ShipStation knows returns are time-consuming, and likely are your least-favorite part of running your business. The hard truth is they are not going away. By using ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal, you can save yourself a great deal of time by allowing your customer to initiate their own returns. Think of it as self-service returns.
This article covers how to ...
- Enable the Branded Returns Portal for your selling channel (each selling channel can have its own unique returns portal).
- Configure the Returns settings
- Add the Returns Page URL to your store website or your customer email notifications
- See Your Customer's Perspective
- Saves you time! It turns the return process into customer self-service.
- No more voiding unused labels, since there is no more need to include return labels in your outgoing shipments!
- Detailed reporting! Your customers can report exactly WHY they are returning an item, which over time provides data on common reason for returns. Go to Insights > Reports > Returned Products to run a report at any time. Here's how that can help:
- Example 1: Are your items frequently returned for damage during shipment? Perhaps you need to improve your packaging!
- Example 2: Are you getting several exchange requests because customers report the size of the apparel is too small? You may need to add a disclaimer on the product page stating, "This item runs small", and recommend your customers order a size larger than usual.
- Example 3: Are several returns due to defective items? You may need to address an issue with the product manufacturer.
- A better customer experience! A simple, self-service return process is a better experience for your customers, too! They’ll remember that the next time they shop online for your products.
- You maintain control over which shipping service the customer uses for their return label.
- The Branded Returns Portal is available for accounts based in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Please check out the ShipStation blog for more information on how having a solid returns strategy helps your business.
Enable the Branded Returns Portal
1. Go to your Account Settings (the wrench icon in the upper right).
2. Select Selling Channels and then Store Setup from the left-hand sidebar.
3. Click Edit next to a store where you want to set up Branded Returns.
4. Select the Returns tab.
5. Enable the Branded Return Portal by clicking the slider button.
Configure the Returns settings
The Branded returns portal includes three settings:
- Return Exceptions
- Return service and package type
- Return policy message
Return Exceptions: Determines how long a customer has to generate a return label after the order’s ship date.
Return service and package type: Determines which service and package type are available for the return labels.
Remember, USPS (Stamps.com or Express 1) labels will be charged to your postage provider account when the label is created. If you don't have auto-funding configured for this account in ShipStation, you will be prompted to set it up. This will prevent your account from reaching a $0 balance and your customers receiving an error when attempting to create a return label.
Return Service Limitations:
- We do not support Endicia related services as an option for Branded Returns Portal at this time.
- You can currently select only one return service and package type to be available on the Branded Returns Portal.
Return policy message: Displays any text entered in this field on the Return Policy popup on your Branded Returns page. This section is optional.
Once finished, click Save Changes.
The finished product will look something like this:
Add Returns page URL to your website or email notification template
To provide your customers access to your new Branded Returns page, copy the auto-generated URL from the Branded Returns Portal URL section and add it as an embedded link to your store website or to your shipment email notification template.
A few things to note
See Your Customer's Perspective
Here are the steps your customer will take on your Branded Returns portal when creating a return:
- Enter the order number and the order's ship-to postal code.
- Click the Look Up Order button.
The next screen will display the order information and each item in the order.
- Select the quantity of each item to return and the reason for the return.
- Click the Submit Request button.
The next (and final) page shows their return was authorized.
- Click the Print Return Label button.
Also, keep in mind that if you do not have Returnable selected on a product, it will not be able to have a return label generated and the user will see this in the portal:
For a demonstration of setting up and using the Branded Returns Portal, view this short video: