No matter how personalized your purchase experience is, returns are a common part of the customer experience that your brand needs to build for, not fear. 

Creating a seamless process for managing returns will boost ecommerce businesses’ customer retention and maintain brand loyalty. 

Learn more about the importance of your returns policy in the Future of Shopper Experience

One study found that ninety-five percent of respondents would return to shop at an online company if their returns experience was positive. With that in mind, don’t discount the customer return process—it’s a vital step in retaining lost revenue and increasing trust in your brand. 

The USPS offers a variety of flexible options. However, you should reflect on your company’s priorities and weigh the benefits of a pre-paid label along with the drawbacks. 

In this article, we’ll cover solutions including:

  • Click-N-Ship return labels
  • Customer print-at-home
  • QR codes for drop-off locations
  • The benefits of personalization

Click-N-Ship return labels

A return shipping label can be mailed with the shopper’s original packaging or can be printed at home. When planning your strategy, the first step is to pick the best courier service and shipping option that fits your budget. While FedEx, UPS, and USPS or other third-party shipping services are all great options, the shipping rates can be costly. If you’re planning on shipping internationally, you will also need to keep in mind any taxes and additional fees. 

If you plan on utilizing USPS for your returns, they offer a range of options for prepaid return shipping labels. The question is whether to include this with the original purchase or provide it when a return is initiated. If you plan to offer a return shipping label with the original package, make sure to research the type you should provide. 

USPS return label

The easiest way to create a prepaid USPS return label is using USPS Click-N-Ship. This service offers a wide range of mailing classes, including Priority Mail Return Service and First Class. Though this option will be an expense, it’s free and is fairly simple to get started. The shopper can attach the label to the package and head to their local post office when they have time.

If you decide on this option, be sure to include the customer address that the package is shipping from, your business address and any other necessary postage where applicable. The standard size of a return shipping label is 4×6 inches, and will include a barcode, along with a tracking number. 

The benefit of this option for a return package is that the barcode works well with automated systems during the shipping process, providing both the shopper and the business with instant updates. Because of this, shoppers will receive a partial or complete refund as soon as the return shipment arrives at the post office. Providing a free return will make the customer experience seamless, boosting retention and brand loyalty. USPS can walk you through creating a prepaid return shipping label step-by-step. 

The downside with providing this label is that customers could accidentally throw away the label in their excitement to open the package. They will then have to go through the process of contacting your customer service team and receiving another label for a USPS return. Ideally, this process shouldn’t have too many holdups, but it would still mean having to enlist the help of your support team, leaving shoppers frustrated. They also might not live close to a post office, and might find it inconvenient to go through the hassle of visiting one.

Allow the customer to print at home

Another option when providing a return shipping label is to allow the shopper to print the label themselves at home. The return service would still be prepaid; you’re just making it easier for the shopper. You can do this by creating a section devoted to the returns process on your website. The returns page will guide the buyer through the process and help them download a USPS return shipping label. 

This option is beneficial to your company because the customer will be covering the costs of printing a label at their own expense, and only when needed. Loop’s partner Shopify integrates this service in order to make it easy for customers to start a return. Depending on your preference, Shopify can guide shoppers through the process and make it easy to process the return manually or generate a label automatically.  

No contact, no expense option 

A third option is to provide a QR code that can be taken to a drop-off center or shipping service like USPS. Once there, the QR code can be scanned and a label generated. Not only will this digital option save on costs, but it’s also efficient. Many shoppers prefer this option because it’s easy, it’s no contact (a big bonus post-pandemic), and often, they don’t even need to package their return shipment. 

Shifting the responsibility of packaging could be in your company’s best interest. For products that are fragile, this reduces the likelihood that the items will be damaged in transit. If time isn’t a factor, you can also group shipments together, saving on the cost of return logistics. The downside of this option is that shoppers might not live close to a drop-off center, making it more of a hassle for them. 

Make it personal 

The best way to optimize the returns process is by creating a personalized customer experience. If possible, offer them a variety of options and allow them the convenience of mailing the package back themselves with a prepaid label or with a QR code.

Remaining flexible and working to meet your shopper’s preferences, paired with shipping software, make the process convenient and intuitive. It will also boost confidence in your brand, ensuring a repeat customer. Loop’s return logistics offers integrations to help make this a seamless process. With EasyPost, you can easily add your preferred carrier (including Fedex, USPS, or DHL), generate a label, and automatically charge shipping to help make the return a breeze. Loop will also shop the available carriers and services to ensure you’re receiving the lowest possible shipping cost.

Want to learn how to optimize your returns process? Book a demo with Loop today.