Taking Care of Business
Before making an online purchase, I naturally want to know what terms will apply. I always check out the shop policies section of a shop before I buy. Just as your Profile is the place for you to introduce shoppers to you, the artist, your shop policies section is the place to clearly explain how you do business.
As I browsed Zibbet looking at shop policies, I encountered quite a variety of policy presentations ranging from no policies at all to very well written and informative explanations. Although providing shop policies is optional, I encourage you to take time to put your policies in writing. Shoppers are better able to make informed decisions if they are equipped with the information they need about purchasing from you.
In the Welcome section, briefly describe the structure of your business. For example, my needlework and jewelry businesses are organized as sole proprietorships. All of my banking and sales tax information is recorded under the name A Stitch and a Prayer. My jewelry shops are owned by A Stitch and a Prayer but each has its own unique name. Because all of these entities are closely related, I briefly describe this relationship in my shop policy Welcome.
This area is also a great place to include links to your other Zibbet shops or your own website if you have them. Because this is where you talk about how you do business on Zibbet, I strongly encourage you to carefully consider avoiding the inclusion of links that will take your potential buyers too far away from your Zibbet shop. Remember, the longer a potential buyer stays in your shop, the more likely she is to make a purchase!
In the Shipping Information section, be sure to include clear and concise information about your shipping methods, turn-around time for in stock items as well as for custom work and options that require separate attention, such as overnight delivery or insurance. If you ship internationally, and I strongly encourage you to consider doing so, be sure to include that information as well.
In the Returns, Refunds and Exchanges section it is important to let potential buyers know whether your items are returnable or not and under what conditions. Be sure that your time restrictions are reasonable and allow for holidays, weekends and international shipping. If certain types of items are returnable while others are not, include a distinction between the two. Otherwise, customers will assume that your stated policy applies to all items in your shop. For example, I am happy to accept returns for listed items. However, a custom piece is not returnable unless it arrives damaged or breaks during normal use within six months of delivery.
The Extra Information section provides a place for you to describe policies and procedures that are unique to your business. Use this section to describe custom orders, sales tax collection, copyright reminders, safety certifications and disclaimers or anything else your customers need to know when doing business with you.
In all sections of your shop policies, take advantage of the opportunity to express your special approach to customer service. Your policies should reassure customers that their needs are your concerns when it comes to shopping with you. The best way to establish a following of returning customers who bring their friends along with them is to offer top notch customer service. Returning and referred customers are an important and cost effective component of a successful business!
Finally, make sure that your policies are consistent with local, state, national and international commerce laws. Laws vary and it is your responsibility to educate yourself and to assure your customers that you are taking care of business properly!
If you need some help getting started writing or rewriting your shop policies, take a look at these Zibbet shops’ policies for inspiration:
For more tips on writing shop policies, be sure to check out Writing Effective Shop Policies.
Best wishes for much success on Zibbet!