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Processing Returns

Having a solid customer-focused returns policy will not only reduce the time and resources spent on returns, but show you're committed to customer service and their buying experience. Additionally, customers will have confidence in your brand and will be more likely to buy more if they know they can quickly return an online purchase.


About This Feature

  • Once returns are enabled, customers will be able to submit a return by logging in.
  • BigCommerce does not generate return labels, but you can use an app to do so.

Return Settings

Return settings are located under Advanced SettingsReturns

The returns system can be enabled by checking Yes, enable returns requests. Once activated, customers will be able to submit a return request from their account.

Enable Returns System button

The Return Instructions field can be used to provide direction after the request has been submitted. Use this to outline what customers can expect from you, or what the procedure is for a return or exchange.

Return Instructions field

The Return Reasons field is where you can list the reasons for the return.

Return Reasons field

Customers will have to select one of these reasons when making the return request. Each reason can be entered on a new line. Feel free to use the default ones provided for you or introduce new ones that better fit your business. Some of the top reasons customers return merchandise are:

  • Wrong Product Ordered
  • Product Didn’t Match Its Description
  • A Gift Purchase Was Incorrect
  • Product Was Damaged Upon Arrival
  • Received Wrong Product
  • Product No Longer Needed

The Return Actions field is where you can list the actions a customer can choose from when submitting a return request.

Return Actions field

Customers will need to choose one of these actions when making the return request. Each action can be entered on a new line. Feel free to change the default actions to reflect your actual returns policy. The default actions are:

  • Repair
  • Replacement
  • Store Credit

Returns don't always need to end with a refund. Offering alternatives, such as exchanges or store credit, can ensure the customer gets what they need while saving the original sale.

Enabling Allow Store Credits will give your staff the ability to issue store credit for returned items.

Allow Store Credits button


Return Notification Settings

The Return Notifications settings allow you to control which notifications get sent to you and your customer regarding a return.

Return Notification settings

Return notification emails are sent to the email address listed in the Store Profile.

The email templates used to generate these customer notifications can be found in MarketingEmail Templates. The merchant return notification email template cannot be edited.

  • return_confirmation_email.html — sent to the customer when they submit a return request
  • return_statuschange_email.html — sent to the customer when their return request status is updated by a store administrator

Creating a Returns Policy Page

Having a page on your site that details how you handle shipping and the return of products is important to increase shopper confidence and conversion. It can also reduce costs in the long run by setting the proper expectations should they not be satisfied with their purchase.

To create the page, go to StorefrontWeb Pages. Follow the steps in Adding Web Pages and set the Page Name to “Shipping and Returns Policy” or something similar.

When creating the page, be sure to set your navigation appropriately. It's important that your returns policy be completely transparent and not hidden under an FAQ or Help section.


Don't be afraid to promote your return policy in your order confirmation emails, receipts, and packaging. It's a great marketing tool and shows you stand behind your products or services.

Best Practices

The content of your Shipping and Returns policy should be an extension of your company and align with your core philosophies. The writing style does not have to be too formal since this is not a legal document but should include some basic information such as shipping timelines, warranty information, and frequently asked questions.

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating or updating your store's return policy:

  • Never copy and paste your returns policy from another source. Tailor it to your specific needs and target audience.
  • Avoid complicated legal jargon. Use plain language.
  • Include keywords and testimonials in your policy page. Use your policy page to boost your SEO.
  • Avoid negative phrases like "you must" or "we're not responsible for." The return experience should be hassle-free.
  • Return policies are for customers, not your business. Be empathetic and understand that returns happen.

These are just a few things to consider when creating your policy. For more best practices and tips, see Creating a Shipping and Returns Policy and Handling Returns and Refunds (RMAs).


Customer Return Process

Customers can submit a return request by logging into their customer account on your storefront, finding the order they wish to return and clicking the Return Items link. Note that customers will not be able to submit a return request for an order that has already been refunded or partially refunded.

Example order with the Return Items link highlighted

Next, they will need to specify the Qty To Return, Return Reason, and Return Action. They also have the option to leave a comment.

Example returns form

After submitting the request, they will see the Return Instructions that you specified in your return settings and receive a confirmation email. Simultaneously, a notification email is delivered to the email address specified in your Store Profile settings.


Processing Return Requests

If you receive a return request, you will see a notification on your dashboard when you log into BigCommerce.

Dashboard notification highlighting a return request

To view a return request, click the dashboard notification or go to OrdersReturn Request.

The View Return Requests page will show you various details about the return such as the item, order number, and customer name, as well as the date that it was submitted. Each returned item will show as a separate line item with its own Return ID.

View Return Request page

Expanding the return request will provide additional details, such as the Reason for Return, Requested Action, and Customer Comments. You also have the option to add notes that will only be visible to you and your staff.

Example of an expanded return request

If a return request will result in a refund, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Order # to view the order.
  2. Refund the order.
  3. Change the status of the return request to Item(s) Refunded.

Note: Setting a return request to Item(s) Refunded before completing the refund will disable the ability to refund the order through the order's refund action. In this situation, the refund or partial refund will need to be made through your payment gateway's dashboard.

If you wish to issue store credit instead of an actual refund, select Store Credit as the refund method when refunding the order. See Processing Refunds for more information on issuing refunds from the control panel.

If the return request will result in a different outcome, change the status to whichever of the following applies:

  • Pending
  • Received
  • Return Authorized
  • Item(s) Repaired
  • Request Rejected
  • Cancelled

This is the email your customer receives when you change the status of a return request. The email template used to generate it is called return_statuschange_email.html, which you can find from MarketingEmail Templates.

Example of a return request email update



We've integrated with many shipping and fulfillment apps that can handle all of your shipping and label needs. AfterShip and ShipStation allow your customers to initiate and create return labels on your own branded returns portal. Transforming the return process into a self-service portal saves you time and ensures a consistent and hassle-free experience for customers.

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