If you have an ecommerce business on Shopify, you know as well as anyone that a customer’s purchase doesn’t always work out the first time around.

Customers need to make returns for any number of reasons: Maybe the item was too large or too small, or it didn’t arrive on time for an important event. Maybe the customer was considering a few different options with a plan to send a couple of them back. Or maybe the item had a defect or flaw, or was different from what was advertised.

Whatever the case, with limited exceptions, such as final sale items, it’s important to have a strong return policy in place that lets customers send back their unwanted items for an exchange or a full refund.
Let’s take a look at how you can manage the return process on Shopify.

Manual returns via the Shopify app

When you’re running a business on Shopify, the ecommerce platform provides options for giving customers refunds directly within the Shopify app.

First, a customer needs to request a refund, either by phone, email, or live chat.

Once you’ve identified the item that the customer wants to return, and verified that it’s eligible for a refund, you can go to the “Orders” screen on your Shopify POS app and locate the item, then tap the “return” button next to it.

The Shopify app includes options to return the balance to a gift card or to the original payment method, and to decide whether or not to refund shipping costs. Learn more about returning items on Shopify’s POS app here.

You can also exchange an item through the Shopify app, with the option to either charge a balance or issue a credit based on whether the item is more or less expensive than the original item. The customer will need to provide their exchange request, or your customer support team can manually offer a recommendation. This page provides more details on making exchanges.

From there, you’ll need to issue return shipping labels and update your inventory management system with the pending return.

While Shopify offers basic functionality for fulfilling returns and exchanges, it involves a lot of manual work and doesn’t provide a great customer experience.

In order to deliver a better returns experience, it’s a great idea to try a returns management app that integrates with Shopify.

Automating returns with a returns management app

Shopify offers a wide variety of apps to help you optimize your ecommerce experience from end to end, including marketing, sourcing, fulfillment, and the returns process.

Our returns management app, Loop, natively integrates with the Shopify ecosystem, streamlining the process of managing customers returns and exchanges with a self-service returns management portal.
Using Loop, customers can start their own return by identifying the order from their purchase history, and providing a reason for why they want to return it. From there, Loop will pull from your real-time inventory to offer exchange options that fit the customer’s needs based on why the return is being made, such as offering a pair of jeans in a size up.

The customer can either approve an exchange option, or request a refund, and automatically receive a return shipping label to send back the item.

Your brand can also use conditional logic workflows to determine when to process a refund without requesting a return, such as in cases where the item will not be eligible for resale or the return shipping costs make it a net loss. This helps your brand improve its commitment to sustainability by encouraging customers to give away or recycle unwanted items, so that they don’t end up in landfills.

The app can also incentivize exchanges over returns by offering the customer additional store credit for processing an exchange instead of a refund. Providing some bonus cash to shop with helps you keep the revenue with your brand, and increases the longevity of the customer relationship that might otherwise end with a return. Loop merchants are able to retain an average of 40% of customer revenue through transforming returns into exchanges.

Why automate returns on Shopify?

While it’s possible to process returns on Shopify without using an app to automate the process, it’s time-consuming for your team and frustrating for your customers.

Customers need to wait for customer support to help them find the order and offer them instructions on how to process the return, and they need to manually choose a new item for an exchange if they’d like one — making them more likely to simply request a refund.

Your customer support team needs to spend time reviewing return requests, interacting with customers, and providing instructions and return shipping labels — taking time away from higher-priority customer support tasks.

By automating your return workflows and integrating it within your Shopify ecosystem, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently manage the returns and exchange process with no need to involve your customer support team. Your return and exchange requests should automatically sync with your shipping and fulfillment providers and your inventory management system, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

Providing a streamlined, automated returns management system will help you create a great customer experience for customers who need to make a return or exchange — which will encourage them to buy from your brand again and again.

Want to learn more about setting up Loop in your Shopify store? Contact our team for a demo.