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Online shoppers do not appreciate if their purchases are delayed, or if the shipping is not up to the mark. A 2014 study conducted by UPS shows that packaging, shipping and the seller’s returns policy are important factors in deciding on a purchase. Majority of shoppers will buy only if they have the option of free shipping. Several unhappy shoppers don’t hesitate to abandon their shopping cart if they find the shopping terms to be unsatisfactory.

Online sellers must understand that the role of shipping policies in creating sales is huge. So a great deal of thought has to go into formulating the shipping policies.

Can shipping policies amount to sales conversions?

Yes they can! Here’s how you create these policies to maintain a healthy conversion rate:

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Sometimes in the monotony of work, delivery personnel tend to toss around parcels without giving a thought to its contents. While you cannot expect them to treat parcels like they are made of fairy wings, a little sensitivity helps in keeping products from avoidable nicks and cuts.

Occasionally one is unfortunate to find that important documents like academic certificates that invariably come with a ‘Do not fold’ stamp in bold have been folded at some point in the journey. Delivery personnel should be told that they handle all kinds of consignment, and need to be a little sensitive with the parcels.

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Ensure that you pack the product securely. If you are shipping sensitive products like ceramic tea mugs, you can never be too careful. Buyers are very particular about the fact that the product should arrive in one piece, and even the slightest of flaws in the packaging or the product can result in a bad rating or a bad review.

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Most buyers are not too happy to be kept waiting for their delivery. Just because you are giving them free shipping, it does not mean they are willing to wait indefinitely for it to arrive. Time is of essence, so make sure you have a reasonable time frame when you deliver the purchases. Keep the delivery time within a week to keep your buyers happy.

Another thing to remember is to keep the buyers posted on the progress of the consignment. A shopper will want to know where the consignment is at any point of the wait. Indicating that it has been despatched from the warehouse, is in transit, or has reached the buyer’s city helps keep the buyer in the loop, thus ensuring transparency.

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Spell out the shipping terms clearly upfront. If you will be charging for returns, state that clearly. If you have a policy where you charge for shipping, state that right where the shopper can see it, rather than spring it on them during checkout (which is a perfect recipe for cart abandonment).

Likewise, for your returns, if you have any specific terms, such as the original packaging should be retained, or requires a copy of the return bill to be produced, state that clearly as well.

Keeping the returns window open for a longer period of time is also going to attract more buyers. Knowing that they can return the product after say 45 days after purchase rather than the normal 30 days will win you more customers.

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Do you give a cash refund or a gift coupon for returns? Do you allow buyers to exchange the product for a different one, or do you not have an exchange policy? In such case, how will you address a customer’s grievance? State any limitations expressly. If you do not have an exchange policy (cash returns only) for a product, make sure that you mention that.

Some products cannot be exchanged or returned, such as inner wear, socks, and the like. It might be an obvious rule, but it is a good practise to state this to avoid any misunderstanding in the future.

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Experiment with different carriers as you start off in order to zero in on a service provider that you are comfortable with. Some logistics companies are better than others. They go the extra mile to ensure that the package is delivered safely to the customer. Some, on the other hand would not mind if they don’t get the customer’s signature. Find a trustworthy logistics company who will ensure that they deliver the parcel safely to the customer.

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If you do not have coverage of a particular place, mention that. A good practise is to let customers check if you have service to their pin code. Alternatively if you ship internationally, state that as well.

The important thing to remember is to be honest and crystal clear about your shipping policies. Leave no room for ambiguity, and it will help build trust.

While these are some guidelines, you can get a comprehensive solution from experts. Get in touch with Browntape for all your ecommerce requirements.

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