In this lesson, you will learn:
- How to initiate a return as a customer
- How to manage returns as a store owner within control panel
- How to issue store credit or order refund

Refunds and Return requests are unfortunately a big part of running an online store. They’re a big part of running any kind of store. You must be ready to facilitate refunds and exchanges. But don’t view refunds and returns as a negative.
This is just another opportunity for you to win over a client with superior customer service. Bigcommerce makes it easy for your customers to request a refund and for you to make it happen.
First, let’s check out how a customer makes a return request. A customer logs in to their customer account on the back end of your store at yourdomain/login.php. ou
can usually find a login link on the top right of your Bigcommerce theme depending on your store’s design and layout. Don’t worry if they don’t have a store account you can do it for them, but if they have an account there’s no need for them to even call or email you! That’s a great customer experience.
Once logged in you’ll see an area for Completed Orders. It’s here a customer can find the order they’d like to return. To begin the return process they would click the Return Item(s) link. They’ll then see all the products that were in that order.
They can decide to return just 1 or 2 or all of the products they ordered. Just select the quantity next to the product. Below you give the customer the ability to provide a return reason. The asterisk means this is a required field, and customers must choose an option. Below that is a return action. Does the customer wish to return this for store credit, exchange this product for another? The best part is Bigcommerce allows you to customize both of these fields and add your own reasons and actions. Let’s take a look in the control panel.
I’m back in my control panel and I’ll go to Settings, and then Returns. If you want to disable this feature completely just uncheck this box at the top. The first field is probably the most important: Return Instructions. This gives you the opportunity to present a message to your customers right after they submit a return request.
Should they include their receipt in the packaging? Is there a special address they should send the product? Whatever this is a good place to put it. Next you have your return reasons, add or remove items as you see fit. Every store is different, so we know this is important to vendors. Next is return action. Edit these actions as you see fit based on your store’s needs. Below, by default, we’ll send messages to the store owner, the customer and keep everyone notified of a return request, but of course, in Bigcommerce fashion, we’ve given you the freedom to control what gets sent.
Now, back to my store I’ll submit a return request. Customers can write a quick message in the box, and then Submit their Return Request. After successfully submitting the request they would then see the Return Instructions you entered in the control panel. It’s now out of the customer’s hands and goes to the store owner. Let’s take a look.
You’ll immediately get alerted via email. You may click the “View Details” link to go right into your control panel, where you’ll be brought to the View Return Requests page. This is section is listed under the Orders tab in your navigation.
You can open up the request by clicking the plus sign. Review the customer’s return information, and decide how you should handle the return. You can make notes in the right that only your staff will be able to view. You should then use the return status dropdown to alert your customer where their return is at in the process. Whenever you change this your customer receives an email to alert them of their return’s status. If you approve the return you can issue the customer store credit within the Action Wheel. Just click OK and the customer will get the amount credited to their store profile. This can be used during checkout as long as they’re signed into the their store account. Once you issue Store Credit the return status automatically updates to “Items Refunded”.
Now if the customer wants a straight refund, and not store credit you can do that on the View Orders page. Go back up to “Orders”, and “View”. After you find the order in question, drop down the action wheel, and you’ll see a Refund option here. Now be aware, some Payment Gateways don’t offer refunds through the Bigcommerce control panel. But most do. Here I’m using Paypal powered by Braintree, which does allow me to refund money to my customer right through the Bigcommerce control panel. Once you successfully refund the order go back to the
Refund Requests page and change the refund’s status to “Items Refunded”.
Feel free to get creative with the ways you interact with your client. It’s always helpful to reach out even after you’ve refunded the order just to double check everything went smoothly with all the transactions. Again, don’t get upset, because someone returned your item, by staying positive you maintain them as a potential customer and might even get a good review out of another great customer experience.