24 July 2020
Our Shipping Policy template will get you started with a Shipping Policy document. This template is free to download and use for your website or mobile app.
A Shipping Policy is where you let your customers know important details about how you ship your goods if your business sells goods that get shipped to your customers.
This policy should inform customers about the following:
Having a Shipping Policy is important for managing expectations of your customers because:
It also makes them aware of different options that are available.
While this kind of policy isn't required by law, it's definitely recommended by e-commerce best practices.
If it takes too long for a customer to figure out how much you charge for shipping and generally how long an item will take to arrive, the customer will probably buy elsewhere and you'll be losing business.
Providing an easily accessible Policy that has clear information on your policies can help you gain and retain customers.
A Shipping Policy isn't to be confused with a Return/Refund Policy. A Return/Refund policy lets customers know:
In summary, a Shipping Policy lets customers know details about how to get goods into their homes, while a Return/Refund Policy lets customers know what their options are after goods are delivered in the event that the customer wants to send the goods back.
Here is a list of frequently asked questions that you may find useful.
A Shipping Policy is not legally required, but having one comes with a number of benefits for both you and your customers.
Some benefits are that people will be more likely to shop with you if you have a clear Shipping Policy in place since there won't be any questions about your shipping timeframes or processes. You'll get to save time by not having to answer individual customer emails asking about your shipping policies.
When you have a Shipping Policy, people will feel more comfortable shopping with you. Your Shipping Policy will show that you're transparent about your practices.
Without a Shipping Policy in place, you may get an exceptional amount of emails from potential shoppers wondering what your shipping times are. You may also get a lot of emails from people who have placed orders and are wondering when to expect their items. Having a Shipping Policy in place will help answer customer questions instantly.
Your Shipping Policy should include the following information:
You can include a link to your Shipping Policy during the checkout process as a reminder to shoppers before they place their final order about what they should expect and what they need to know when it comes to shipping.
In mobile apps, you can include a link to your Shipping Policy in a menu where you include other legal policy links, such as an "About" or "Legal" menu.
If you're looking for the template, download it.
Here are some examples of policies and the important sections that should be included in your Shipping Policy:
Prices and Methods of Shipping Available
The main thing most customers will want to know about your policies and procedures is how much you charge for shipping, and how fast items will arrive.
Most e-commerce businesses offer multiple shipping options, from standard ground delivery to expedited or even overnight shipping. These shipping options also come with different price tags.
Include a section in your Shipping Policy that breaks down this information.
Here's how Revzilla breaks down this information. The simple chart is easy to notice and read, while the explanation paragraphs below it provide additional information about what a customer can expect with each shipping method available. For example, a customer can quickly find out that 'Next Day' delivery costs $59.95.
To make sure that a customer is aware of what this shipping option actually means for them, the explanation of 'Next Day' states that the item will be delivered:
"the next business day after an order has shipped." Business days are defined as "Monday-Friday" and not including holidays and weekends. Additionally, examples are provided, letting a customer know that with next day delivery, "an order that ships out on Thursday...would be delivered on Friday" and that "an order shipping out on Friday...would arrive on Monday."
Some shipping rates charged and methods available can get extensive, as this chart from the Michael's Shipping Policy demonstrates. Shipping rates vary drastically depending on how much money you spend and which shipping method you want.
Let your customers know which forms of payment you accept, and if there are any forms of payment you do not accept.
Here's how Kylie Cosmetics' Shipping Policy quickly and simply lets shoppers know which forms of payment are accepted.
International Shipping Information
Revzilla makes it very clear to customers that their main "Shipping Policies" page applies to "shipments to the contiguous 48 US states" and includes a link to the "International Orders" page for shipping outside of the US:
Revzilla's "International Shipping Policy" includes useful information for international customers including:
Here's how it looks:
While many businesses choose to create a separate International Shipping Policy page and link this page to the Shipping Policy page, others include this information directly within the main Shipping Policy.
MakerBot adds a section titled "International Shipments" within its Shipping Policy.
If you don't offer international shipping, you don't need to create a separate section for this.
You can include this information in a simple sentence in the section where you include random important information.
Here's how Michael's lets customers know that shipping is only available to the 50 United States.
If your shipping has other restrictions other than international shipping limits, let your customers know.
For example, if you cannot deliver to certain states, or to P.O. boxes, make this clear.
Looking at the Michael's Shipping Policy again you'll notice that restrictions are listed, including that orders cannot be shipped to P.O. boxes, expedited orders require a street address, not all shipping methods are available for all items or to all addresses, and that shipping does not happen on weekends.
It's important to let your customers know about any handling time that can increase the overall length of time between the ordering and the arrival of their goods.
For example, if someone orders overnight shipping on an item at 8pm and expect to receive the item the following day, this can lead to problems if you stop processing daily orders at 2pm, and always take 3 days to process orders before shipping.
Here's how MakerBot lets customers know in the very first sentence of its Shipping Policy that customers should "add 2-3 business days to allow for processing time.".
IKEA's Shipping Policy separates "Order Processing" time from "Transit Time" and lets customers know that order processing "typically takes 1-2 days" but that orders can ship anywhere from within "as few as 4 hrs" to "up to 5 days."
This is where you can include any relevant and important information about your shipping practices or policy that your customers would want to know.
Bed Bath & Beyond's Shipping Policy has an "Additional Information" section where information about security reviews of orders is mentioned, as well as information about gift card purchasing.
Jeffrey Campbell Shoes' Shipping Policy includes a "Please Note" section.
Information can be found here about shipping and payment delays, flagged orders, and other important little details that a customer should note.
Fossil's Shipping Policy includes an "Other Details" section. Information about shipping cut-off times and engraving and embossing processing can be found here, as well as a convenient link to an international orders page.
Include a Shipping Policy that lets your customers know all the important details about shipping to avoid unmet or unrealistic expectations.
The following are all important points to include in a thorough Shipping Policy:
This free Generic Shipping Policy Template is available for download and includes these sections:
This article is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor is it a solicitation to offer legal advice.