MARKETPLACE

Marketplace Series: Shipping Policy

There are two peak moments consumers experience during the process of shopping online: discovering a new product and receiving their purchase.

Finding good products is contingent on the marketplace offering a relevant curation to their customer base. The process of a customer receiving their purchase is contingent on the shipping policy that is in effect.

This article outlines the components of a clear and measurable shipping policy, and provides advice on how to tailor them to your own marketplace.

General Advice

It is considered standard to ask for shipment within 24 hours of a seller receiving an order. This threshold can prove challenging for some brands, depending on the timing of the order and the geography between the fulfillment centre and the end-customer.

Recent developments (ex. Covid-19) have also dramatically impacted shipping times. Pre-Covid, the average ship time of sellers in the Convictional network was 31 hours. More recently during the Covid-era, shipping times can be 4-5 days or longer.

Shipping times are not evenly distributed across sellers. Depending on the brand’s size and level of sophistication, average ship times can vary widely.

One example where shipping times may not be necessary to outline and enforce is regarding made-to-order goods. Customers inherently understand that custom goods require time to craft and thus have much lower expectations around delivery times.

It is also recommended to have your sellers integrate their ecommerce platforms (to the extent possible) to ensure that information such as tracking numbers is automatically synced across to your own marketplace platform. This also allows your marketplace to provide branded packing slips to maintain consistent branding.

Below are sample legal terms that can be used as a template for your own contracts:

Legal

[Brand Name] agrees to ship orders on behalf of [Retailer Name] to customers of [Retailer Name]. When an order is placed on [Retailer Name] for [Brand Name]’s products, order information will be communicated within 24 hours to [Brand Name]’s Customer Success Manager or customer database via Convictional. [Brand Name] Agrees to ship in stock products within 24 business hours after order has been communicated. Please refer to Page X of this document for [Retailer Name]’s Shipping Policy.

Sample Shipping Policy

Below is a sample shipping policy that can be used as a template for your own policies:

  • We offer free shipping for all orders over $x and a flat rate of $x for shipping on all orders under $x in (geo)
  • Order confirmations will include a tracking number. If you do not receive this confirmation email, please check your spam or junk folder. If you still have not received it, please email customer service (address) and we will send it to you shortly.
  • Please note that order containing multiple items may arrive in separate packages. Products on our site may be shipped directly from the vendor.
  • Based on the shipping method offered by our partners your order will be shipped by Canada Post, USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx, CanPar etc. You will receive a tracking number with every order so you will always be aware of which carrier is delivering your package.
  • Most of our partners ship between X-Y business days. Some custom or handmade items may be subject to longer shipping times. If you need an item to arrive at a certain time, please email us at customer service.
  • Based on the shipping method used by the merchants on our platform shipping can take anywhere from X-Y business days. This will indicate the approximate amount of time it will take for your order to arrive.
  • International orders are subject to shipping charges which depend on the shipping address. If you have questions about this in advance, please email customer service.

Implementation

Once you have set your shipping policy and crafted both legal terms and public-facing documentation, you are ready to inform your sellers and then begin measuring performance.

Shipping policy is only useful to the extent in which it is consistently measured and upheld. One method to do so is to codify your baseline expectations as a part of your Seller SLAs and then track per-order performance against those baselines.