Returns are an unfortunate, but necessary, part of any eCommerce business. It's important you have the ability to create return labels so your customers can get items back to you, whether the product wasn't what they were expecting, arrived damaged, or was the wrong item altogether.
To learn about how a good returns policy can actually help increase your business, check out our Return Like A Jedi blog post.
In ShipStation, you have three ways to create return labels, each with their own advantages:
Create a return label and email it to your customer when they request one.
Send a return label with the shipment so your customer can return without contacting you.
Let your customer self-serve using the ShipStation Branded Returns portal (advanced feature).
This article discusses the first two options. To learn how to set up and use the Branded Returns option, review our Branded Returns article in the Advanced Features section of this help guide.
International returns are not currently supported. ShipStation can create return labels for domestic shipments only.
ShipStation cannot currently create return labels for U.S. territories or APO/FPO/DPO addresses, as they require customs information for shipping.
Return labels count toward your monthly shipment limit, even if they are not used.
Not all carriers / services can be used for return labels. Review the Integrations Help Guide for your carrier for details.
The Multi Package option is not available for return labels. If the option to include a return label with the outgoing shipment is selected and the shipment is set to use multiple packages, the outgoing labels will generate normally, but no return label will generate. If you need return labels in this scenario, the best option is to split the order into multiple orders and then follow the steps below for each order.
If you have multiple accounts for a single carrier, return labels will always use the primary account.
Return labels created using prepaid postage providers, like Stamps.com or Endicia (unless they are pay-on-use Endicia labels), will be charged when you create the label regardless of whether it is used by your customer or not. You can void unused return labels for a refund, just like with outbound labels.
This video demonstrates how to create a return label for either an entire shipment or just selected items within an order in ShipStation.
When creating returns, you can choose to return the entire order or select items within the order. This allows for a more dynamic way of reporting what is returned and why.
There are two ways to access the Returns pop-up in ShipStation:
Use the Create Return button in the Shipments tab.
Use the Create Return button in the Order Details screen.
In the return pop-up screen:
Click Create a Return to create a new return label.
Select all of the Order Items to be included in the return shipment.
Select a reason for the item needing to be returned in the Return Reason drop-down.
Adjust the Return Shipping Info for the return order.
Click Show More to see the full list of shipping options.
If you would like to keep an internal note of this return shipment, enter it into the Return Notes field.
Choose if you want to Download label now or Email label as attachment to the recipient (to send the label to multiple emails, separate the emails with a comma).
Click Authorize & Email or Authorize & Download (depending on the Send as: option selected) and you'll be set.
There are a selection of reasons for returns that can be useful for reporting. The included reasons are:
Arrived Too Late
Not as Described
Ordered Wrong Item
Received Wrong Item
These reasons are listed both in app and on the brand returns page.
In ShipStation, you have the ability to create return labels at the same time as your outbound labels when using carriers that support it.
You can create these return labels in two ways:
Click an order number to open up the Order Details pop-up.
Check the option to Include a return label with the outgoing shipping label under the Other Shipping Options section.
The box that controls this feature can be checked in bulk by applying Bulk Actions to orders that you select in the Orders grid.
You must have a service selected on the order to see the option to include a return label.
Once the box is checked, you'll be prompted to specify a carrier, service, and package type. If you leave those fields in the Select mode, the outgoing carrier, service, and package type will be used for the return label.
When you click Create Label, a return label will print with the outgoing shipping label.
In contrast to our standard method of creating a return label, this process cannot email a PDF copy of the return label to the recipient.
By creating an automation rule, you can have ShipStation automatically set certain orders to print return labels. You can apply the rule to all of your orders, or a specific subset of orders, based on the criteria of the rule.
For example, if you do a lot of International shipping, you may want to restrict this to domestic shipments only, as ShipStation only supports domestic return labels.
To create this type of automation rule, do the following:
Set the criteria to determine which orders this rule will apply to.
Set the action to Include a Return Label with the Outbound Label. Then set the service and package type for the return label.
Save the new rule.
Your rule might look something like this:
Once this automation rule is in place, any orders that import from that point on and match the rule's criteria will generate a return label in addition to the outgoing label.
Check the table below for which of your local carriers support creating return labels in your ShipStation account.
Carriers marked with a + can create return labels to send with outbound shipments.
* Not all FedEx services can be used for returns. Check the FedEx Service Guide for details. The FedEx Smartpost Return address cannot be set in ShipStation. The return label will use the return address set in your FedEx account.
Notes About Return Labels in ShipStation
Return labels are only supported for domestic shipments. Any shipment shipped outside of your carrier account's country of origin will not be eligible for a return label.
For FedEx SmartPost returns, these return labels will use the return address you have in your FedEx.com account, which may or may not match the return address you have configured in ShipStation for your Ship From Location.