Returns are an inevitable part of doing business. But they're also an opportunity to provide great customer service if you can properly manage the process.
The one thing a customer needs to return an item is a returns label: a pre-paid, fully addressed label that the customer needs to adhere to their package so they can send you the item back. Who pays for the return is up to you, the merchant. But a return label is like a stamp, it proves the cost of the return shipment is already paid for.
A returns label typically includes the carrier and service type information, as well as the return address. You can either provide this with the original shipment or offer a way for customers to print out a label at home. With this label, a customer simply needs to drop off their returns package at the nearest collection point.
A returns label not only simplifies the returns process for the customer, but also allows the merchant to better track and manage returns. By specifying the carrier and providing the return label, merchants can then track the status of the return shipment. They can also use the return label to check which returned item matches which original order.
This process can be quite manual and time-consuming, unless you use an automated product like AfterShip Returns which allows you to automatically create return labels for your customers to print out at home, as well as offer different return and exchange methods.