How Policies and Disclaimers can help make the sale
I usually jump right into the lesson of the post, but today I want to tell you a little story of the pillows in the picture here.
A few weeks ago I paid a visit to a new online boutique ready to buy these great pillows I’d seen featured on Pinterest. Before I put them in my cart and clicked on checkout I looked around the site to see what the return policy was (just in case the color didn’t match). I couldn’t find one. Next, I looked at the footer for the shipping link, so I could see how long the pillows would take to arrive. There was no shipping link. After that I went to Google image to see if I could find the pillows on another site with a little more information, I found them and purchased from another store.
I know you are reading this and thinking what does one bad shopping experience have to do with my online boutiques policy and disclaimer pages, these pages are only there for legal purposes, right?
Let me tell you the worst thing that you can ever do is visit a site that you want to order something and you can’t find simple information like shipping turnaround times, taxes, refund policies, etc. Lack of information not only leaves you unprotected legally but it hurts the credibility of your site and some customers may even question if your online boutique is legitimate or not. The worse part of not having this information available is when you are dealing with eCommerc where it is so easy for the customers to move to the next site. You get only a single chance to make the sale.
Having some of the things clearly defined on your site can improve the online customer service experience because the buyer knows what to expect and how to work with you. After my pillow experience I wanted to add a post to our Online Boutique Guide about some of the common policy pages you should have somewhere on your site.
The refund policy is the most essential pro-customer service link on any eCommerce site. Customers don’t feel comfortable with click-and-mortar stores since it carries huge risks of product returns, where to ship, when and will they get a refund, etc. Answer their questions up front on one little page. Even if you do not accept returns you should still create a page to clearly mention everything and maybe the reasons why you don’t offer refund. Customers appreciate it. It helps save your time dealing with the occasional dissatisfied customer.
How much to ship and how long it will take are two questions that can make or break an online sale. The details related to shipping time and actual delivery time should be clearly stated on the site. Same is the case with shipping cost and shipping charges. Shipping costs vary a lot depending on the location where it has to be shipped. Therefore it is important that your online store should have a shipping policy page where you need to mention each and everything that is somehow related to shipping.
Getting more polices
These are only the tip of the iceberg for policies and website terms of service. Depending on the industry you may need a few more policies like, product safety, disclaimers about photos, etc. To find more information about policies for your niche, Google other big name and midsize online stores in your niche and see what kind of policies they have on their sites. The policies are usually down at the bottom of the page.
If you find a few more policies help me add to the list, please add the policy you think is critical to online stores in the comments below.