Simplify the Return Process with eCommerce Return Methods
Rebecca Fox

December 31, 2023

Streamline your returns process by defining your return methods such as shipping back, keeping, or donating the item.

What Are Return Methods? 

Return methods instruct the customer on what to do with the products they’re returning or exchanging.

You can define a variety of return methods such as shipping back the products, returning them to a physical store, or donating them.

Return methods are part of your return policy, so you can define which return methods customers will be offered depending on the customer, order, or item details.

For return methods that involve shipping the items back, ReturnGO enables you to integrate with shipping carriers to manage your return shipments and generate return shipping labels.

Why Are Return Methods Important?

Defining your return methods is important for creating a smooth return process.

Different customers will prefer different methods of returning their items, and setting up a variety of options gives them the choice and streamlines the process.

Make the return process as seamless as possible for both you and your customers, to save you time and money and ensure that your customers have a positive return experience.

Transparency and clarity are essential for a smooth return process, so make sure that your customers know what to do with the items they’re returning and give them a choice of return methods. 

Setting Up Return Methods

You can define the different return methods as well as the conditions under which each return method is applicable.

Define how customers should return items to your physical store location, where they can donate the items, and how they can ship them back.

For shipping back returned items, you can set up integrations with shipping carriers and shipping aggregators such as Shippo, USPS, Shipstation, and Sendcloud which will be automatically notified about return shipping requests and can handle the return shipping for you. 

Each return method has information, conditions, and email notifications you can customize to match your store’s requirements.

You can encourage customers to select a particular return method by offering a bonus refund for choosing it, or by imposing a fee on return methods you don’t want them to select.

What Types of Return Methods Can You Set Up?

There are 4 main types of return methods you can set up. Each has its advantages and disadvantages as well as conditions that can be defined for its use.

Most eCommerce stores offer multiple return methods, giving customers the choice or offering different ones for different situations.

Ship With Any Carrier

The Ship with Any Carrier return method lets customers ship the item back with a shipping carrier of their choice. 

When customers choose this return method, they will receive an email containing instructions for how to ship back the item (address, packaging limitations, etc). You can fully customize these emails with your brand colors, logo, customized texts, and return address.

Customers can bring the items they’re returning to the post office or send them back however they prefer.

When you receive the returned items at your location (warehouse, fulfillment center, store, etc), you can update the status of the return request in the ReturnGO system to reflect that the items have been received/restocked.

Ship With Any Carrier is the most flexible return method, enabling customers to ship back the returned items however is most convenient for them, while all you have to do is receive the items back at your location.

Ship With Pre-Paid Label

The Ship with Pre-paid Label return method lets you generate pre-paid return labels for your customers for shipping their items back. 

ReturnGO generates pre-paid return shipping labels through your 3rd party shipping carrier, which you can integrate and link with your ReturnGO account. 

Customers who select this return method option will receive an email containing a pre-paid return shipping label, which they can print out and attach to their package when returning the items. 

You can either charge your customers for the pre-paid label or offer free return shipping and absorb the cost. This return method is the best way to offer free shipping, which can be used as a reward, incentive, or compensation.

79% of customers say that free returns are important when shopping online, so providing free shipping on returns will make your store stand out and help you build customer loyalty.

Ship with Pre-Paid Label is a convenient return method for customers, as they don’t have to figure out getting a return shipping label; all they have to do is print it out, stick it on, and mail out the item.

Return to Drop-Off Location

The Return to Drop-Off Location return method lets customers bring returned items to a physical location instead of shipping them back. 

This return method can be particularly beneficial if you have a physical store location, as it saves the cost and hassle of return shipment and processing.

Return to Drop-Off Location is also a more eco-friendly return method as it reduces transportation and therefore carbon emissions for each return.

Integrating with a sustainable provider such as Happy Returns enables you to have customers drop off returns at designated Return Bars. Happy Returns enables you to consolidate return shipments and save customers the hassle of printing return labels and packaging the items.

More than half of customers prefer an in-person drop-off return method to any other return method, so offering the option of drop-off returns increases customer loyalty. 

By offering the option of drop-off returns, you can provide customers with a convenient and eco-friendly way to return items, while saving you the cost and hassle of return shipments.

No Shipment Required

The No Shipment Required return method lets customers keep the items with no need to ship them back. You can have customers donate the item they want to return, or just keep it. This return method is useful in cases where it’s not worth the cost and hassle of receiving the returned item.

By eliminating the shipping, processing, handling, and restocking of returned products, your store can save on reverse logistics costs and reduce the environmental impact of returns.

The No Shipment Required return method is useful for products you can’t resell and is based on customers’ purchase history, the value of the products, and the cost of processing the returned products.

As processing the return of bulky items like furniture, appliances, and mattresses is often not worth the expense, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to let customers keep them or donate them to a good cause.

Incentivizing Specific Return Methods

You can incentivize or disincentivize customers to choose certain return methods by giving them extra credit for choosing certain return methods and charging for others.

For example, providing an extra 10% for returning the product to your store location makes customers more likely to choose that return method, saving you the cost of handling return shipping and processing.

Use Return Methods to Streamline Your Reverse Logistics Process

Setting up different return methods and providing incentives to customers to choose certain ones will simplify your returns and streamline the return process.

Offering a choice of return methods can improve the customer experience and streamline the returns process, as each return method has its own benefits that will appeal to different customers.

Provide customers with information on their return options and what they will need to do to return items, so that they can enjoy a hassle-free return process.

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Streamline your return process and ensure a great post-purchase experience for your customers.