Pinside.com - Quick start guide to writing your shop policies
This quick start guide explains how to write a consistent and complete set of shop policies.
Why You Need Shop Policies
Think of your Shop Policies as a rule book or a Standard Operating Procedure. These policies serve a number of purposes. They
- tell potential customers what to expect from you as a seller.
- increase a shopper’s level of confidence in your shop.
- reduce the chances of having an unhappy customer or getting negative feedback due to misunderstandings.
- establish consistent procedures for you to follow in your selling approach.
- help to protect you if you get a difficult customer.
Potential buyers might not buy from a shop with missing or incomplete Shop Policies information, so having a clear and complete shop policies page is very important.
Writing Your Shop Policies
Writing your Shop Policies will take time and planning, but we share many ideas below that will get you started. We also recommend that you visit several Pinside shops to see what others are doing. Just remember, only you can decide what is right for your shop. As long as you are compliant with all Pinside shops policies & guidelines, you can run your shop as you please.
You do not need long and complex Shop Policies that are full of legal jargon. Keep them as short and simple as possible.
Okay, let’s get started.
To edit your shop policies, go to “Shop setup”, then select Add your Shop Policies in the “Shop Policies” section.
A proper Shop Policies page consists of several sections. You can choose to skip a section, if you feel that it doesn't apply to your shop.
The purpose of the information below is to get you thinking about what you need in your policies. You don’t need to include everything listed, pick and choose what works for your shop. We do recommend that, at the very least, you include details on shipping and refunds.
- Include a short introduction. No need to repeat information already in your About page.
- Briefly mention your commitment to quality, customer service, etc.
- Thank shoppers for stopping by, and ask them to contact you with any questions.
The shipping policy needs to discuss several points.
How quickly do you ship? This is extremely important!
- Whether you ship in 1-2 business days, or in 3-4 weeks – just make certain you clearly state the processing time in this section. Failing to let your customers know when they can expect to receive the item is asking for trouble!
- Do you need the customer to approve a proof before you ship personalized or custom orders?
- Do you ship only on certain days of the week? If so, specify which days you ship.
How do you package your items?
- This will be more important for some sellers than others. If you sell fragile mods or parts, artwork, etc. – customers may want to know how you’ll protect the items during shipping.
How do you ship?
- Media Mail? USPS First Class? USPS Priority? FedEx? UPS? LTL Freight?
- Do you offer expedited shipping? If so, how is it purchased (i.e. an “Expedited Shipping” listing added to their cart)?
- Do you offer insurance? On all items, or only on some?
- Will you include tracking details?
Where do you ship?
- If you ship internationally, what method? USPS International First Class? Be clear that the buyer is responsible for any applicable import duties, taxes, or other charges.
Refund Policy – Also extremely important!
- Do you accept returns? Do you offer exchanges? Is it the customer’s choice whether they get a refund or exchange?
- Under what circumstances do you accept a return or exchange?
- How many days does a customer have to contact you about a refund or exchange?
- Does the customer need to return the item in the original package?
- Who pays the return shipping?
- What is the return process?
- Is there a restocking fee?
- When will you refund the customer’s money?
One important note on refunds. If your customer pays by PayPal, the PayPal Purchase Protection plan may require you to issue a full refund under certain circumstances, regardless of what you state in your Shop Policies.
- Do you get the same questions over and over? If so, use this space to start a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
- Do you offer gift wrapping? Gift messaging? Explain it here (or in the shipping section).
- Do you accept custom orders? Mention it here, along with any relevant details.
- Is payment due when the buyer makes the custom order? Will you require a deposit? If so, how much?
The bullet points above should get you well on your way to writing or revising your Shop Policies page. Make it a priority to get this done. You’re potentially losing sales every day you don’t take action!
Here’s one more resources that may help.
- Our own Shop Policies. You are free to use any or all of our policies as you wish.
One last tip.
Revisit and update your Shop Policies on occasion. Not only will your policies probably evolve, revising your policies will also refresh the “Last Updated” date, a sign that you keep your shop updated.