I'm new to Shopify and I'm hoping to launch my Shopify retail store soon. I'm a digital nomad and I don't have a physical address anywhere as I'm constantly traveling around. I am not sure how to deal with returns as I don't have a location that customers can send returns to. Is there an app that both helps to manage returns and also deals with the physical returns? If there's not an app that does this, what are my other options here? I definitely want to include a return policy on my site but am stuck on how to deal with the return process. Please advise!
There are a number of ways to handle returns, but the most basic (and free) way to handle it is to have customers email you with their requests. As long as you don't have many returns, that's very manageable and you can do things exactly the way you want to. The customer writes, you reply using a canned response, they send back the merchandise, you issue a refund or exchange the product. Other than the having an address to which they're supposed to return the merchandise, you are able to do everything else yourself remotely.
Do you have a home base of any type? Do you receive mail anywhere? Is there someone who can say, "Hey, you got a package back from this person," so you can issue the refund to that person? That's really all you need. Not knowing what you sell or the potential number of returns you may receive it's hard to answer the question beyond that, but if you're like most stores and receive only the occasional return, you should be able to do that. If you have sufficient volume that you may receive many, many refunds, then that's obviously different.
I don't know if this is a common enough situation for a specific service to exist—sort of the reverse of a drop shipper—but if there is a need, someone will fill it.
Tira here, from Shopify.
Welcome and congrats on starting on your business! That's amazing that you're a digital nomad and planning on opening your retail store. May I ask what kind of products you are selling?
Thank you @Jason_Roberts, that is a great way of handling returns! To add onto what Jason mentioned, you will need to have a physical location to accept physical returns from customers. Could you use your retail store as a location to accept returned physical products? You may also want to look into finding a fulfillment warehouse that can accept returns. Here's a great list of fulfillment warehouses like Boxzooka, ShipBob, and Ships-A-Lot, from our Shopify Blog: How to Outsource Your Order Fulfillment. I've personally used ShipBob with a business to accept returns/exchanges from customers.
Here are some of my recommendations:
AfterShip Returns Center - You can turn returned products into repurchases, let your customers choose what carrier to use for their returns with pre-paid shipping labels.
Returnly Returns - The ability to build your own returns centre and you can issue gift cards/store credit directly to your customers.
Return Magic - Includes a return portal, you can support exchanges and there are 50+ carriers that you can autogenerate labels to use for your customers.
You can also find more related apps that can help with returns, here.
If you have specific questions for the above apps, you can connect with the third-party developer app by locating their contact information under the "Support" area of the specific app's page.
A return policy helps your customers understand how the store processes returns, as well as how customers can submit a product for return. You can set-up a return policy by going into Settings > Legal and then you can enter your policy or you can generate a template. Learn more about how to create your store policies here: Adding store policies.
For a general overview on processing refunds for your store (an entire order, partial order, cancelling orders), you can review our help doc here: Refunding and canceling orders.
Let me know if that helps!