Unfortunately, these negotiated rates do not extend to returns.
Return Options for UK Sellers Require Additional Steps
Only US-based merchants can currently create return shipping labels directly within the Shopify interface. Sellers within the UK - including those in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - must find alternate ways to create return shipping labels for their customers.
This guide will outline 4 ways that UK based Shopify merchants can create return shipping labels using a variety of shipping carriers.
Return Label Options for UK Shopify Merchants
There are several options available to UK merchants who are looking to generate return shipping labels for customers.
We will detail the 4 primary options, which include manually generating and issuing return labels from a carrier website (for example, Royal Mail) and automating your process via a specialized returns management app from the Shopify app store.
Option #1 - Use a Shopify returns app to create RMAs and UK return labels
The Shopify app store hosts almost 8,000 applications that extend the base functionality of the platform and allow you to customize your store in numerous ways. Popular categories include product reviews, upsell widgets, and customer support tools.
Many of these apps are focused on streamlining the customer returns process and allow UK-based sellers to create return labels through dedicated integrations with shipping providers.
ReturnZap is a great option for creating UK return shipping labels, with support for multiple carriers and customer friendly tools like automated RMAs and streamlined notifications.
With ReturnZap, you get a dedicated customer returns portal that you can embed directly into your Shopify storefront. ReturnZap allows you to create UK return labels using preferred carriers like Royal Mail, Evri, DPD, Inpost and more.
Automates return labels using a variety of UK shipping carriers, including popular nationwide carriers like Royal Mail and Evri
Real time updates and visibility to tracking process to see return status and identify when they will arrive
Order lookup portal is totally self-service and avoids the need for contacts to your customer service team
Customization is necessary to match configure shop return policies and set up the app
Prepaid return labels can be more expensive, unless you opt to pass costs along to your customers
Option #2 - Purchase return labels directly from a carrier and send via email
Shopify sellers in the UK can also manage customer return labels manually if they wish.
There are a few steps to accomplish this:
Make sure your Shopify refund and return policy details the process you want customers to follow to ship back their UK returns. Normally, merchants will request that their customers email in to customer service to make a return request, and will in response send back an RMA and a return shipping label.
Set up a business account with your preferred shipping carrier that supports UK return labels. ReturnZap recommends either Royal Mail or Evri for UK based returns.
Become familiar with the process to purchase a return label on the carrier's website (see screenshot below)
Review each return request as they come in via email and then buy a return label for your customer on the carrier's website
Record the tracking number and send the shipping label to your customer. This is useful to monitor the return as it comes back to you to ensure that it is not lost.
Does not require any additional 3rd party Shopify apps, can be handled entirely over email
Sellers can engage directly with their customers to learn more about the reason for return and potentially divert a refund
Manual process with multiple steps involved
Difficult to juggle and keep track of more than a small handful of return shipments
Delays for customers while they wait for you to send their return shipping labels
Requires established shipping accounts with a carrier like Royal Mail or Evri, which can take some time
Option #3 - Purchase return labels directly from carriers and upload into Shopify
UK-based sellers the option to purchase return labels off platform and upload relevant information directly into Shopify for an improved customer experience.
To do this, navigate to an order for one of your customers based in the UK. In the header, click "Return Items" and follow the steps on the following page. You should see a screen that looks like the screenshot below.
Shopify gives you a few options to import return information against the order:
Upload a return label from a carrier like Royal Mail or Evri. You can upload the label PDF you generate on their website.
Add a direct link to an externally hosted return shipping label
Copy and paste in the tracking number and shipping carrier for the package. This is primarily useful for tracking on your end, it will not be useful information for your customer.
Optional - Create a return and issue a refund when return shipping is not required for the item being refunded
Easy to set up and get started, doesn't require any 3rd party Shopify apps to manage customer returns
Deeper integration within Shopify compared to just emailing customers. This allows for a more professional workstream, with automated communication within Shopify
Gives you the option to input tracking information to monitor return progress back to them
Still a very manual process, with several steps required before a return label can be sent to a customer
More opportunity for human error when uploading files and copying and pasting tracking information. You don't want to send the wrong detail to your customer.
Option #4 - Set your policy to require that customers arrange their own return shipping
UK based sellers can manage their customer returns a 4th way - by avoiding the need to create return labels altogether and instead asking their customers to ship the items back on their own, using the shipping carrier of their choice.
This is the simplest method, because all of the steps involved in arranging return shipping are passed along to the customer. But there are several drawbacks to this approach.
Removes the need to generate a return shipping label for the customer at the time the return is initiated
Customer shoulders the entire cost of return shipping
Easiest to implement, just needs to be incorporated into your store's return policy
The least customer friendly option due to cost and logistical hurdles of purchasing a return label
Does not allow an easy way to offer free return shipping to your customers and gives customers very little flexibility
Inbound returns are not tracked by default. Getting return label tracking from customers is a pain and requires manual outreach
Higher likelihood that returns may be lost in transit with little recourse for customers
To recap: UK sellers have 4 primary options to manage return shipping
It is unfortunate that Shopify does not provide an automated way for UK based sellers to generate return labels in the same way that they do for US based sellers. Merchants will need to identify an alterative method of creating return shipping labels. We have outlined 4 primary ways to do this.
Use third party apps like ReturnZap to automate this and create a customer friendly, automated workflow
Purchase return labels from a UK based carrier and issue them manually to your customers via email
Upload return labels that you have purchased directly from a carrier into Shopify and associate them with an order
Pass return shipping responsibility on to customers by asking them to arrange their own return shipping back to you
Returns can certainly be a challenge to manage. But merchants can build strong customer loyalty by offering clear, concise policies and giving customers flexibility when returning product with a streamlined workflow.
Automate Your Returns Process With ReturnZap
ReturnZap gives you a customer returns portal, powerful return rules, customizable policies, integrated RMAs and shipping labels and more to help automate your Shopify customer returns process and save you time.
November 4, 2022
Join hundreds of other Shopify merchants successfully managing their returns with ReturnZap