Free Shipping Policy Template and Guide by Bezos

May 14, 2024
16 min read

If you have an online store, you probably have to deal with customers who want to know when or how fast they can get their packages. Where is my order? Do you do next-day dispatch? How long will it take to get the package? What is the delivery cost? 

As a business that wants to be competitive, you are required to answer those questions. The reason is clear. More than 50% of shoppers will not buy goods online if the delivery information is not clear enough. [1]  For others, shipping and return policies are vital to their decision on whether to purchase a product or not, with more than 18% abandoning shopping carts due to unsatisfactory shipping policies. [1] 

This highlights the importance of having robust delivery terms that explain your dispatch process to shoppers. In this guide, we will explain what a shipping policy is and the benefits of having one, feature examples from other businesses that work, and provide a free sample template to help you get started. 

What Is a Shipping Policy? 

A shipping policy outlines the terms established by an online store regarding the delivery of purchases. This measure acts as a guide on your website, providing crucial information about order dispatch for your customers and covering everything they need to know before paying for a product. 

It typically includes options for both domestic and international dispatch speeds, associated costs, conditions for returns and the expected timeframe for order processing, among other details.

  • Do you provide free shipping, a flat rate, or shipping fees calculated at checkout?
  • What payment methods are accepted, and can you or your third-party logistics (3PL) partner manage cash-on-delivery (COD) orders?
  • How many dispatch carriers and mail classes do you offer?
  • What methods will you use to provide tracking details to your shoppers?
  • What is your return and refund condition?
  • Do you offer international shipping? If so, who handles customs clearance at the destination?

Providing answers to these queries will help you define a robust guide based on your business operations.

What Purpose Does a Shipping Policy Serve?

This dynamic framework serves multiple purposes:

  • Contractual Agreement: It spells out what the clients can expect when they make a purchase from your online store. This includes details such as transportation methods, costs, and estimated arrival times.
  • Customer Service Tool: By providing all the information upfront, you're answering questions before they're even asked. This not only reduces the burden on your team but also enhances the overall shopping experience.
  • Legal Safeguard: It can protect you against potential liabilities and provide a basis for resolution as long as the policy is clear, fair, and compliant with relevant laws and regulations.

Why Is a Shipping Policy Important?

When it comes to eCommerce, many business owners focus on product quality, website design, and marketing strategies. While these are undoubtedly important, the significance of a well-crafted policy often goes unnoticed. 

Here's why overlooking this essential element could be a costly mistake for your online company:

Reduces Cart Abandonment Rates

One of the primary reasons for cart abandonment is unclear delivery information or unexpected costs. Clearly outlining all fees and timelines can significantly reduce this rate. When service users know what to expect, they're more likely to complete their purchase.

Enhances Customer Experience

The customer experience doesn't end when a visitor clicks the 'Buy Now' button; it extends all the way to the moment they unbox their order. Inform them about when they can expect their package, how they can track it, and what steps to take if something goes wrong. This full-circle approach can turn first-time buyers into repeat purchasers.

Builds Brand Credibility

In today's competitive eCommerce landscape, building brand credibility is more important than ever. A well-defined term is a statement of your business's professionalism and commitment to client satisfaction. It shows that you've thought through the entire customer journey and are transparent about how you handle delivery.

Facilitates International Sales

If your store sells internationally, you should outline additional costs, expected delivery times, and any customs procedures for such orders. This clarity can make customers more comfortable making a purchase, thereby expanding your global reach.

Streamlines Internal Operations

By setting clear guidelines, you make it easier for your team to handle queries and resolve issues, making it a useful tool for streamlining your internal operations. This can lead to boosted efficiency and lower running costs.

Acts as a Competitive Differentiator

In a market saturated with similar products, your policy could be the factor that sets you apart from competitors. Offering free delivery, same-day dispatch, or hassle-free returns and clearly stating these in your document can give you a competitive edge.

What Should a Robust Shipping Policy Include?

Below, we outline 10 critical components that should be included in every delivery policy to ensure clarity and efficiency.

1. Order Processing Duration

The time it takes to process an order varies by product and demand. For example, Dell built-to-order computers may take up to two weeks to assemble and deliver, while readily available models might be dispatched within a few days. Your business shipping method might differ. However, you should clearly communicate processing times, especially during high-demand periods such as new releases or holiday sales. This will make it easy to set realistic expectations for buyers.

2. Delivery Time

Another important element is the expected arrival date of the package. This is necessary because the length of time buyers take to get what they ordered varies depending on the transport and shipping options selected. For some online stores, this can range from next-day to seven business days, contingent on whether a customer chooses standard or express delivery. You can provide your time and details about the dispatch companies used, as well as the options available (such as standard, express, or freight), to give shoppers an idea of the arrival time of their purchases. 

3. Costs

Highlighting the structure of your shipping rates on your website and during the checkout process can significantly impact buyer decision-making. You can either clarify shipping fees as free, fixed, or variable. For instance, some eCommerce shops offer free delivery to all logged-in members, while others offer it for purchases over a certain amount. This approach helps prevent cart abandonment and effectively manages logistics expenses because shoppers already know how much they will spend. 

4. International Shipping

If you ship internationally, explaining your dispatch options is crucial. One popular online store to emulate is ASOS. The company sells to over 200 countries and territories and offers information on customs duties and clearances on its shipping policy page. If you offer multiple international shipping options, it is essential to mention if there are additional fees or special packaging requirements. Aside from that, it is necessary to explain who is liable for importation fees. This will help shoppers understand your store's operational procedures, reducing surprises or disappointment. 

5. Shipping Limitations

Communicating restrictions is another important thing to mention in your delivery terms. Most retail stores don't process orders on public holidays or weekends and have specific size and weight limits for parcels. If your eCommerce store is like that, including such information will help prevent confusion. In addition, informing shoppers of any geographical constraints or special conditions helps simplify the purchasing process and ensures a smooth experience.

6. Information on Possible Interruptions and Delays

For eCommerce stores, it is always a good idea to anticipate delays, as they are sometimes inevitable if you want to avoid backorders. For example, natural disasters, economic crises and civil unrest can cause delays, making it impossible for buyers to get their packages at the stipulated time. Your terms should actively update customers about possible setbacks before and after they occur. In addition, clearly stating your contingency plan, including how buyers are informed and what steps are taken to mitigate shipping delays, is essential to keep them updated.

7. Returns, Exchanges, and Refunds

Sections you should not miss are those on returns, exchanges, and refunds. You can use this opportunity to outline the methods, timeframes, and necessary actions that buyers must take to start these procedures. For most companies, offering a straightforward return policy allows shoppers to return items within 30 days of purchase, provided the goods are in original condition, with tags intact. Your return and refund policy should be free of ambiguity, making the timeframe and the condition of the goods clear. 

8. Damages and Losses

At times, the package sent to customers might suffer damage or get lost. This can become a major issue if not addressed properly. Your delivery terms must detail accountability and define the coverage limits provided by insurance. 

In some cases, the carrier is responsible for loss or damages during transit. However, the buyer is responsible for keeping the costs of the damaged items low and may accept them if they can be reasonably repaired. If the package is damaged beyond repair, the receiver can reject it. 

This scenario underscores the importance of clear, comprehensive terms to safeguard both business interests and customer satisfaction. 

9. Order Tracking Information

In order to ensure that your customers feel secure and confident about the status of their orders, you need to provide them with detailed tracking information within the framework of your delivery guidelines. This means that you should clearly outline how they will receive timely updates regarding the journey of their parcel, including information such as estimated dates, carrier details, and tracking numbers. 

Furthermore, it's important to keep your customers informed at each step of the dispatch process. This includes sending them updates when their order is confirmed, when it is shipped, and when it is out for collection.

10. Additional Information

This section of your policy should address any additional details not covered elsewhere. It's important to include information on accepted payment methods, multiple shipping options, options for local deliveries, domestic shipping rates, or the availability of in-store pickups. Offering this comprehensive information ensures that all queries are answered before they even arise, reducing the need for follow-up support calls.

Where Should You Display Your Shipping Policy?

If your customers can't easily find your delivery terms, you lose the opportunity to build trust and manage expectations. Here's a closer look at strategic locations to display it on your website for maximum impact:

  • Your website footer: The footer is often considered the 'utility belt' of a website, housing essential links and information. Placing your policy here ensures that it's accessible from every page on your site, making it easy for patrons to find the information they need at any point during their browsing journey.
  • Within the checkout process: The checkout process is a critical juncture where customers make the final decision to complete a purchase. Displaying information here can alleviate last-minute concerns about costs or delivery timelines, reducing cart abandonment rates. Some businesses opt to include a summary of the policy with a link to the full document for those who want more details.
  • Product pages: While not as common, some eCommerce businesses choose to display it directly on product pages. This can be especially helpful for items that have unique conditions or costs. Providing this information upfront can pre-empt questions and simplify the purchasing decision.
  • FAQ section: An FAQ section is another excellent place to feature the document or at least parts of it that answer common questions. It can be a handy reference guide for those who have specific queries about order dispatch.
  • Pop-up or banner: If you're running a special promotion or have made significant updates to your policy, a temporary pop-up or banner on your homepage can draw immediate attention to these changes.
  • Customer service page: Your customer service page is another logical place to include a link. People who have issues or questions are likely to visit this page, so having the policy accessible here can preemptively answer questions and minimise the workload on your team.

Tips to Make The Most Of Your Shipping Policy

Below, we explore various strategies to maximise effectiveness and enhance customer expectations.

Make it easy to readOne best practice is to aim for simplicity in language and structure to ensure that it's understandable to a broad audience. You might consider using bullet points to highlight key terms and conditions or employ infographics to explain more complex aspects like timelines and procedures. 
Offer free deliveryConsider implementing promotional shipping rates during festive seasons for orders exceeding a certain value to attract buyers. Highlight these offers prominently on your website to enhance visibility and impact.
Attract more local customersYou can provide local shipping options such as in-store pickup or partnerships with regional delivery services that can provide convenience and draw more local buyers. If you operate physical stores, promote a seamless buy-online, free local pickup to merge online convenience with offline service.
Don’t copy someone else’s termsIt is vital to ensure that your term is tailored specifically to your business and not merely a duplicate of another's. Copying can lead to legal issues and confusion, as generic policies may not address specific needs or comply with local regulations. 
Update regularly You should see your dispatch information as a dynamic document that requires frequent review. Changes in your shipping processes or challenges in the supply chain should prompt an immediate update to keep shoppers well-informed. 
Display it in multiple placesMake sure it is readily accessible from multiple points on your website. Key locations can include the homepage navigation bar, the footer, product detail pages, and the FAQs section. Also, consider highlighting it during the checkout process as buyers review their options, ensuring they have all the necessary information at hand.
Incorporate visualsTo make it clearer and more engaging, integrate visuals such as maps with colour-coded areas indicating different delivery times. This visual representation helps to break up text-heavy content, making it easier for customers to grasp expected delivery schedules based on their location.

5 Shipping Policy Examples 

Here are five excellent examples employed by successful businesses to give you an idea of what your own shipping policy should include.

1. Amazon

Amazon delivery terms page.

Amazon offers a range of beneficial delivery options that enhance the shopping experience for both Prime and non-Prime members. Prime shoppers enjoy free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items with no minimum purchase requirement. Additionally, they can access free same-day dispatch in over 90 U.S. metro areas for orders over $25. On the other hand, non-Prime members are not left out, as they can qualify for no-cost delivery on eligible orders that meet a minimum purchase requirement of $35. This comprehensive approach ensures that shoppers can enjoy fast, reliable options, making online shopping more convenient and accessible.

2. Argos

Argos delivery options page.‍

Argos offers a variety of possibilities designed for convenience. They provide fast-track same-day deliveries, a valuable service for urgent purchases. Additionally, buyers can benefit from the flexibility of choosing specific delivery slots that fit their schedules. Argos also supports a "click and collect" service, allowing people to order online and pick up their items in-store. These diverse options ensure that consumers can receive their purchases in the most convenient manner possible.


FILA’s shipping policy page.

Although FILA ships within the contiguous U.S., it provides no-cost standard shipping on all orders to ensure accessibility for a wide customer base. Those sent to P.O. boxes are to be received within 10-20 business days, while new orders can take up to 48 hours to process. Additionally, FILA processes orders on weekdays, excluding holidays, with those received on weekends being processed the next working day. These aspects make its options both customer-friendly and competitive in the online retail space.

4. Nordstrom

Nordstrom delivery options page.

Nordstrom provides free standard shipping without a minimum purchase requirement, which is ideal for online shoppers looking to save on costs. For those needing quicker delivery, they offer expedited two-day and next-day dispatch services in selected locations. Other than this, Nordstrom supports local shopping with convenient in-store and curbside pickup options, allowing buyers to purchase online and pick up their items at their nearest store, often on the same day.

5. HP

HP delivery page.

HP provides same-day options for orders placed before 2:30 pm EST on business days, with other methods including standard, express, next business day, priority overnight, and Saturday delivery. For added convenience, HP supports dispatch via major carriers like FedEx and UPS. It offers tracking capabilities through FedEx Delivery Manager and UPS My Choice, allowing buyers to monitor their order's progress.

Free Shipping Policy Template

Business owners who operate in the eCommerce space find it essential to establish clear and effective guidelines. This template covers all the essential aspects, from shipping methods to international considerations. Feel free to copy, paste, and tailor this template to fit the individual needs of your store.

Shipping Methods and Costs

  • Standard: £5, estimated delivery within 3-5 business days.
  • Express: £10, estimated delivery within 1-2 business days.

All shipping costs are calculated at checkout based on the weight and dimensions of your order.

Delivery Timelines

  • Same-Day Processing: Orders placed before 2 pm (GMT) are processed and shipped the same day.
  • Weekend and Public Holidays: Please note that we do not process or ship orders on weekends and public holidays. Orders placed during these times will be processed the next business day.

Shipping Restrictions

  • P.O. Boxes: We regret to inform you that we do not ship to P.O. boxes.
  • Item-Specific Restrictions: Some items in our catalogue may have specific restrictions due to size, weight, or regulatory reasons. These restrictions, if applicable, will be detailed on the individual product pages.‍

Lost or Missing Packages

If your package hasn't arrived within the estimated delivery time, please follow these steps:

  • Check Tracking Information: Use the tracking number provided in your shipping confirmation email to check the status of your order.
  • Contact Customer Service: If the tracking information doesn't provide clarity, please contact our customer service team at [email].
  • Investigation: We will initiate an investigation into the whereabouts of your package and provide timely updates.

International Shipping

  • Customs and Import Duties: Customers are responsible for any customs and import duties that may apply. These charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost.
  • International Delivery Times: Please note that international transportation may take longer due to customs procedures.

Returns and Exchanges

For information on returns and exchanges, please refer to our [Return Policy]. This section outlines the conditions under which returns are accepted, the process for initiating a return or exchange, and how each one is processed.

Why Choose Bezos for Your eCommerce Logistics Needs?

When it comes to eCommerce, shipping is often the make-or-break factor that influences customer satisfaction and repeat business. That's where Bezos comes in. We're not just a fulfilment provider; we're your strategic partner in success. 

Operating in locations like the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the US and Canada, we offer a global reach that few can match. Our mission is to help small and medium eCommerce businesses grow sustainably. 

the bezos logo


By providing fulfilment services centred around your products, we save you between one to five hours daily on logistics tasks, allowing you to scale your business. Plus, just imagine what you could do with that extra time – focus on product development, ramp up your marketing, or even relax on a beach. Moreover, with Bezos, you get more than a warehouse; you get a full suite of logistics solutions managed through a single, intuitive portal. 

We also understand the pain points online businesses face:

  • Inventory Management: We offer real-time inventory tracking across multiple locations, making it easier to manage stock levels and avoid overstocking or understocking issues.
  • Scalability: We provide a scalable solution that grows with your business, allowing you to expand into new markets without the logistical headaches.
  • Cost-Efficiency: We help you save £1 to £2 per order and up to 80% on international orders, improving your unit economics.
  • Transparency: We offer end-to-end visibility on all orders through our intuitive portal, ensuring you and your customers are always in the loop.
  • Flexibility: We give the flexibility of no long-term contracts or minimum volumes, allowing you to adapt your logistics strategy as needed.
  • Customer Support: We provide five-star support with a dedicated account manager and a ticket response time of just two hours.
  • Global Reach: We have 63 fulfilment centres in 17 countries, making international expansion easier and more cost-effective.
  • Technology Integration: We seamlessly integrate with over 30 sales channels, including Shopify and WooCommerce, streamlining your operations. 
  • AI Technology: Our proprietary AI technology identifies and resolves any issues before they become a problem for you or your customers.

By choosing Bezos, you're not just opting for a service; you're choosing a partner committed to your business's growth and success. Get your free quote now.


Crafting a robust and transparent shipping policy is not just a legal requirement but a strategic necessity for any eCommerce business. From enhancing buyer satisfaction to improving unit economics, it can significantly impact your business's success. To optimise your operations, this article has provided you with a comprehensive guide and a free shipping policy template to help you navigate the complexities of logistics. Additionally, Bezos, with its cutting-edge AI technology and global fulfilment network, is committed to helping online businesses grow sustainably by addressing key pain points like customer experience, time, and cost-efficiency. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I write a shipping policy?

To write a shipping policy, clearly outline delivery timelines, costs, carriers, and any geographical restrictions. Include details on returns, exchanges, and any promotions to ensure transparency.

What is the standard shipping policy?

It typically includes information on shipping methods, fees, delivery duration, and tracking options. It should clearly state if different procedures apply to domestic and international shipments.

What is the international shipping policy?

International shipping policies should detail the countries served, freight costs, customs and import duties information, carrier choices, and approximate delivery times. It must address returns and handle losses or delays. 

How often should I update my shipping policy?

You should update your online store's shipping policy, at least bi-annually, to reflect changes in dispatch price, carrier services, or regulatory requirements. Prompt updates are crucial during major operational changes or disruptions.



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