How To Write a Shipping Policy (Free Template + Examples)
If you don’t have a shipping policy – or if your shipping policy isn’t effective – you’re likely creating a lot of unnecessary work for your business.
“How much is shipping?” “When can I expect my order to arrive?” “Do you ship internationally?” These types of customer inquiries can add up and demand an enormous amount of time.
What’s more, without a clear website shipping policy that curbs expectations, customers may expect more than is reasonable or possible. The result? A lot of upset customers.
A simple online store shipping policy can help to reduce or even eliminate these problems – saving you time and allowing you to focus on what’s important: growing your business.
But what is a shipping policy and how can you create one?
Whether you’re updating an existing shipment policy or starting from scratch, this article will show you how to create a shipping policy that serves your business and customers. Plus, you’ll get a standard shipping policy template that you can customize according to your needs.
- What Is a Shipping Policy?
- 6 Amazing Shipping Policy Examples
- How To Write a Shipping Policy [Free Shipping Policy Template]
- Where To Display Your Shipping Policy
- Summary: How To Create a Shipping Policy
What Is a Shipping Policy?
Shipping policies are a way for you to explain to customers how your business’s shipping process works. These policies include information about when customers can expect to receive their orders, the cost of shipping, and what happens if something doesn’t go according to plan.
Although shipping policies aren’t a legal requirement, establishing rules and setting clear expectations can help you build trust with customers and avoid customer service issues.
6 Amazing Shipping Policy Examples
In this section, we’ll take a quick look at six shipping policy examples from top ecommerce brands and highlight some key takeaways.
1. Offer a Drop-Down Menu: Gymshark
To simplify the details of their international shipping policies, Athleisure brand Gymshark has included a drop-down menu that allows customers to find the information they need quickly.
2. Add a Map: Minaal
Travel gear brand Minaal makes it simple to understand how long US shipping takes with a color-coded map.
3. Include COVID-19 Info: KKW Beauty
Makeup brand KKW Beauty includes vital information about COVID-19’s effect on shipping.
4. Use Bullet Points: Ban.do
The clothing and accessory brand Bando displays its shipping policy in bullet points to make it easy to understand.
5. Use an FAQ Format: Triangl
Swimwear brand Triangl displays its shipping policy in a Q&A format to help customers find the answers they’re looking for quickly.
6. Keep It Simple: Quad Lock
Smartphone mount brand Quad Lock has a straightforward shipping policy broken down into two segments: domestic and international.
The brand also includes the logos of reputable carriers to reassure customers by using the principle of social proof.
How To Write a Shipping Policy [Free Shipping Policy Template]
This section will explain how to write a shipping policy using a free shipping policy template.
Each section of the shipping policy template is in italics. Before each section, we’ve included some instructions to help you understand how to customize each part.
If you want to use this free shipping policy template, simply copy and paste this section into another doc, then remove the standard text – leaving just the headers, text in italics, and tables.
Okay, let’s get into it.
When using a dedicated shipping policy page, start with a short introduction to your shipping policy:
Thank you for visiting [Brand Website Name]. This page details the terms and conditions of our Shipping Policy.
It’s crucial to clarify that your order processing times are separate from shipping times:
All orders are processed and shipped within 1-3 business days. Orders are not processed on weekends or holidays.
Order processing times may be delayed by a few days during holidays, launches, limited-edition releases, or other times when we’re experiencing a high volume of orders,
Please allow additional days in transit for delivery. If your order’s shipment is delayed significantly, we will contact you via email to notify you.
Potential Delays and COVID-19
Set realistic expectations about the possibility of delays near the top of your shipping policy.
Also, many consumers will have concerns about safety, hygiene, and delays due to COVID-19. Include a section to explain how the situation may affect their order and reassure them that you’re aware of the issue and taking steps to handle it effectively.
The health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. We’ve redesigned our order fulfillment center to comply with government/state recommended social distancing and personal protective equipment guidelines.
We will notify you when your order is shipped or if we foresee any issues with fulfilling your order.
Shipment Confirmation & Order Tracking
Use this section to explain how customers can expect to learn about their order status.
After you’ve placed an order, you will receive an order confirmation email. At this stage, please allow time for order processing.
You will then receive a shipment confirmation email notification once your order has shipped (within 1-3 business days). The shipping confirmation email will contain your order tracking number. Please allow up to 24 hours for this tracking number to become active.
If possible, include a link to the shipping courier’s tracking page to make it easier for customers to track their orders.
Domestic Shipping Rates
This section should detail your domestic shipping rates. If you plan to use calculated shipping rates, you could write:
Shipping fees for your order will be calculated and displayed at checkout.
However, if you’re going to use a flat shipping rate, you could write:
$4 Flat Rate Shipping is available on all orders shipping to addresses within the continental United States.
Make sure to highlight any free shipping thresholds, such as:
All orders over $100 qualify for free domestic shipping to addresses within the continental United States.
You could also display multiple shipping options using a table:
|Shipment Method||Estimated Delivery Time||Shipment Rate|
|FedEx Standard||3-5 business days||Free|
|FedEx 2Day||2 business days||$9.95|
|FedEx Overnight*||1-2 business days||$19.95|
Highlight any additional restrictions with an asterisk:
* FedEx Overnight delivery is only available for orders with delivery addresses within the continental United States.
If you offer special local delivery options or rates, include a section in your shipping policy to explain them.
Free local delivery is available on orders over $50 within Los Angeles County. For orders under $50, we charge $1.95 for local delivery within Los Angeles County.
When defining your local area, you could include a list of the ZIP/postal codes or add a map so customers can easily see if they live within your local delivery area.
If you have a physical store and offer in-store or curbside pickup, include a section in your shipping policy explaining how it works.
You can skip the shipping fees and waiting time with free local pickup at our Santa Monica store. When placing your order, select “Local Pick Up” at checkout, and your order will be ready to pick up within 24 hours.
We will send you an email confirmation when your order is ready, along with instructions. You can pick up your order anytime between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Saturday. Please have your order confirmation email with you when you come to collect your order.
International Shipping Rates
Use this section to include shipping times and costs for every country that you ship to:
We provide international shipping to the following countries: [list of countries].
To avoid confusion, it can help to include a list of countries that you don’t ship to:
Currently, we do not ship to [list of countries].
If you’re using calculated shipping rates, let customers know:
International shipping fees will be calculated and displayed at checkout.
If you offer multiple international shipping options, consider displaying them in a table to make them easy to understand:
|International Shipping Option||Estimated Delivery Time||Price|
|Standard Shipping||10 to 14 business days||$9.95|
|Expedited Shipping||7 to 14 business days||$14.95|
|Premium Shipping||4 to 6 business days||$19.95|
Don’t forget to include information about customs, duties, and taxes:
Your order may be subject to import taxes, duties, or VAT, which are applied to your order when it reaches the destination country. All fees imposed are the responsibility of the customer. [Brand Website Name] is not responsible for these charges.
Shipping to PO Boxes
Some carriers have limitations when it comes to shipping to PO boxes. Research your carrier’s PO box policy and communicate it to customers clearly in this section.
Shipping is available to PO boxes, Army Post Offices (APO), Fleet Post Offices (FPO), and Diplomatic Post Offices (DPO) within the continental United States.
It can help to clarify both where you will ship orders to and where you won’t.
Damages, Returns, Exchanges, and Refunds
Finally, it’s worth including information about damages, returns, exchanges, and refunds.
Depending on how you choose to display your policies, you may want to include them on the same page. Alternatively, you could include a summary of your returns, exchanges, and refund policies and link to another page featuring the full details.
Start by outlining what happens if an order doesn’t show up:
If you don’t receive your order within 10 days of receiving your shipping confirmation email, please contact us at email@example.com with your name and order number, and we’ll look into it for you.
Here’s a shipping policy template for damages:
If your order arrives damaged in any way, please email us as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your order number, details of the damage, and a photo of the item’s condition.
We address damages on a case-by-case basis and will do our best to work towards a satisfactory solution.
Please save all packaging materials and damaged goods, as they may be needed to contact the shipping carrier and make a claim.
Include a summary of your return policy – and add a link to your full return policy page:
We accept returns up to 30 days after delivery if the item is unused and in its original condition. We will refund the full order amount minus the return shipping costs.
Our Returns, Exchanges, and Refunds policy page [Add a Link Here] provides more detailed information about your options and the procedures for returning an order.
You may also like to include a contact option for customers who have questions that your shipping policy doesn’t address:
If you have any further questions or would like more help, please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com.
Where To Display Your Shipping Policy
Once you’ve written your shipping policy, customers must be able to find it easily. Here are five ways to display your website shipping policy.
1. Website Footer
The footer is one of the first places customers will look for shipping information. So, include your shipping policy in your footer menu like the watch brand Watch Outfitters.
2. Website Announcement Bar
Many brands like to include attractive aspects of their shipping policy in a website announcement bar at the top of every page – it’s also a good place to highlight important updates. Here’s a good example from makeup brand Kylie Cosmetics:
3. Shopping Basket
4. Product Pages
Many customers will want to understand your shipping policy before placing an order. As a result, including your shipping policy on product pages may help to increase conversions. Here’s an excellent example from nutrition brand Press London:
5. FAQ Page
Finally, you should also include your shipping policy on your FAQ page like the stationery brand Staples, as customers looking for specific information will often visit this page.
Summary: How To Create a Shipping Policy
A shipping policy is the best way to communicate your business’s shipping process to customers. Shipping policies are also an effective way to set expectations, reduce customer service inquiries, and build trust.
A good shipping policy should be thorough, detailed, and easy to understand. In summary, make sure to cover the following topics in your shipment policy:
- Order processing times
- Potential delays and the impact of COVID-19
- Shipment confirmation and order tracking
- Domestic and international shipping rates and times
- Local delivery and in-store pickup
- Shipping restrictions, such as PO boxes
- Damages, returns, exchanges, and refunds
- How to get in contact
Remember, your shipping policy isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it document. Instead, you should monitor your policy and update it regularly to reflect changes in operations and circumstances.
Creating a comprehensive shipping policy can be challenging and time-consuming, but ultimately, it can save you time and help you grow your business.
Have you created a shipping policy yet? Share your experiences in the comments below!