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.
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.
You can create a domestic return label for orders you've created labels for or marked as shipped in ShipStation. You can initiate the Returns process from either the Order Details screen or the Shipment Details screen
Click Create Return from either the Order Details screen:
or Shipment Details screen.
A Create Return pop-up will appear that lists all items in the shipment.
Select which products to return and the quantity.
This will open the Order Returns tab in the Order Details screen where you can set your Return Reason, add notes, and configure the return label options.
A return reason is not required, but can be useful when running reports later. See below for the full list of available return reasons.
At this time, Return Reasons cannot be customized.
Configure the shipping details for the return label.
ShipStation is set by default to automatically assign an RMA number. Uncheck the Auto Assign RMA # option to enter your own RMA numbers.
Select Email Label then click Authorize & Email to email a copy of the return label to your customer,
- or -
Select Download Label Now then click Download PDF for the downloadable version of the return label.
You should now see the Return Record in the Shipments section of the Order Details screen. The return record will also show in
Shipping > Returns.
Set a Default Return Service
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:
Go to the Shipments tab, then the Returns section in the left-hand sidebar.
Click the RMA # to open the Return Details screen.
Click Other Actions then choose Send Return Label.
The Send Return Label option is also available from the Other Actions menu in the Returns grid.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Automate Your Return Labels
If you plan to always include return labels for certain shipments, use Automation Rules to automatically apply the Include Return Label option for your orders.
You can create a return label in the Rate Browser if you need to create a return label that is not associated with an order. The process is very similar to creating an outbound label with the Rate Browser, with one small change.
Follow the steps below.
If you'd like to create an outgoing or return label with these options, do the following:
Select the Carrier and Service you want to use.
The Configure Label option becomes active after you select a service.
Click Configure Label.
The Rate Browser will then ask you to fill in the remaining Ship To Address information. The Postal Code will carry over from your initial entry.
Complete the Ship To Address.
(Optional) Click Validate Address if you are not confident the address is exactly correct. ShipStation will validate and standardize the address for you.
If you want to use the correction, click Use this Address.
Make any other adjustments you need to the shipment (weight, dimensions, insurance, customs declarations, etc.).
Click the Create + Print Label button (or use the drop-down to only Create Label without printing).
ShipStation will create the label at this point and, depending on your printing setup, will either send it to your default printer or ask you to print the label.
If ShipStation is not able to create the label, we'll display any relevant errors so you can correct the shipping details and attempt to create the label again.
You can print the label immediately or print it later from the Shipments tab. Review the Print Labels article in this help guide for more details on available print options.
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 from the following locations: The Return Details screen, the Returns widget, and the
Shipping > Returns screen.
Open the Return Details screen, click Other Actions and choose Mark As Received.
Open the Order Details screen, click the action menu for the return, and choose Mark As Received.
Go to the
Shipping > Returns screen, select the return, and click the Mark As Received button.
Once you click Mark As Received, choose the date from the pop-up calendar and then click Mark As Received one more time.
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.
ShipStation Carrier Services**
* Royal Mail tracked 24 and 48 services only. Must be approved by Royal Mail before available in ShipStation.
** ShipStation Carrier Services: Hermes returns available for mainland UK shipments only; Parcelforce returns must use either Express 24 or Express 48 services.
Returns using ShipStation Carrier Services must be dropped off at an official carrier drop-off station. Use the following links to help locate drop-off locations for each carrier: Hermes, DPD, Parcelforce.
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.
Mainland UK includes England, Wales, and Scotland. Northern Ireland does not qualify for returns at this time.