amount qualifying for card on payment options
  • If there is a maximum transaction amount limit for card on delivery products
  • Whether their card details are saved or not, and how they are safe from misuse

Online Banking

Online banking is the most convenient way to make your client pay upfront rather than delay your cash conversion cycle. Things to be discussed are:

  • The payment gateway used to reassure customers of their security concerns
  • Mention the OTP and encryption systems you have in place for secure payments.

Credit/Debit Cards

Payment through credit and debit cards for e-commerce can be a good thing, considering that you get paid upfront. The details you will cover here are:

  • Saving card details with or without consent
  • Maintaining the card owner’s security and protecting their card details
  • Encryption during payments, if any.

UPI

UPI is the latest and most convenient form of payments for both the customer and you as an e-commerce business owner. With instant payments at the touch of a button, lives were made easier. 

Payment Mode Incentives

Instant discounts on the use of a particular mode of payment encourage instant payment rather than Cash on Delivery or Card on delivery to improve cash inflow cycles. You can mention:

  • Offers that give an instant discount on the full cart amount once the payment option is selected
  • Instant refund back into accounts
  • Cashback incentives and conditions for the same

Payment Failure Through Gateway

In case the payment fails somewhere between the gateway and the amount is deducted from your customer’s account, ease their panic and mention how the entry will be reversed. You can mention the amount being ‘Returned To Source Within 4-7 Working Days’, and so on after checking with your gateway policies.

Damaged Products Received

Waiting for a long time and receiving a damaged product is an extremely disappointing experience. Make sure that you mention how you replace damaged products received by the customer. Include points such as:

  • Pick-up of the damaged product if you offer that facility
  • How the owner can send you the product back, through affiliates or other services
  • How you replace the products and refund part/whole of the shipping expenses paid by the customer to send back the product.

Replacement Policy

Touch base with:

  • Products that come with a replacement policy ( bad fit, size issues, damages, change in color, style, etc.)
  • Pick-up of the damaged product if you offer that facility
  • How the owner can send you the product back, through affiliates or other services
  • How you replace the products and refund part/whole of the shipping expenses paid by the customer to send back the product.
  • Which items do not qualify for replacement (fragrances, personal products and products with hygiene contamination issues once opened)

Replacement Allowance

The return allowance clause consists of a time frame allowed to replace and exchange a product due to whatever reason, or as entered in the customer form.

  • 10 Days Replacement: In case of products that are eligible for replacement a time window such as 10 days to file for a replacement.
  • No Replacement: Mention products that are not covered under the replacement policy.

Return Policy

In case the customer is not satisfied with the product and doesn’t want a replacement, make sure you state clearly the procedure to make sure an item received for replacement qualifies for an exchange.

  • Keeping the product intact with tags and original packaging
  • A quality check

Refund Policy

What are your refund methods and conditions in case of a return or replacement? 

  • Checking the quality of the goods for approval of the refund 
  • Whether the amount is returned to its source of payment or e-commerce account wallet
  • What charges are non-refundable (taxes and duties paid)

Gift cards

Gift cards to your e-commerce site can be conditional or unconditional. The policy can cover points such as:

  • Products that one can buy using the gift card.
  • Clubbing the gift card with another mode of payment in case of a cart exceeding the gift card amount.
  • Whether the gift card can be used for multiple orders or single-use only.
  • The validity of gift cards (1 year, 2 years, or so on)

Wallet Policy

Your customer’s account wallet policy may address the following: 

  • Wallet balance may or may not be combined with COD
  • Cashbacks or refunds received in wallets
  • The validity of the cashback amount in the wallet
  • How to recharge an e-commerce wallet

Coupons Policy

Coupons for discounts and offers on your products encourage customers to buy more of your products at a single time. The points you can put into the policy are:

  • Coupons based on specific products
  • Categories applicable for coupon discounts or offers

Reward Shipping

Reward shipping is a great way to return the loyalty of a customer and milestones they crossed with you. When you give reward shipping to a customer, mention the following in the policy:

  • Discount on shipping charges as a reward, or
  • Free shipping as a reward
  • Who is eligible for reward shipping

Share and Earn

To increase the visitors and customers to your e-commerce site, you can encourage your current customers to share your details to invite other friends of their through referral programs. In the policy mention:

  • How referral points are converted into wallet cash
  • How one can use such referral points
  • Where reward points cannot be used
  • If such points can be converted to cash
  • If such points have an expiry date

Delivery Time Taken

A policy that mentions the time for each type of delivery and covers for what happens if a delay occurs, like follow up services for the customer to avail.

Failure of Delivery

After waiting a certain time, maybe the product got lost in transit or took more than a reasonable time to be delivered. At such times you can consider the product delivery failed. What refund policy do you adopt? Do you give any extra compensation for your failure?

Is My Location Deliverable

Finding out that a customer’s area of residence is unserviceable after filling the cart and at the last step is an inconvenience. Make sure you have an option where the customer can check for deliverable areas by checking their area codes.

Customer Support and Grievance

Mention how long your company takes to address the grievance of your customer. For instance, you could state that you take 24 hours to respond, 48 hours to resolve a grievance. If you have a ticket system, mention the details of it too.

Delivery Partners

Mention the affiliates and delivery partners that your e-commerce business uses to ship products.

Delivery Restrictions

Include the codes and names of areas, sates, or countries that you restrict product deliveries to, due to government regulations or any other reasons.

Conclusion

Making effective shipping policies for an e-commerce company is no joke. Come to think of it, the legal significance is just as important as providing your customer with the right information for them to understand your company completely. 

The list of policies above may seem like common knowledge but the difference they make by being written in print can save you a lot of money; money you could lose due to leaving out loopholes.

The key is to be as specific as possible, avoid vagueness and ambiguity. What any other e-commerce business owner will not tell you is how easy it is to frame these policies; just ask the right questions by stepping into the customer’s shoes. What would you want to know or be made aware of?

Let us know how this blog helped you. We’d love to know if you could successfully apply the above policies for your e-commerce business or if you came up with new policy ideas of your own. Whatever they may be, let us know in the comments below!

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