Online shopping returns - explained

January 3, 2017
2 minute read

As online shopping grows, so is returning items through the mail – here’s what you need to know.

Now that shopping for the big day is over, the next holiday phase is upon us: returns. With 8 out of 10 Canadians now shopping online, returns through the mail are on the rise.

For shoppers, easy returns is all about convenience. For retailers, the process of returning items purchased online is known as reverse logistics – and different retailers can offer different options based on their technical resources, shipping volume and delivery carrier.

Canada Post works with retailers across the country to offer a number of options to fit their business needs and capabilities. Here’s the breakdown:

Return labels in the box

This is undoubtedly the most convenient returns option: when the item you bought online comes with a pre-printed return label right in the box.

This option works best for high-volume shippers with robust IT resources that enable them to build this step into their automated shipping and fulfilment processes. It’s also best for retailers that can afford lenient return policies. Generally, you’ll find a ready-to-use return label in the orders you receive from large-sized retailers.

Print labels online through retailer’s website

Instead of providing a pre-printed label in the box, retailers can also offer you the ability to request and print a return label through their website. This option is available to retailers that have enough IT expertise and a sophisticated enough website to integrate their site with Canada Post.

Print labels online through Canada Post

Retailers that may be smaller and have fewer resources can still offer customers the ability to print a return label online. In this case, customers can print a label at our Canada Post website. This option is technically manageable for them, yet still convenient for you; instructions are offered on their website.

Visiting a post office

For retailers who want to give the option to outsource the printing of a return label, their return policy can instruct customers to visit one of our 6,200 post offices nationwide. You will receive a receipt and tracking number as proof of return.

Finding out the return policy

Generally, good online retailers will include and explain the terms of their Return Policy on their website. You can often find it at the bottom of the page, or in the FAQs section.