Return Labels - Why Return Shipping Labels are Important and How to Generate Them?
Right from multinational companies like eBay and Amazon to medium and small business owners, eCommerce is no longer just about selling a product. The key to making a profit and getting recognition in the market is providing end-to-end service - from a seamless purchase to a seamless delivery. In fact, to create a loyal customer base, a business owner should make sure that even after delivery, services like return, exchange and the possibility of refunds should be enabled. Therefore, to make your life as an eCommerce business owner easy, we have researched and found that shipping return labels can provide the necessary services required after delivery.
This post covers everything you need to know about return labels in shipping and how they can be beneficial for both you and the customer.
1) Overview of Return Labels in Shipping
Return shipping labels are an important and complex part of online retail businesses. They work as elements that can increase your reputation in the market as well as add some uncertain costs to your overall shipping expenditure. About 30% of online orders are returned worldwide, so adding pre-printed return labels on packages can give your customers a strong feeling of flexibility and power.
But that is just one side of the coin. eCommerce returns can also act as a threat to your online business because a large volume of returns can imply a fundamental glitch in either the product or the service. That being said, return labels can somewhat reduce this possibility since they create a carefree environment for customers which can translate into an increase in sales.
Let’s try to understand in detail the purpose and benefits of return shipping labels.
2) What are Return Shipping Labels?
A return shipping label is a postage label with the address of the seller on it. With it, customers can easily return items purchased online if they are not the intended recipients for such items or the items are delivered in a damaged condition. The information on the label can be read by humans as well as machines (such as a barcode scanner or a QR code scanner), and this makes the entire shipping process simple and smooth.
Several shipping providers offer the facility of attaching packages with return labels. For instance, online return label generators usually receive bulk printing requests for return label FedEx, return label DHL, return label USPS, etc. This indicates the criticality of including such labels with products. Doing so, gives eCommerce businesses full control of the return shipping process that can be done cost-effectively and hassle-free.
Now that we have some clarity about the definition of return shipping labels, let’s take a look at how exactly they work and make the lives of sellers and customers simpler.
3) How Do Return Shipping Labels Work in eCommerce?
As mentioned earlier, a shipping return label displays all the information required to send a package back to the seller such that it can be tracked through each stage. Now, since the labels can be read by humans as well as machines, they need to be affixed correctly on packages and be legible. Each shipping provider has a specific template for printing shipping labels, which is uniquely designed to help the carrier easily sort out and deliver the package.
Let’s dive deeper and explore how you, as an eCommerce business owner, can provide return labels and benefit from them.
4) How Can eCommerce Businesses Provide Return Labels?
There are two ways in which eCommerce businesses can provide return labels to customers:
4.1) Allow the customers to print the labels at their end
This facility can be provided through the business website. The return label template can be given on the website which the customer can use to print as many labels as needed at home. Apart from this, you could let the customer notify you if they decide to return the product and then you could email them a return label.
The customer can then download, print and attach the label to the package before returning it. However, this way is much more time-consuming and inconvenient for you as well as the customer.
4.2) Include the return label in the shipment
The simplest and most user-friendly method of offering this service is including the return label with the package when the shipment goes out for the first time. This way the customer doesn’t have to worry about anything if they decide to return the product. It saves both time and effort for you as well as your customer.
5) Top 4 Reasons Why eCommerce Companies Should Include Return Labels in Packages
If you're an eCommerce business with a high return rate, including return labels when shipping packages the first time around is recommended. Listed below are some benefits you could gain from implementing this approach.
5.1) Return labels don’t become a cost unless they’re used
Apart from wasting paper, providing a return label in the package won’t cost your business if the customer never uses it. However, this approach might encourage the customer to return items even if there is a tiny issue with them. But that is a risk you should probably take.
5.2) Saves the customer’s time and energy
Instead of going through the entire hassle of notifying you that they wish to return the product and then waiting for your response back with the return label (after which they will have to print it out and attach it themselves), by including it in the package, you can save much time and energy for your customer.
5.3) Assured safe return of the package
Imagine this - when trying to return a product, a customer fills out your business’s address incorrectly or puts the incorrect postage, and it leads to the package being sent somewhere else. This situation is a double loss for you since you will probably not get the package back (if the second recipient decides to keep it) and the original customer (who returned it incorrectly) will probably claim for a refund. All of this can be avoided if you simply include a return label in the package so that the product is returned to you safe and sound.
5.4) You have the privilege to select the lowest mailing class
By including a return label in the package, you can select the mail class by which you want the package to return to you, rather than the customer selecting an expensive mail class and you having to reimburse them for that later. It thus puts more control in your hands.
At this point, won’t you agree that return labels do sound convenient? Well then, let us now explore how you can generate return labels for your business.
6) How to Generate Return Labels?
Typically, return labels can be created with shipping software, at home or in an office. Regardless of which software you use, three basic steps need to be followed to create your return label.
Step 1: Select a carrier partner and the main class
First, you need to choose a shipping carrier service that you prefer to deliver your products, as well as the mail class that the package falls under.
Step 2: Provide the return address
The next step is to provide the return address of your business and ensure the selected location is open to receiving the returned items. For instance, your warehouse or wherever you’re working out of should be in a place where deliveries can be done conveniently.
Step 3: Pay for the postage
The last step is to pay the charges for the returned item because this way the customer will not have to pay for returning the item and it will make their buying journey hassle-free.
7) List of Top Logistics Companies Offers Return Label Service
FedEx, UPS, and USPS are among the top shipping carriers that provide affordable and efficient services for generating return labels. The services also include printing return labels on your behalf to make the buying journey of your customers easy. Let’s quickly walk through the key services these shipping carriers offer for return label generation.
7.1) FedEx Return Label
If you intend to use FedEx for your shipping needs, you will have the option to get labels from FedEx Ship Manager. They will provide you with printed labels for domestic as well as international returns, which you could either include in the shipment or send to the receiver via email or through a link along with the customs documents.
You can print a FedEx return label with the following steps:
- In the main menu of FedEx Ship Manager, go to “Prepare Shipment” -> “Create Return Shipment”.
- Follow the indicated steps and at last click on “Ship”.
FedEx enables you to link the return with the shipment to increase visibility. Moreover, FedEx return labels don’t expire.
7.2) UPS Return Label
With UPS, there are several return services available for your customers at a nominal fee. However, these services are only available in certain countries, so make sure you check that the destination of your shipment is inclusive of returns.
Some of the return label services offered by UPS include:
* Print Return Label: With this service, you can print a return label and send it to your customer either with the shipment or separately.
* UPS Return Plus: By selecting this service, a designated UPS driver comes to the address of collection with a preprinted return label while collecting the return package.
* UPS Electronic Return Label: This service enables you to have the return label emailed to your customer. On receiving, the customer will have to print the label out themselves along with a receipt and call for the collection of the package themselves.
* UPS Print and Mail Return Label: With this service, you can print as well as mail the return label to your customer.
To create a UPS return label, you can use the UPS Internet Shipping service as follows:
- Go to the “Create a Shipment” page and click on “Create a Return”
- Follow the indicated steps and at last click on “View/Print”
After this, you can save the label as a PDF document and email to your customer.
7.3) USPS Return Label
Similar to the two shipping carriers mentioned above, USPS provides a wide range of return label services, some of which are:
* Priority Mail Return Service: This service provides a combination of speed and value, for it is ideal for any time-sensitive or high-value products. It’s a premium yet affordable solution for shippers that send out products in high value and volume.
* Ground Return Service: This service is most ideal for businesses that are looking at a high volume of returns at a low price. With this category of returns, time is not such an important factor.
* Parcel Return Service: This service is specially dedicated for shippers with a high volume of returns. With this service, it is very convenient to get prepaid and preprinted labels that all meet the requirements of USPS.
* Print and Label Service: By selecting this service, the return labels can be generated and delivered directly to the consumer.
You can generate a USPS return label through Stamps.com, which is an online postage provider. Here are the steps to do so:
- From the main menu, go to “History” and select the order for which you need the return label
- Click on “Return Label” from the right-hand side panel.
- Follow the indicated steps and at last click on “Send”
Now, let’s take a look at whether or not the printed label should be prepaid or postpaid.
8) How Does ClickPost Make Processing Product Returns Easy and Manageable?
Are you looking for an easy and cost-effective method for generating shipping return labels? ClickPost offers the services you seek.
Clickpost is the fastest-growing integrated logistics platform in Asia that serves global eCommerce companies. In addition to providing easily manageable and affordable shipment, returns, and logistics solutions, ClickPost also helps sellers pick their ideal shipment partners, generate labels, and track shipments.
With respect to return labels, ClickPost offers a click-based solution directly from its website. Customers can simply go to the ClickPost dashboard, select the item they wish to return, and generate a return label for it. It is literally that easy.
To learn more, explore returns management options with ClickPost.
9) Difference between Prepaid and Postpaid Return Labels
There are two kinds of return labels.
* Prepaid label - In this case, you pay for only one label, that too as and when it is required, and send it to the customer.
* Postpaid label - In this case, the customer is sent a pay-on-use return label along with the package, regardless of whether or not they are considering returning the product. Moreover, you only pay for it only if the return label is used.
Generally, customers appreciate the latter option.
10) Types of Printers to Print Return Label
More often than not, shipping return labels are printed using one of the following three printers:
10.1) Thermal Transfer (TT) Label Printers
TT printers are generally used to generate high-quality labels that last long. These printers use ink ribbons made or resin, wax, or a blend of both. For getting the best quality labels, it is important to match the labels with the right quality of ribbon material. These printers are generally not very expensive.
10.2) Direct Thermal Printers
These printers don’t use a printing ribbon. Instead, they have a chemical layer underneath the label surface which is heat-activated to create printed images. The labels printed with these printers aren’t very long-lasting, especially if they are exposed to UV light. Moreover, direct thermal labels aren’t as sharp and vibrant as TT labels.
10.3) Laser Printers
These are the regular printers used in homes and offices that print on the sheet you feed into them. Naturally, they are the least expensive and easiest to use printers. They use ink cartridges for printing labels that are not very durable or long-lasting. Further, you can only print one label at a time with them.
11) Final Words About Return Label
We hope that through this article you have become sufficiently aware of the procedures of using return labels and how they are an essential element for eCommerce business. Return Labels are an integral part of online retail businesses since they work as an element to increase your profit and popularity in the market.
Return Labels cost almost nothing unless they’re used and are convenient for both you and the customer. They assure a safe return of the product and are cost-efficient if you select the lowest mailing class. Additionally, FedEx, UPS and USPS offer return label services at an affordable cost.
12)FAQs on Return Label
12.1) How does a return shipping label work?
A return shipping label is a postage label that is pre-addressed and prepaid, which enables a customer to return the product to the sellers hassle-free. Additionally, the return label allows the seller to choose the mail class option for the returned product.
12.2) What things should be included in a return label?
A return label must include the shipping barcode, address and other information required by the shipping carrier to identify the destination of the shipment so that it is returned safely to the warehouse or the seller.
12.3) What is the best printer to print a return label?
There are three different types of printers available, laser, thermal and inkjet printers. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Thermal labels are often more reasonable as compared to laser and inkjet printers. However, Inkjet printers are best suited for startups, for the lower shipping volume enables both colored ink and black ink labels to be printed from one source. Most shippers combine the labels from a thermal printer with packing slips from a laser printer for efficient printing.
12.4) Which company is best to provide Return label service for eCommerce Business?
It should depend on which shipping carrier you use for sending products to your customers. Some sellers tie-up with different providers for shipping and return labels, however, many renowned providers offer both services from a single source. We recommend exploring shipment provider options at ClickPost.