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Communicating Your Online Store Shipping Policies

Create a separate online store web page for shipping information that is quickly available on either main or secondary navigation. Let people know how long it takes for products to leave your facility or order fulfillment center — the same day for orders received by 1 p.m.? The next business day? A week for custom-made goods?

Make sure your shipping page is covered by your onsite search function. Your policy should clearly inform buyers about shipping alternatives, from standard ground to overnight, and whether they face any limitations.

For instance, the U.S. Postal Service delivers to P.O. boxes, but FedEx and UPS don’t. The Postal Service delivers on Saturday with no additional charge; FedEx charges extra; UPS delivers on Saturdays but only for an additional $15 per package. Some companies or products ship only to certain countries. Some companies don’t ship products such as chocolate year-round unless the buyer pays for special refrigerated handling and overnight delivery.

Don’t surprise users at the check stand with shipping prices or taxes. Let people estimate in advance their likely shipping charges, especially when shippers are adding fuel surcharges.

Shipping decisions might affect many elements of your online business plan, from manufacturing to merchandising and from pricing to revenue projections.

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