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How To Create a Return Label

In today’s world, returns are a part of life, and in the evergrowing eCommerce landscape, customer satisfaction is key. Making returns easy for your customers, is an easy way to make a return customer. So how do you make return labels work for you, rather than against your customer? This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of this modern business essential.

What Is a Return Label? 

Generally, a self-adhesive sticker that comes with a shipped product, a return label is used in case of a mistake or an unsatisfied customer returning their unneeded shipment back to you. A return label includes a trackable barcode for logistics, all other relevant shipping information necessary for a carrier to safely get your product back to you, and a refund to your customer.

Why Businesses Include a Return Label

In 2020, fewer millennials are buying at-home printers, and even fewer Gen Z’ers could tell you how to replace a printer cartridge in their family’s printer. Though some of the most popular printing brands had an uptick in shipped products during the pandemic, there was already a projected 13% drop in the printing of paper materials as a whole not specifically. With this huge shift of younger generations not generally having a working printer at home, customers aren’t interested in having to print things themselves. Including a return label also avoids the arduous processes created by making a customer create some sort of support ticket that links to a printable file they already can’t print at home.

Saves Your Customers Time and Money

Outside of the obvious upside of keeping the return process as simple as possible, including a return label will save your customers time and money. Helping your clients avoid the logistical nightmare of making their return labels means your customers won’t have to find a place to print their labels, they won’t have to buy label paper, and they don’t need to drive anywhere. Beyond all of this including a return label allows you to control your logistics, and product flow.

You Choose Mailing Options

Though there are a variety of nominal and premium return services, the carrier options you choose should be in line with your product offering. If you’re selling a premium product, you should make sure the carrier you’re using both treats it and your customers with care. 

Generally, carriers have their language for the mailing options you can use, but they generally boil down to 3 choices. The 3 most common options are Ground being the slowest and generally cheapest, Rush being expedited, and Pickup being the more white-glove approach to returns which also works best for oversized and overweight items. 

Ensure the Package Is Returned Properly

Return shipping labels are the easiest way to make sure your product arrives safely back in the arms of your warehouse or storage facility. By removing the chance of a customer shipping something to a wrong location because of a typo or previous location, return labels already include all of your pertinent information for your shipper and your customer. Outside of the label phy\sically displaying where the return is going, it will include an individualized barcode that will allow you to track your return in real-time depending on the carrier you use. 

Can I Make My Own Return Label?

Though using a fulfillment center or inventory management company for your reverse logistics would be easier, there are still great options for creating a return label. Whether you’d like customers to drop it off at an easy location for returns or have the item scheduled for pickup, there’s an option for your needs.

3 Steps for Creating a Return Label

Here are the 3 simple steps for creating a return label.

Step 1: Choose a Shipping Carrier

First things first, you need to choose a carrier. When selecting a carrier you should make sure they fit your needs, survive your network of customers, and don’t harm your bottom line. In selecting your carrier, you need to also select what type of shipping process they’ll use for your returns, this choice will directly impact your profit margins, so pick the right package for your needs.

Step 2: Enter Shipping Information

The easiest part of the process, knowing where the return is going. If you’re using a 3PL, this location could be offsite, if not things could be coming to your warehouse, a storefront, or even your home. Wherever the location, just make sure you triple-check you’ve entered it correctly because this is the easiest way to lose an item if not spot-checked.

Step 3: Pay for Postage

When dealing with a return, it is always better for you to choose the exact carrier options, because that means you also can choose the lowest postage option. 

eCommerce can live or die by how they handle returns, and because of that, there are a host of options of how platforms like this can provide their own return labels.

eCommerce can live or die by how they handle returns, and because of that, there are a host of options of how platforms like this can provide their own return labels.

How To Provide Return Labels as an Ecommerce Business

eCommerce can live or die by how they handle returns, and because of that, there are a host of options of how platforms like this can provide their own return labels.

Include the Return Label With the Package

The easiest option, including shipping a return label with a product costs you nothing unless it’s used, with the exclusion of the cost of the label itself. Typically, this would be a preferred method, but if your company is worried about the waste of making 100s of 1000s of pieces of waste, or you’re company wants to be greener, there is another option.

Let Customers Print Their Own Label

As noted above, fewer people are buying printers, but millions of people still have them, so allowing your customer to print a return label at home is a no-brainer. This option can help your company’s green footprint, while also ensuring that the product will arrive at the intended location.

Return to Sender

Now that you know how to create a return label, you may be overwhelmed with the burden of choice. There are a lot of options to consider, prices to keep track of, inventory to manage, and more, but that’s what order fulfillment and 3PL solutions like Print Bind Ship are here for. With eCommerce shipping and the Pick, Pack, Ship process, Print Bind Ship can process your returns and manage your inventory.


How Do I Make a Return Label Online?

Depending on the carrier you choose, most have their own online return label maker.

Does It Cost Money To Make a Return Label?

The cost of printing return labels is nominal, but there is no cost to make it or in including one if it’s not used.

Do I Have To Pay for Return Shipping?

You could put the burden of return shipping on your customer, but generally the onus is on the business to make sure that the customer’s return doesn’t make you lose a return customer.