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Beginner's handbook

Printful Policies Your Store Should Copy [Free Templates]

By Reading Time: 8 minutes

Online shopping is risky, especially for first-time shoppers visiting your store. 

What if the products don’t fit right? What if I typed in the wrong shipping address? What if the order gets lost in transit?

All those questions storm through your customer’s mind before they place an order.

Having policies in place can calm those storms of doubt your customers might have. Store policies give an extra boost of confidence in shoppers because they see that if something should happen to their order, the store owner has already covered it.
We’ll explain why store policies are just as important for your business as the products you sell. We’ll talk you through all the policies we have and share step-by-step guides on how to deal with issues your customers may have with shipping, returns, and damaged goods.

Once you’re done reading, there’s a freebie waiting for you at the end of the article—content that covers returns, shipping, and damaged products, plus policies that you can use for your store!

We’ve also added templates you can use during Covid-19.

Why are store policies important?

Simply put, store policies create a sense of security for customers when they’re buying something from you, especially since they can’t try on the product beforehand.

They’ll know what to expect if something goes wrong with their order, or if the product doesn’t fit properly. Store policies will also help you sort through problems more quickly because you’ll already have a protocol to follow.

Source: Narvar

As a store owner, it’s up to you which policies to offer to your customers. But if you do use Printful for fulfillment and POD, we recommend basing your policies off our own. You can customize these policies to fit your store’s tone of voice, and be stricter or more liberal with refunds and returns.

Let’s dive in the possible reasons for returning orders and how you can address them with your customers.

Order failed to deliver

If the carrier isn’t able to deliver the items because of the wrong address, or if the package was unclaimed by your customer, it’ll be returned to the default return address.
For Printful orders, this means that they’ll be sent back to the facility that sent them out. When that happens, you’ll get an email from us that your order arrived back at our facility. We’ll then hold on the order for 28 days at no cost. During this time, contact your customer.

What to tell your customers if their order couldn’t be delivered

Reach out to your customer with this message:
We were notified that your order is being returned by the shipping carrier because [reason]. If you want us to reship the order, please confirm your address.

Printful charges shipping costs for reshipments. Decide if you’ll cover those costs yourself or ask your customer to pay extra, and include that in your policy.

How to minimize carrier returns

In most cases, orders are sent back because customers provide an address that’s incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. To minimize problems with addresses:

  • During the order checkout, add a banner close to the shipping address field with the following: Please be careful and double-check that you’ve added the correct address.
  • Include this in your store policies: To make sure the city in the address matches its ZIP code, use this USPS ZIP code lookup.
  • In your store policies, add a step-by-step process for customers whose orders haven’t arrived. Download our store policy templates to get this text!

Order returned by the customer

Sometimes customers might want to return their newly purchased products. Usually, it’s because they’ve ordered the wrong size or just don’t want the items anymore.

Advise your customers to contact you before returning any products. That way, you’ll be able to ask for the return reason and share the customer’s options on how to proceed with the order.

What to tell your customers if they want to return an order

There can be various reasons why customers would like to return their orders, so we’ll give you a couple of responses you can use.

Damaged & mislabeled items

At Printful, we pride ourselves on unparalleled product quality. That’s why all our orders go through a 3-step quality check before we ship them out. However, if a damaged or mislabeled item was accidentally let through our quality control, or was damaged during shipment, we take full responsibility and provide a free replacement (unless the print came out poorly because of a low-quality print file).

Here’s what we recommend when communicating with customers about damaged or mislabeled items.

  • Reach out to your customer:
    We’re sorry to hear that your product arrived [damaged/mislabeled]. Our team will look into the order, so please share a detailed description of the problem and add quality photos where we can see the issue. We’ll be happy to assist and reship the product for you.
  • Then, once you have the photos, file a problem report in your Printful Dashboard no later than 4 weeks after the product has been received by your customer. Our customer service team will get in touch with you and figure out the best solution.

Pro tip: In your store policies, mention a time frame the customer has to contact you in case they receive a damaged item. That’s within 4 weeks after the misprinted/damaged/defective item has been received. You can copy this text from our own Return Policy.

Buyer’s remorse

Printful only offers refunds for damaged or mislabeled products, not for buyer’s remorse. But it’s up to you how you want to approach this—refund the customer or not.

If you want to offer refunds for buyer’s remorse, you’ll be responsible for the fulfillment and shipping costs.

If you won’t offer refunds for buyer’s remorse, then, kindly let them know that you won’t be able to refund them.

  • Send your customers this message:
    We’re sorry to hear that you wish to return your order. Our return policy doesn’t cover buyer’s remorse so we won’t be able to issue you a refund for the order. Thank you for understanding.

Size exchanges

Wrongly ordered sizes won’t be eligible for refunds from Printful’s side either. We make everything on demand, so requesting a size exchange would mean producing an entirely new product.

  • Send your customers this message:
    We’re sad to hear that you wish to return your order. Our return policy doesn’t cover products ordered in the wrong size. Because of that, we won’t be able to issue you a refund for the order. Thank you for understanding.

If you want to offer size exchanges and refunds to your customers, you’ll be responsible for the fulfillment and shipping costs and you’ll need to update your return policy accordingly.
Reach out to your customer:
We’re sorry to hear that you ordered the wrong size. Accidents can happen, so we’re glad to offer you a size exchange. Let us know the size you want to exchange for and we’ll be happy to reship the product for you.

How to minimize customer returned orders

  • Figure out what you want to cover on your return policy. Do you want to offer returns for buyer’s remorse or wrongly ordered sizes? Go over the pros and cons and make a decision.
  • Copy Printful’s return policy, then adjust the text to work for you and put the policy up on your storefront.
  • Each of the items listed in Printful’s product catalog have a size guide—put it up on your storefront so your customers can decide which size works best for them. 
    • Push the size guide as an image for your product. When you add a new product from Printful’s side, in the Details step, tick the box next to Add size guide as an image.
    • Or follow the product’s size guide and create your own sizing table, or put the measurements in the product’s description manually.
Source: Printful
  • Review your product descriptions, as they set expectations and helps you customers understand what they’re buying. The more detailed information (and photos) you give about the product, its quality, and the fit—the more satisfied your customers will be!

Order was lost in transit

Now that we’ve covered Printful’s return policies, let’s talk about lost orders. All of Printful’s shipping methods have tracking, although the accuracy may differ for some carriers. If it’s past the estimated delivery date and your customer still hasn’t received their order, the package might be lost in transit.

What to tell your customers about an order that’s lost in transit

Step 1: Make sure that the order is actually lost in transit

Find the tracking link in one of our order notification emails and look at the tracking log.

If you see limited or no entries in the tracking log, the package was most likely lost in transit (jump to Step 2).

If you do see entries in the tracking log, then advise your customer to wait a little longer:
We just checked that your package is still being tracked and it’s supposed to arrive by [date]. According to tracking, it might just be stuck at some point during the delivery. Please give a couple of more days for the package to show up. If the package still hasn’t arrived, let us know no later than 4 weeks after the estimated delivery date.

Be mindful of the events that may impact shipping times and communicate any delays customers should expect. You can take a look at how Printful communicated potential delays due to Covid-19.

Step 2: Confirm the shipping address if it’s past the estimated delivery time

Reach out to your customer to check that they entered the correct shipping address:
May we please ask you to double-check the shipping address you used for this order? Let us know if it was correct or send us the updated address.

  • If the address was correct, then reply with:
    We’re glad that the address was correct. If your package still hasn’t arrived, then we recommend getting in touch with your local post office to see if your order is there. You can also check in with your neighbors to ask if they might have seen your package.
  • If the address was incorrect, then the package will be sent back to the return address and we’ll contact you for an updated address when we receive the returned package. If we don’t receive the package, then you’ll have to submit a new order to replace the original. Let your customer know:
    We’re sorry to hear that the address was incorrect. The package should be sent back to us and we’ll update the shipping address and reship it for you. Please note that you’d be responsible for the shipping costs, so let us know how you’d like to proceed.

Step 3: Submit a problem report

If the customer’s shipping address was correct and the order still hasn’t arrived, submit a problem report and our customer support will find a resolution for you. We usually cover the costs of reprinting and shipping replacement orders.

What to tell your customers if their package is marked as delivered but they haven’t received it yet

If the shipment’s tracking states that it was delivered, but your customer hasn’t received it, Printful won’t cover the cost of reshipping or refunding the order.

Sometimes packages can be left in an unexpected location at the customer’s address so it’s worth checking up on.

  • Reach out to your customer:
    We’re sad to hear that you haven’t received your order yet. Our team checked the shipment’s status and we see that the carrier has marked it as delivered. We recommend you to inquire if any additional details were left by the delivery staff. Please note that we don’t cover refunds due to carrier errors.

If your customer can’t locate the package, you can place a new manual order to have it reshipped at your expense.

How to minimize customer frustration with lost in transit orders

  • Set your customers’ expectations by sharing how your products are made. Let your customers know that your products are made on-demand and that shipping times should be added on top of the fulfillment.
  • Address any possible shipping delays from the get-go. Should there be anything that might impact shipping (postal strikes, etc.), let your customers know about it via a banner on your storefront, for example:
    Due to [reason], order fulfillment and shipping may take longer but your order is on its way!
  • Create an FAQ section on your storefront that addresses order fulfillment and shipping questions. Get texts for the FAQ section form the downloadable content at the end of the article.

Clear and concise policies are essential for your store

Explain to your customers what they can expect from your business—it’ll only make them feel more comfortable when making a purchase. And if a problem does arise with their order and the resolution is quick and painless, it’ll encourage their loyalty!

Store policies are designed to protect you, the seller, and your customers, but they don’t have to be long or complicated. We prepared a clear and concise website copy that covers returns, shipping, and damage policies. You can use it as a template and edit it to suit your own store’s voice and policies you want to implement, or you can just add it as is.

Do yourself and your customers a favor, get your store policy text below!

This article was originally published in April 2016; it has since been updated.

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Una specializes in third-party logistics and knows Printful's Warehousing & Fulfillment services from A to Z. She enjoys digging deep into marketing psychology and developing her creative writing skills.

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