Branded Returns Portal

Explains the Branded Returns Portal (with video), its benefits, how to enable and configure its settings, see a customer's view, and more.

ShipStation knows returns are time-consuming, and likely 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 time by allowing your customer to initiate their own returns. Think of it as self-service returns.

Branded Returns Benefits

  • Save time by turning the return process into customer self-service.

  • Boost your sales! Check out our blog post about how our Branded Returns Portal can increase your sales!

  • No need to include return labels in your outgoing shipments, and so no more need to void the unused return labels.

  • 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.

    • 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 the 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 simple, self-service return process is a better experience for your customers. They’ll remember that the next time they shop online for your products.

  • You maintain control over which shipping service the customer can use for their return label.

Branded Returns Requirements

  • You must enable the Branded Returns portal for each store you wish to allow self-service returns.

  • The Branded Returns Portal can only create return labels for shipments that were initially created in ShipStation. Orders sent to fulfilment or marked as shipped will not qualify.

  • As with all return labels created within ShipStation, returns can only be created for domestic shipments (shipments with a destination address in the same country as the shipment's origin address).

  • If a product record exists in ShipStation, the product must be marked as Returnable. Products with no product record are always considered Returnable.

    Product details General tab with arrow pointing to Returnable checkbox.
  • Currently, you can use the Branded Return Portal with the following carriers for domestic shipments:

    • GLS Germany, DPD Germany, Hermes Germany

Enable the Branded Returns Portal

Add Returns Portal URL to Your Website or Email Templates

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. You can also add it to your templates for shipment email notification in ShipStation.

Sample of a Branded Returns Portal URL

Configure the Store's Returns settings

After you've enabled the Branded Returns Portal, the Returns tab of the store's settings includes four settings:

Return exceptions

Return Exceptions panel. Reads, Allow customers to create return labels within (dropdown menu for day count) days or order ship date.

Determines how long a customer has to create a return label after the order’s ship date. This cutoff only affects the Branded Return Portal. You will still be able to create return labels beyond this limit in ShipStation.

Return service and package type

Return Service and Package Type panel with dropdowns for Service and Package.

Determines which service and package type are available for the return labels.

  • When you use a USPS Postage Provider like or Express 1, or any Provider offered through ShipStation Carrier Services, you must enable auto-funding to ensure your account does not run out of funds when it creates return labels for customers. If you have not already enabled auto-funding, you will be prompted to enable it when you select a relevant service as the default.

  • We do not support Endicia-related services as an option for the 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

Store Setup. Return Policy Message field.

Optional. Displays any text entered in this field on the Return Policy pop-up on the Branded Tracking Page and Branded Returns Portal. This setting is present whether or not the Branded Returns Portal is enabled since the Return policy message can be included in the Branded Tracking Page as well.

  • The character limit for the return policy message is 500 characters.

Return email message

Store Setup page. Return Email Message field.

Optional. The message that will be included in Return Label emails. This field is not used directly on the Branded Returns Portal, but customers may see this message if you have to email them return labels at a later time. This setting is present whether or not the Branded Returns Portal is enabled since it also applies to returns initiated through ShipStation.

  • The Return Email Message field in ShipStation supports HTML if you'd like to enhance your return email presentation.

  • There is a 2000-character limit for Return Email Messages.

Be sure to Save Changes when you're done!

The Customer Perspective

If the product is not Returnable, your customer cannot create a return label for the product and will see the message "This item is unable to be returned".

Customer view of the Branded Returns Portal shows item with the following message: "This item is unable to be returned."

Printing from a Mobile Device

If your customers access the Branded Returns Portal from a mobile device, they may be unable to print the label after creating it. At this time, ShipStation recommends you advise your customers that for the best experience, they should print their return label from a desktop or laptop workstation, rather than a mobile device.

Notes About the Branded Returns Portal

  • To determine the return shipment details, ShipStation will use these values:

    • Return Address: Will use the Ship From Location used to create the outbound shipment.

    • Weight: Will use the weight set as the Product Default, or the product weight sent to ShipStation from the selling channel, multiplied by the quantity being returned.

      If no weight is set for the product, or if the selling channel does not send specific product weights, ShipStation will divide the total weight of the outbound shipment by the total number of items in the shipment, then multiply by the quantity being returned.

    • Dimensions: Will use the same dimensions as the outbound shipment.

  • The Branded Returns Portal your customers see will use the design settings from that selling channel's Branding tab.

  • When your customer creates a return label, ShipStation adds a return shipment record to your ShipStation account in Shipments > Returns. From here you can download the label should you ever need to email it to your customer.

  • The Branded Returns Portal will only work with single shipment orders. It is unavailable for split shipment orders.

The Branded Returns Portal is a webpage with your custom store branding where your customers can create their own return labels, without the need to contact you. Think of it as self-service returns.