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.
You can create a domestic return label for orders in the Complete status, or shipments in the In Progress - Label Created or Shipped status.
Initiate a return from the Order tab, Order Details screen, or Shipment Detail screen.
From the Order tab, select the order then click Create a Return in the order sidebar.
From the Order Details screen, click either the Create Return button or the Create a Return option from the Shipping section of the sidebar.
From the Shipment Details screen, click Create a Return.
Select which products to return, the reason, and the quantity.
A return reason is not required, but is useful when running reports later. Return reasons include: Courtesy Return, Ordered Wrong Item, Warranty, Changed Mind, Received Wrong Item, Rental, Damaged, Defective, Arrived Too Late, Missing Parts, Not As Described, Other, Exchange.
At this time, Return Reasons cannot be customized.
Configure the shipping details for the return label.
The Auto Assign RMA # is checked by default. ShipStation will automatically assign RMA numbers to your returns. Uncheck this option to enter your own RMA numbers.
Click Create Return, or click the arrow to Create + Email PDF to email a copy of the return label to your customer.
The label print screen will appear and you can then print or download the label.
You should now see the Return Record beneath the Shipment Widget in the Order Details screen. The return record will also be listed in the Shipping tab in the Returns grid.
If you did not email your customer a copy of the return label when the label was created, but want to send them one now, follow the steps below:
Open the Order Details screen for the order and locate the return shipment. Click the Shipment Actions menu (the three dots to the right of the RMA #).
Choose Send Return Label.
Enter your customer's email address and click Send.
Your customer can then print the return label for the shipment and send it back to you.
If you'd like to customize a return email message that will always be included in the email to your customer that contains the return label:
Go to Settings > Selling Channels > Store Setup.
Click Edit for the store you wish to add a return message.
Go to the Returns tab and enter the message into the Return email message field.
Click Save Changes.
To create a return label at the same time as the outbound shipping label so you can include the return label with the shipment, do the following:
Set the shipping service and package type for the shipment in the Configure Shipment Widget.
Go to the Other Shipping Options section in the Shipping Sidebar.
Check the box for Include a return label with the outgoing shipping label.
You'll then see drop-down menus for the return service and package type.
If the Include a Return Label option is not available, that means this feature is not available for shipments using the service selected in the Configure Shipment Widget.
Select the Service and Package type for the return label.
You should then see the Include return label indicator next to the Other Shipping Options header.
Now, when you create the outbound label, ShipStation will also create the return label using the service and package you selected. ShipStation will use the same weight and dimensions for the return label as for the outbound shipment.
The rate for the return label will not be included in the quoted rate displayed in the Create Label button.
The option to create a return label at the same time as the outgoing label is only available for USPS, FedEx, UPS, and Canada Post domestic shipments.
When a returned shipment arrives, mark the shipment as Received in ShipStation so you can keep track of outstanding returns.
You can mark returns as received in the Return Details screen, in the Returns widget, and in the
Shipping > Returns screen.
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.