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Is The Return Label In Box Still A Thing? Why it's not working and what to do instead.

Return labels are a fundamental part of the returns process, but what is the most effective way to generate them? Learn in this article!

return label in a box

Return labels help allocate and classify a product throughout the return process, making them a fundamental part of the process. There are several ways to generate return labels, and some are more effective than others in terms of costs and customer satisfaction. In-box return labels prove to be less effective than scan-based, printerless ones. Therefore, in this article, we’ll show you how to switch to those instead.

Imagine the following scenario:


You get a product at the door, but when you open the package… it is not what you’ve been expecting. It might be the wrong color, size, or even because of damage caused during the transportation. Now you have to return your order.


The truth is that mistakes will always happen, and returns are unavoidable. As an eCommerce business owner, you must deal with this proactively and do everything feasible to provide outstanding customer service (returns or not). In fact, most business owners and entrepreneurs know that the customer service they provide is crucial to their success. However, prepaid, printed return labels do not bring the expected results, often even leading to increased costs, more support tickets, reduced productivity, and dissatisfied customers.


If you’ve been sending return shipping labels in the box, you might’ve noticed that the unused ones were costly and ineffective. Moreover, if a customer wants to separately send a couple of items, they needed more than one return label: once again, they have to get in touch with your support team.


In eCommerce, this becomes even more apparent as mistakes can be costly and time-consuming for all parties involved in returns procedures, including the supplier, the shipping carrier, and the customer who wants to return the item(s). All retailers should adopt best practices such as providing easy access to scan-based or prepaid return labels so no one will lose out on money due to any errors made when sending something back, making sure there are clear instructions available online if consumers need help replacing damaged products within certain periods, and so on – these little things go a long way!


The return label is just one aspect of the returns management system, but it’s also a fundamental one for any eCommerce business— big or small. Things can quickly go from pricey and time-consuming if you make a mistake with your processing or shipping labels! As long as you can make returns cost-effective and increase customer satisfaction long-term, you will see better overall results across all departments. Using online, scan-based, and printerless return labels can help you gather the necessary return information for future improvements, making the entire process easier for the customers, and you can achieve this by implementing a returns center that works for you, not against your eCommerce business!

customer returns and operations

Why is this piece of “paper” so important?


Making returns cost-effective while driving customer satisfaction and reducing the number of returns overall is one of the main goals for eCommerce business owners.


You might’ve noticed prepaid, printed return labels do not bring the results you’ve been expecting —but worse: increased costs, more support inquiries, reduced productivity, and unhappy customers, who weren’t even providing return reasons. In fact, unused, in-box prepaid return labels were just a loss of resources whereas some customers needed more than one return label, which led to increased support volume. Moreover, the prepaid shipping label didn’t offer too much information on return reasons.


If you’re wondering why prepaid, printed in-box return labels weren’t working and what you can do in this regard, we’re here to help you to find a cost-effective way that’ll also make returns more profitable.

Want to learn more about return labels?

Check out our checklist that will help you improve your labeling process and create a better experience for your customers!

Want to learn more about return labels?

Check out our checklist that will help you improve your labeling process and create a better experience for your customers!


Want to learn more about return labels?

In order to achieve this, consider turning to online, scan-based, and printerless return labels that help them gather the necessary return information for future improvements, making the entire process easier for the customers. For instance, by implementing WeSupply returns center: self-service web-based software that makes the whole returns process easier for all parties involved.

return package print label process

Return Labels For Your Business


According to Gartner Research, less than half of all returns are resold at full price. Moreover, the longer you wait for an item to be returned, the lower are the chances of reselling it. In fact, delayed returns can cause excess inventory and loss. To better understand this, imagine how challenging it can be to sell, for example, wool scarves in April or swimsuits after the summer season. The sooner you restock, the sooner customers will be able to buy your product.


Here, reverse logistics plays a key role. Reverse logistics generally include the processes where the consumer is responsible for the final disposal of the product, such as recycling, refurbishing, or reselling. All you need is to have your customers easily and promptly send back the unwanted product to you! In order to do this, you need to facilitate the returns process for them, starting with self-service returns and autogenerated scan-based and printerless return labels. After all, your customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but they expect you to be as proactive and reliable as possible, especially when it comes to returns.

fix things when they go wrong

Return Labels For Your Customers 


Customers will return if the return process is easy. Easy returns – and an easy labeling process – can also increase customer satisfaction and retention. According to a return logistics company survey, almost three-quarters of American consumers stated that returns are their least favorite part of online shopping. 32% of customers are willing to walk away from a brand they love because of just one bad experience.


Providing a good return service will protect you and your business, as well as make customers feel confident when they purchase something on your online store. If customers are happy, then there is less damage to both parties!

walk away from a brand

The return process starts with the return shipping label


Return labels are a crucial tool in the logistics of returning products. Correctly formatting and spelling your label can save you time during the logistics phase, as well as prevent delays due to incorrect information. Any misspelling, incorrect format, blank field, or outdated label can delay return shipping, whereas accurate information on the return labels is vital to maintain a smooth reverse logistics process.


Considering the above, what should a return label include? To put it simply, all of the information needed for return processing such as:

  • Purchase Order number (optional)

  • SKU (optional)

  • The return address/shipping address

  • Description of items being returned

  • Quantity being returned

  • Reason for return

return processing checklist

Ways you can provide return shipping labels for your customers

  • Include the label in the shipped package

As we’ve been discussing, adding a printed, both scan-based, and prepaid return shipping label in the box is one way to satisfy your customers. However, this comes with its own set of challenges. Your customer might want to return multiple items in different packages, requiring, therefore, more than one return label. In this situation, they will have to get in touch with your customer-facing operations teams, adding more pressure.


  • Let customers print their own label

Another way is to offer them a scan-based or prepaid return label via email or other channels of communication, or through their user portal, that they have to print on their own. Although this seems like might cost you less money at first sight, you’ll still have to hire more dedicated customer care representatives to get in contact with your customers and generate return labels on their behalf.


  • Printerless QR code returns

Last but certainly not least, you can provide scan-based and prepaid return labels that are printerless— there’s no need to physically print them out. They can use their return code online or have a digital copy of their QR code to show at the dropoff location. Either way, you save them time and create a hassle-free return experience!


All the pros of the QR code return labels:

  • Convenient and quick
  • A powerful marketing tool
  • Better insights on returns reasons
  • Remove unnecessary steps
  • Automated return experience
  • Sustainable & eco-friendly alternative


With WeSupply, you can enable QR code return labels directly on the platform and your customers can submit a return request within seconds and receive a downloadable QR Code return label on the return confirmation page, that’s also sent in their inbox! All of this is a matter of minutes, instead of hours spent on hold with customer support reps or days of emailing back and forth for something as simple as this.


Get the Ultimate Return Label Checklist to help you improve your return labeling process!

return confirmed qr code

What comes after the return label


If your eCommerce platform is more advanced, you may decide to support customer return requests through an account or branded returns portal. From there, customers will have a few different options for sending their items back, and getting back a new item, credit, or ultimately their money.


This gives you the opportunity to turn the situation around and provide them with a valuable experience that will drive more trust and revenue back to your business.


For example, provide dropoff carrier locations, such as a USPS Post Office or a UPS dropoff location. If you want your customers to be able to access as many locations as possible, it’s best that choose a carrier with better coverage. Moreover, if you want to surpass all expectations, besides covering return shipping fees, you can have the return picked up by a carrier at your customers’ home or business address.

return package qr process

Also, as a consequence of the return, you might want to give your customers a refund, online store credit, or an exchange product. In this case, you’ll want to invest in an RMA software that enables you to explore different options and allow your customer to choose the one that fits their needs best.


As they say, there’s always room for improvement. Below are a few effective tips to help you reduce returns, in the first place:


  • Enhance Product Descriptions

Make sure you add all essential details in your product description, from size and color to functionality and limitations— there are the little things that count, and these pieces of information can help you avoid returns altogether.


  • Provide Plenty of Accurate Visual Content

All talk, no action: besides accurate description, you’ll also have to provide visual content that is true to the original product, whether we’re talking about images, GIFs, or video presentations.


  • Display Product Reviews

You can learn so much from user-generated content, therefore, showcasing product reviews can help others understand whether or not that particular item is exactly what they’ve been looking for.


  • Answer Frequently Asked Questions

Gather all relevant questions from your customer care representatives and answer the most common ones. This way you’ll take a load off your support team while improving the entire shopping and post-purchase experience for your customers.


  • Analyze the Reasons for Returns

If you can’t stop them, learn from them to improve your products and services. Knowledge is power, so make the most out of the reasons for returns and create a better long-term strategy for your business.

One platform to rule them all!


WeSupply makes returns simple & convenient


Our Self-Service Returns Center for eCommerce businesses aims to make returns simple and favorable for all parties, from customers to carriers and support team representatives. By automating these efforts, your team will be able to quickly process returns requests and issue refunds, store credit coupons, and so on, without having to spend critical time trying different ways to find order numbers, customer email addresses, RMA numbers, etc. It’s all automated by us!

Learn how automated returns
work in WeSupply!

Our shipping and logistics experts will guide you through the product and analyze how WeSupply best fits your eCommerce needs.​

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