Explains the various ways to create return labels in ShipStation, how to mark returned shipments, and which carriers support creating return labels in ShipStation.
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 How to Process Returns blog post.
In ShipStation, you have three ways to create return labels, each with its own advantage:
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.
To learn how to set up and use the Branded Returns option, review our Branded Returns article.
Important Details about Return Labels!
ShipStation does not currently support return labels for international shipments. ShipStation can create return labels for domestic shipments only.
Creating a Return Label will not send marketplace notifications to the order source.
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 our Integrations Help Guide for details about any specific carrier. Details about Return Labels are in the Available Features section within each carrier's article.
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 shipments 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 cannot be billed to a third-party carrier account, even if the outbound label is billed to a third party.
Return labels created using ShipStation Carriers or a pre-paid postage provider like Stamps.com or Endicia, will be charged when you create the label regardless of whether it is used by your customer or not (Endicia's pay-on-use labels are an exception to this). You can void unused return labels for a refund, just like outbound labels.
Return labels using invoiced carriers, like UPS or FedEx, will only be charged to your account if the label is used.
Watch this demo video to learn how you can create return labels on demand in ShipStation.
ShipStation University Creating Return Labels Course
If learning by doing is more your style, take the ShipStation University Creating Return Labels course. The lesson videos will show you how to create individual return labels on demand, send return labels with your outgoing shipments, and use the Branded Returns Portal so your customers can self-service their returns.
You can create a domestic return label for orders you have 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
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:
Your customer can then print the return label for the shipment and send it back to you.
If you'd like to customise a return email message that will always be included in the email to your customer that contains the return label:
There is 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 branded returns page. Run your Returns Export to get a spreadsheet that includes the Return Reason to evaluate common reasons for returned items.
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. Return labels cannot be billed to a third-party carrier account, even if the outbound label is billed to a third party.
Insurance Settings and Rate Quote not included with Returns
Insurance settings will not carry over to the return label. If you need insurance for a return label you send with an outbound shipment, use the Rate Calculator to create that return label.
The rate for the return label will not be included in the quoted rate displayed in ShipStation.
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:
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.
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.
The Rate Calculator allows you to create both outgoing and return labels without creating an order first.
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.
If the Automatically mark returns as "Received" if tracked option is checked in
Settings > Shipping > Returns, and the return uses a service that supports auto-tracking, ShipStation will update the shipment as Received as soon as we receive the tracking notification from the carrier.
If this option is not checked, or the return service does not support auto-tracking, you can manually 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:
Open the Return Details screen, click Other Actions and choose Mark As Received.
The Returns widget:
Open the Order Details screen, click the action menu for the return, and choose Mark As Received.
Shipping > Returns screen:
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.