Hi everyone, I'm new to Shopify and I'm getting ready to launch my site in mid-July. I have a question about how the customer return process works. I've read the available info on Shopify but my specific question is, how does the customer start the return process on their end? Do your customers email you and then you manually start the return process? Or is there a plugin that you need in order to automate the process?
Please let me know if you have any suggestions for me.
Thank you for getting in touch, and it's good that you're thinking about this before you launch! Are you shipping and fulfilling your own orders, or is a third party doing this on your behalf (e.g. if you're dropshipping or using a third-party fulfilment service)?
The first thing you'll want to do is ensure you have a contact page that clearly details how you can be contacted, ensuring that customers can reach out to you if they do indeed wish to initiate a return/ exchange. If the customer wants to exchange an item—perhaps it was the wrong size, or they decided they wanted a different product from your store—you can process that via your Shopify admin, which we have a guide for here.
Now, in terms of actually having the customer return the item, you'll want to provide them with an address they can ship the item back to. If you're fulfilling orders from your home and don't wish to share that address publicly with customers, you can look into acquiring a PO Box where orders can be returned to. If you're in the United States, it's possible to buy and provide the customer with a return label directly via the Shopify admin, although if you're outside of the US (or prefer not to do it this way) you can also purchase return labels via shipping apps or directly from the courier in question. Once the order has been returned to you successfully, you can initiate a refund to the customer if you wish.
I would also suggest ensuring your returns policy is clearly and publicly viewable on the website. We offer a free return policy generator tool here, which you can use, but do be sure to read through it and amend it if necessary. You can then add this policy and any other policies to your storefront for your customers to read.
I hope this helps, but please do let me know if you've further questions on this topic!
Victor | Shopify Social Care