Shipping Policy Template You Can Use

March 21, 2022

The Bolt Team

It’s no longer enough just to have a great product or a user-friendly website—instead, your success in ecommerce hinges on providing a stellar customer experience. And one of your shoppers’ chief expectations is fast, affordable shipping

In today’s competitive ecommerce landscape, your website needs a Shipping Information page that spells out your policies, procedures, and restrictions. Providing a detailed, information-packed page means no question is left unanswered.

Read on to discover what a shipping policy is, why you need one, and what you should include in yours.

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What is a shipping policy?

A shipping policy is a web page or document that answers your customers’ questions and provides helpful information about their purchase on your website. It’s meant to be a living document, updated frequently to reflect your current procedures. A shipping policy page includes:

  • Shipping costs
  • Order processing time
  • Shipping carriers and methods
  • Delivery speed
  • Your approach to handling delays or service interruptions
  • What to do if an item arrives late or damaged
  • How to handle returns and cancellations
  • Answers to other commonly asked questions

A formal shipping policy is easily accessible. It’s found amongst the footer links and on informational pop-ups throughout your website.

Why does your ecommerce business need a shipping policy?

Your shipping policy is a huge differentiator. For example, if your customer is considering two ecommerce shops—one that offers fast, free shipping and another that offers expensive shipping—they’ll invariably choose the former. 

And research backs this up. For example, in North America, shoppers are 50% more likely to purchase from a merchant that offers free shipping. 

A good shipping policy answers your customers’ questions and benefits you. Below are three reasons to create or optimize a shipping policy page on your website.

1. A good shipping policy prevents misunderstandings

When customers understand their costs before their purchase, they’re less likely to abandon their carts and reach out to customer service after their purchase. 

The key to avoiding confusion is making shipping information readily available. Don’t bury your shipping policy. Instead, place visible links everywhere on your site. Complete transparency communicates that you care about your customer’s experience with your brand. 

2. A good shipping policy keeps customers informed 

Let’s face it—people want what they want when they want it. And they aren’t always logical about those desires. Your shipping policy keeps emotions out of the equation. 

Your policy should clearly explain what customers can expect during and after their purchase. Anticipate your customers’ questions, including:

  • What does shipping cost?
  • How long does it take to process an order?
  • How will the package be shipped? 
  • When can they expect to receive it?

If shipping delays are likely to occur, include that information in your policy. 

  • Are shipping delays taking place? Why?
  • Are there deadlines for orders that need to be delivered in time for holidays or other special days?

For example, during the 2021 holiday season, Burt’s Bees posted shipping delay information in red at the top of their Shipping Information page to inform their customers.

3. A good shipping policy sets expectations for refunds, returns, and exchanges

What are your customers’ options if they receive an item that’s not the right size, is damaged, or can’t be used? Your shipping policy should include information (or links to more information) about how you process refunds, exchanges, and returns. 

Give them full disclosure. The more details you share, the more they trust you to handle their order efficiently and professionally. 

What should you include in your shipping policy? 

Your shipping policy doesn’t need to be long or complicated, but it should include everything your customer needs to know. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Shipping rates and costs
  • International shipping
  • Delivery times and shipping methods
  • Shipping restrictions and who they impact
  • The policy on missing or lost packages

Shipping rates and costs

The most crucial information in your shipping policy is your shipping rates and costs. Your customers need to calculate their total cost as they shop. 

It’s a good idea to format this information as a table. For example, notice how easy it is to assimilate shipping costs on White House Black Market’s Shipping & Handling page.

International shipping

Shipping costs are crucial for international customers, who may not qualify for free shipping but still want to compare costs. International customers actively search for this information because prices vary widely between carriers, depending on the country and their taxes and tariffs. 

If you ship internationally, it’s essential to include information on duties, taxes, and other additional charges. Identify your international shipping carrier(s) and have a statement on who is responsible for customs and import duties. 

Watch My Diamonds includes information about international shipping at the bottom of their Shipping Options page. In addition, they detail payment options, customs duty, and shipping problems that may occur. They even offer a chatbox for customers who need additional information.

Shipping restrictions and who they impact

You may have restricted shipping options for different geolocations, post-office boxes, and military bases. And some states limit the delivery of certain items. If your business is affected by restrictions, itemize them on your shipping policy. 

Wine Country Gift Baskets details shipping restrictions clearly, explaining who their customers can and cannot ship their products to in the United States.

Missing or lost packages policy

Inevitably, packages get lost. So you’ll need step-by-step instructions on what to do if a customer doesn’t receive their package. 

Swiss Gear’s shipping policy provides thorough instructions for missed or lost packages:

  • The customer will get tracking information when the order is shipped. That way, customers can monitor its progress.
  • Sometimes, delivery isn’t completed because the shipping address is incorrect. Unfortunately, if that’s the case, Swiss Gear can’t be held responsible. 
  • Information on the customer’s next steps and Swiss Gear’s process if a shipment is lost. 

Use this free shipping policy template 

As you’ve learned, an effective shipping policy is thoughtful, detailed, and thorough. To help you develop yours, we’ve created a basic shipping policy template you can freely copy, paste, and customize. 

Edit this template according to your specific needs. It includes generic information, and needs to reflect your company’s policies and procedures accurately.

Note: The italicized text in the form is meant to guide how to approach each section of the template. Delete it from the template when you’re customizing it.

Shipping Policy

Thank you for visiting and shopping at [Company Name]. 

Domestic Shipping Policy

Shipment processing time

All orders are processed within 2–3 business days of receipt. Orders are not processed or shipped from Friday, 12 pm EST through Sunday, or holidays.

If we are experiencing a high volume of orders, shipments may be delayed by a few days. If your shipment experiences a significant delay, we will contact you via email or phone.

Shipping rates and delivery estimates

Shipping charges for your order will be calculated and displayed at checkout.

[Add your shipping carriers and rates here.]

Edit
Order AmountStandard Ground Shipping
(1–7 business days)
FedEx Ground
(3–7 business days)
$0–$49.99$5.95$9.95
$50.00+*Free*Free

*Free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

Overnight delivery is only available for orders with delivery addresses within the continental United States.

[Update this section based on carriers you support and their rates]

Shipment to P.O. boxes or APO/FPO addresses

[Your Website] ships to addresses within the US, US Territories, and APO/FPO/DPO addresses.

Shipment Confirmation and Order Tracking

You will receive a Shipment Confirmation email with your tracking number once your order has shipped. The tracking number will be active within 24 hours.

Customs, Duties, and Taxes

[Your Website] is not responsible for any customs and taxes applied to your order. All fees imposed during or after shipping are the customer’s responsibility (including tariffs, taxes, and other costs).

Damages

[Your Website] is not liable for any products damaged or lost during shipping. If you

received your order damaged, please file a claim with the shipment carrier. Save all packaging materials and damaged goods before filing a claim.

International Shipping Policy

We currently do not ship outside the continental US.

[If you ship outside the US, add the countries you’ll ship to with details about your process and additional fees.]

Incorrect Shipping Addresses and Refused Delivery

We make every attempt to validate the shipping address provided at checkout to ensure it’s recognized as a valid address by the USPS. If we cannot validate the address, we will try to contact the customer to provide an updated address. If we cannot update the address, the order will be canceled and refunded.

[Your Company] will not be held responsible if the customer provides the wrong shipping address and we cannot recover the package.

Missing or Stolen Shipments

If you didn’t receive your order, but the shipping carrier has reported that it was delivered, please let us know as soon as possible:

  1. Call [phone number] 
  2. Or alert us at [email address] 

We will file a claim with the shipping carrier. Local law enforcement will be involved. We will replace or refund your order when the investigation is complete. Allow up to 21 days for the investigation.

Final tips

When you draft your shipping policy, include details about how you handle:

  • Returns
  • Exchanges
  • Refunds
  • Restrictions
  • Known issues

Then, before publishing it on your website, ensure it’s compliant and protects your business from liability. Finally, ask your legal counsel to review it and make necessary changes. 

Your shipping policy is vital to the customer experience. It answers your customers’ questions in advance, setting clear expectations and building trust. 

Furthermore, formalizing your shipping policy provides your customers with a positive experience on your ecommerce site. Good products and a user-friendly website just won’t cut it anymore. You need both one-click checkout and transparent shipping policies to convert today’s experienced shoppers.

With Bolt streamlining your checkout and improving your conversion rate, you’re free to focus on other impactful things to your ecommerce shop, like crafting a clear and transparent shipping policy. In addition, partnering with Bolt gives your customers a stellar experience before and after the sale.

Bolt One-Click Checkout

Start treating millions of shoppers like returning customers and make their checkout easier than ever.

Try Bolt Today
ThinkShop by Bolt does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. Contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.