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Free shipping policy templates (Australia)

Inform customers of shipping costs, times and options.

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If you run an ecommerce business you may many emails from customers who are wondering when their items will be delivered or how much shipping will cost. Rather than answer the same question hundreds or thousands of times, you can create a shipping policy. Find out what a shipping policy is below and where you can find professional templates to simplify the process.

What is a shipping policy?

A shipping policy is a document that outlines information regarding shipping. It will detail shipping costs, methods, delivery times and anything else related to shipping. The aim of a shipping policy is to protect you as a business owner and to inform your customers about your shipping method.

shipping policy template from Lawpath

Download this template at Lawpath

When should I use a shipping policy?

While a shipping policy isn't legally required, it's definitely recommended for ecommerce businesses. If you sell and ship products to customers, having a clear shipping policy in place will encourage customers to trust you more. It will also stop customers asking questions about the shipping process and timeframe.

Shipping policy vs returns policy

A shipping policy lets customers know how their product will be delivered. A returns policy lets customers know what options they have once the product has been delivered and they wish to send it back. Sometimes the two are combined into one document, but they are usually separated.

What does a shipping policy include and not include?

What to include in a shipping policy

  • Shipping methods and costs for domestic and international orders. Customers like to know the total cost of delivery before they fill up their shopping basket. Be as transparent and clear as possible, especially when listing international shipping costs.
  • Expected delivery times for each shipping method. This is generally displayed in a table.
  • Shipping restrictions. Be clear if there are any limitations to your shipping. This could be countries, states, certain products that can't be shipped internationally or other limitations like not being able to deliver to a post office box.
  • Missing or lost packages. Direct customers about where to go and what to do if their package goes missing. Display their legal rights, contact details and how to report missing or lost packages. These guidelines will give customers peace of mind should anything happen to their package.
  • International shipping. If you offer international shipping, you might need to explain who is responsible for paying custom and import duties.

What not to include in a shipping policy

  • Vague language. Don't use any vague language that could be misunderstood.
  • Misleading claims. Don't lie or make promises you can't meet. This will lose the customer's trust in you.
  • Legal jargon. Most of your customers won't have law degrees. Try to aim your language at a level a child could understand.
  • Fancy fonts and capital letters. These are harder to read and detract from the message.

How effective is a shipping policy?

A well-written shipping policy is essential if you want your business to thrive. It will make your customers happy and boost your conversion rate.

An effective shipping policy can help to do the following:

  • Offers transparency
  • Minimises customer service issues
  • Encourages more purchases
  • Manages customer expectation
  • Protects your interests
  • Limits liability

Do I need a lawyer to write my shipping policy?

No. A shipping policy is not a legal document so a lawyer is not required. If you are concerned about writing an effective shipping policy, you can use an online template service and then have a legal professional read over your draft.

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How do I write a shipping policy?

A shipping policy needs to be concise but highlight all the essential information a customer needs to know. All the language needs to be clear and easy to understand. A shipping policy should address any concerns or queries customers might have about shipping.

Use a conversational tone when you write your shipping policy. Avoid using legal terminology or harsh language like "you must". Try to keep the tone positive, don't start every sentence with the word no or make it sound like you're scolding your customers.

If you're inexperienced in writing up policies, putting together a shipping policy can be daunting. This is where a shipping policy template might be useful. Here's where to find some online:

  • Lawpath. Lawpath is an online legal resource for small businesses. Browse the range of free templates but you must sign up for a plan to access customisation options.
  • TermsFeed. TermsFeed creates customised legal agreements and policies for websites. Select the platform and download the policy template.

Frequently asked questions about shipping policies

Where do I display my shipping policy?

A shipping policy is usually linked to on the footer of your website. The shipping policy is generally located in the same locations as the returns and privacy policies.

You can add a link of your shipping policy during the checkout process and recommend customers read it. This means they know what they are getting before purchase, and will minimise the amount of customer service emails you will receive from customers waiting for their products. In mobile apps, include a link to the shipping policy in the menu alongside other policy links.

Is the shipping policy part of the terms and conditions?

The terms and conditions page is generally a longer page which covers not only shipping but many other aspects related to using your service. Customers rarely read the whole terms and conditions section, which is why many businesses separate their shipping policy from the rest of their terms and conditions.

Should customers be emailed the shipping policy?

Many businesses include a link to the shipping policy in their confirmation email, and any other emails related to dispatch or delivery of their product. This gives customers easy access without having to go onto your website and find the policy.

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