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Shipping Policies: How to Build Trust and Deliver. Literally

2021 09 02 shipping

[3-minute read]

Two of the questions you will see most on your ecommerce store are: where is my parcel? And: how much does shipping cost? A clear, concise shipping policy will become an asset for your business. It creates trust in your brand and customers will return to shop again if they know their products will be delivered quickly and in perfect condition. 

The logistics industry has never seen challenges and opportunities like it did over the last two years. Supply chains worldwide were severely impacted by COVID-19. Products shipped across borders suffered tremendously. The long and short of it is: a shipping policy should be a living document. It must evolve with your business and adapt to the trading environment. Most of all you have to stick to your promises. If you promise to deliver between three and four working days, the product should be in your customer’s hands within that time frame. If you aren’t able to deliver in time, make sure to communicate with your customer immediately to manage and meet their expectations. 

We’re going to walk you through some key points included in a good shipping policy and provide you with a downloadable template that you can adapt to your business. A good shipping policy is pointless if nobody can find it. We’re also going to give you some ideas on how to avoid that. 

Let’s dispatch.

Don’t make your customers look for a needle in a haystack

Some ecommerce sites prefer to put their shipping policies at the bottom of their pages (this section of a webpage is called the “footer”). It makes sense to also include links to your shipping policy at the right time in the right place, like on your product pages and website banners, for instance. 

Keep it simple and stupid 

Write your policy so a kid could understand it. Don’t get into long convoluted sentences that force people to read through Ben Hur to find the information they need. It’s easier to navigate pages that contain headings, subheadings, tables, text in bold, links, and quick summaries. 

Are we there yet?

People want to know how long it will take to process their order. If you run a dropshipping site, for instance, you’ll have to first place the order with a supplier before you can ship it to the end consumer. State this clearly. Let people know if there are certain cutoff times – like if an order is placed after midnight on weekdays, it will only be processed the next business day. It’s important to update this category as things change and suppliers adapt to peak periods, holidays, and unnatural occurrences like pandemics or bad weather.  

Provide domestic and international shipping options 

Which regions do you deliver to and how long will it take to get there? If you offer international shipping, you can list the countries you deliver to with estimated delivery times. This is where a table can come in handy. Customers can see at a glance how long their shipment will take and how much it will cost. 

Shipping costs  

Some ecommerce websites offer free shipping if the customer spends more than a certain amount. You can use this as an added value incentive across your site and in marketing materials. Make sure that you also list any potential surprise fees like duties and taxes. A trend is to build shipping costs into your product price and offering free shipping. It simplifies the price and what people pay for products, with the added benefit of them feeling like they’re winning by not paying for shipping additionally. 

Offer customers convenient options

If you offer delivery or free in-store pickup, your shipping policy should clearly explain how these processes work, the steps customers have to follow, and clearly state your local delivery coverage. 

Transparent returns, chargebacks, and cancellations 

Although we’ve dedicated a whole blog post to returns and return policies, we’d like to mention it here as well. Make it totally clear in your shipping policy how returns work by linking to your returns policy. Customers need to know if they have the option of returning products, whether they will be refunded if they are unhappy, how to communicate should they have complaints, what to do if they want to change their order, and what they should do if their order is lost or damaged. 

Potential service interruptions 

This is where you tell customers why orders may take longer to arrive, why that might happen and how long they can expect to wait before they receive their order. People are quite understanding, as long as you are honest and upfront with them about delays. 

Tips and tricks 

Communicating shipping speeds on checkout pages can increase cart conversion, provide clarity and transparency, and increase customer confidence. It also contributes to lower cart abandonment

There are various sites that provide downloadable shipping policy templates where you can just fill in your business’s details to suit your ecommerce terms. Have a look at TermsFeed to download a shipping policy template, and get some more insight into the details of a good shipping policy. 

Other than building an ecommerce business, website, supply chain, and other wonderful inventions, the most important thing you will build along this journey is trust. It’s the cornerstone of ecommerce. Your shipping policy will make sure that you and your customers are on the same page. It helps to be transparent and upfront. Customers identify with that and will stay loyal as long as you deliver. Literally!

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It’s important to note that this blog post has been written for informational purposes only. It shouldn’t be construed as legal or tax advice on any subject matter. Don’t make or refrain from making any serious or legal decisions based on the content of this post without seeking professional advice. 

Furthermore, please be aware that Truevo is in no manner connected or affiliated with any of the entities mentioned in this article. Any reference to such is simply by way of an example and does not imply or constitute any form of endorsement by Truevo.

Picture of Anneli van Rooyen
Anneli van Rooyen
Marketing Technologist at Truevo Payments
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Disclaimer: This content has been written for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or business advice.

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