Tips for Writing a Shipping Return Policy for Your E-commerce Website

Writing Shipping Return Policy
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Running an e-commerce business implies being in charge of different aspects of the business and making sure everything is under control. One of the things you need to pay special attention to is your shipping return policy. The return policy needs to be carefully planned and professionally written, so as to ensure your customers’ satisfaction. In addition, you need to protect your e-commerce from possible frauds or dissatisfied customers. In order to do this, you need to nail the shipping return policy.
We’ve prepared useful and carefully selected tips for writing a shipping return policy, to help you put one together for your e-commerce website. The tips will analyze all the crucial steps and explain why you need to incorporate them in your shipping return policy. In addition, they might inspire you to come up with your own rules and shape the policy entirely.  Take a look at what we’ve prepared.

Shipping Return Policy

Your e-commerce offers people the service of purchasing products and items online and having those shipped to the selected address. Since your customers don’t get to see their order in person until it’s delivered, there’s always the possibility of them being dissatisfied.
In other words, you have to be prepared for return requests.
Keep in mind: this is normal.
Don’t take it personally and don’t eat yourself inside because people want to return something. You need to embrace it.
However, you can’t allow people to write their own rules.
You have to write a shipping return policy and make it an integral part of your website. It needs to be available for anyone visiting your website or anyone buying from you.

What makes a good shipping return policy?

It’s time for you to learn what are the essential elements of your shipping return policy and how to write it.
A heads up: it needs to be 100% straight-forward and honest. That means there can’t be any hidden rules, loopholes or tricks.
Don’t be afraid to be concise and set your boundaries. Just make sure your shipping return policy protects both you and your customers.
We’ll break it down for you and go one step at a time.

1. The tone

Be careful about the tone of the shipping return policy.
Even though you’re writing rules for your customers to follow, you need to avoid sounding hostile or threatening. That means you shouldn’t use phrases such as:

  • you are obliged
  • you must
  • you are to do this or that

In order to achieve the effect of a friendly, everyday conversation, write the policy the way you speak. That will create a welcoming atmosphere, and make your customers feel good comfortable.

2. Deadline

Setting a deadline for requesting the refund is another obligatory element. You need to define the exact time frame for your customers to submit their refund request.
That implies:

  • How many days do they have?
    (Most policies go for 30)
  • Is it from the moment they purchase?
  • Is it from the moment they receive it?

Point out that after the set time period you will not accept the refund requests.

3. Exchange

Writing a Shipping Return Policy
Your customers will want to know whether it’s possible to exchange the product they originally bought, for something else. Make sure to define this as well.

  • Do you allow exchange?
  • Does it have to for the same amount of money or could be for more/less?
  • Will you charge the second shipping?

Answer these questions to avoid any unpleasant situations.

4. Refund

Writing a Shipping Return Policy Returns
This is one the most important segments of your policy: defining what do you imply by “a refund”.
That includes giving an answer to the following questions:

  • Do you offer a 100% refund?
  • Do you refund shipping expenses?

This needs to be crystal clear for anyone shopping on your e-commerce website. Make sure to define these rules precisely.
Don’t forget you’re doing business. Protect yourself in the process and don’t let all the returns break you.

5. The wait

If your customers aren’t satisfied and request their refund, they probably want to get it over with as soon as possible. That implies answering the following question:

  • How long does it take for the refund to be completed?

You need to go set up an efficient refund system. The refunds need to be carried out in accordance with your shipping return policy or else you’ll face many angry customers.

6. On-sale items

If your e-commerce offers products on sale, you need to take these into consideration as well. Your shipping return policy has to tackle these items.

  • Do you give refunds for on-sale items?

No matter what the answer is, make it visible in your return policy and don’t leave room for negotiation.

7. Packaging

Your customers will certainly wonder what they have to do in order for you to accept their refund request. One of the frequently asked questions on many e-commerce websites is:

  • Do I have to return the product in the original packaging?

Even if you don’t care about the packaging, your customers might. Include one or two sentences about it in your shipping return policy to avoid answering additional questions about it.

8. Reasons

Writing a Shipping Return Policy Reasons
Statistics show that around 30% of all products ordered online are returned. It’s a pretty high number and one of the reasons might be loose shipping return policies.
If you want to make yours a bit tighter, you need to draw the line somewhere. Start by defining what kind of refund requests do you accept and approve:

  • damaged products
  • wrong orders
  • a customer changed their mind
  • a customer dissatisfied by the quality

There need to be rules to determine who can request a refund and for what reason.

9. Languages

In order to make your shipping return policy available for all your customers, you should consider providing a multi-lingual version of it.
This especially goes for global e-commerce websites, shipping worldwide.
That means you need to translate your policy into another language and make that version available on your website, as well. You can check PickWriter’s list of translation companies to hire a professional.
Giving your customers a chance to read the policy in their native language will make them feel appreciated, but more importantly, will help them understand all the terms and conditions.

10. Procedure

Writing a Shipping Return Policy Procedures
Help your customers find their way to requesting a refund by giving them step-by-step instruction on how to do it.

You need to make this apparent in your shipping return policy, to save both you and your customers the time and the effort.

You’re all set

Let’s rewind and sup up what we’ve covered. Your shipping return policy needs to be:

  • informative
  • concise
  • detailed
  • clear-cut

While writing your return policy, you need to think like a customer:

  • What do I need to know?

Think about all the questions which come into your mind and answer them, along with the ones we’ve provided above. That will assure you’ve got everything covered and your shipping return policy is wisely written.

Final thoughts

Your e-commerce website needs to be customer friendly if you’re looking into retaining your customers and attracting new ones. The best way to do this is to create a simple yet detailed website which will have all the answers your customers need.
Naturally, this includes a well-written shipping return policy. It’s an integral part of every successful e-commerce website.  Use the 10 tips for writing a shipping return policy that we’ve given you and make the best out of them. Secure that both you and your customers are pleased. A good shipping return policy is a must for every professional e-commerce website.


Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer.  She observes with a special interest how the latest achievements in media and technology help to grow readership and revenue and shares her opinion. You can find her on Facebook and Medium.

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