Set up Branded Returns Portal


  • This feature lets you create and embed a branded self service returns portal directly onto your website.
  • With a customer-facing/self-service returns portal, you can simplify and automate your entire returns process, allowing customers to self-service, track their returns and feel confident making purchases with you.


This feature is available as part of our returns add-on. Learn how to enable this add-on here.

How it works

  • The returns portal is a highly customisable self-service web application that allows your customers to generate returns based on your return policy.
  • The portal can be embedded into your online website or hosted by Starshipit with a custom URL you direct customers to.

Table of Contents

Add the returns portal to your account

From the Starshipit dashboard:

  1. Click the account name drop-down in the top right corner of the dashboard.
  2. Click Manage account.
  3. Scroll down to Manage Add-ons.
  4. Click the check box next to Advanced Returns.
  5. Click Save.

The new returns features will now be enabled in your Starshipit account and you can proceed to Enable the Returns Portal below.

How to set up the Branded Returns Portal

1. Enable the Returns Portal

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Tick Enable > Save.
  2. This will generate a unique URL.
  3. (Optional) Enter a subdomain to customise the Returns Portal URL. 
    • Example:
      Subdomain: BobsBuildings
      The URL would then be

2. Configure your return couriers

If you have not already been using Starshipit for returns, you will need to configure your courier accounts for returns.

Customising the Branded Returns Portal

The above is all that is required to get the returns portal functioning. From here you will want to customise the returns portal to suit your branding requirements, business logic and returns policy.

Define your Terms and Conditions

It is important to ensure your terms and conditions for returning products are laid out clearly on your website. To add this:

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Terms & Conditions.
  2. Tick Enable Terms & Conditions.
  3. Add your content to the template editor.
  4. Click Save.

This will now display on your returns portal.

Rules for Returns

You can use the built-in rules engine to block return requests based on your policy around what can be returned and when. Some common examples are:

  • Returns are only accepted within 30 days of when the order was placed.
  • Swimwear is not available for returns.
  • Returns are only available for domestic orders via the self-service function.
  • If a customer is based in a specific state, the return should go with a certain carrier.
  • If the return contains a certain item, the order should be marked as a dangerous good.

Use the rules tab to configure this logic:

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Rules.
  2. Select Add a new rule.
  3. Set the Condition(s).
    Example: Order Created Date Greater Than 30 Days.
  4. Set the Action:
    Example: Reject Returns.
  5. Set the Value:
    Example: We're sorry! The items you have tried to return are not eligible for returns.

If you have any trouble configuring your business logic with our rules engine, please contact us here and one of our support team will help you set this up.

Defining Return Reasons and types of returns 

With returns, you may want to specify what kind of returns you allow and what reason the customer is returning the item. To define your return reasons:

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Settings > Returns reason.
  2. Enter each return reason on a new line.
  3. The customer will have to select one of these reasons before completing the return.

Starshipit supports three types of returns:

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Settings tab > Return Options.
  2. Select which options you would like to enable
    • Refund to store credit
    • Exchange Product
    • Refund to the original payment method

Reimbursement for Returns

Starshipit does not currently support charging the customer for returns via the returns portal. Reimbursement should be either deducted from the refund or charged externally through your payment gateway. You are able to configure flat rate charges based on which refund option is chosen within the returns portal settings. 

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Return Charges > Return Option.
  2. Configure the conditions and charges based on the return option, the location of where the return is coming from and the weight
    When a customer opts for a refund, I would like to charge $5.00 for orders that weigh up to 5kg, and $7.50 for orders between 5kg and 10kg for domestic orders. All international orders will have a flat charge of $15 for returns
    Return Option Country Codes State Codes Post Codes Return Charges
    Payment Refund AU     5|5
    Payment Refund !AU     1000|15
  3. Click Save.

For more information on setting up table rates read this article here.

Branding the portal

You can create a great branded experience by using the following key elements of the returns portal:

  • Logo 
  • Header & Accent colour 
  • Page Title & Favicon 
  • Footer Section  
  • Additional packaging details
    Used for providing additional information on how your returns should be packaged  

Use the settings page to customise your returns

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Settings Customise your return portal.
  2. Enable sections you want to display in the return portal.
  3. Upload the relevant images and text.
    Starshipit uses a standard Rich Text Editor for the portal templates. Optionally, you can switch to the HTML view to copy code you may have from your website already
  4. Click Save.

Branding your Returns notifications

Throughout the returns process, customer communication will be important. The returns portal allows you to fully configure and customise all SMS and email communication from an initial email with a link to the returns portal, all the way through to tracking notifications during the returns journey.

Use the notifications tab to enable select emails and customise them

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Notifications.
  2. Click the checkbox for the emails/SMS you would like to enable:
    • Send Return Link: Triggered when sending a link to the returns portal
    • Return Pick Up Submitted: Triggered when the return is initially submitted
    • Return Parcel Picked Up: Triggered when a pickup event is recorded from the carrier
    • Return Received: Triggered when a delivered event is recorded from the carrier
    • Send Return Label: Triggered when you send a return label to a customer directly
  3. Select either the Email Template or SMS template you would like to customise and edit the template from there
  4. Click Save.


These notifications are a great example for you to upsell and direct attention back to your store to increase visibility on your site

Returns submission using order reference (TheirRef)

You can now set up "TheirRef" as a search option in the Starshipit branded returns portal. This means your customers can search for and process returns using the "TheirRef" variable, which corresponds to the Receiver's reference (such as a purchase order number).

  1. Go to Settings > Returns.
  2. In the Return Validation section, tick the check the box labeled Validate returns based on order reference.
  3. Click Save.

Use case: This feature is particularly useful for businesses that import external order numbers, which they share with their customers as "Order reference" (TheirRef). Meanwhile, they use Starshipit Order (Our ref) for internal purposes, which they do not share with their customers.

Display the returns portal to your customers

There are two ways you can display the branded returns portal to your customers. You can either use an iFrame and embed it into your existing website or use the Starshipit hosted URL's. How to configure both options are detailed below.


An iFrame is a way of embedding the returns portal as inline HTML into an existing web page. This is a seamless way to create a flow between your online store and the returns portal. To add the returns portal as an iFrame you will need to access the embedding code.

  1. Go to Settings > Returns > Settings > Get the code.
  2. Copy the code to the clipboard.
  3. Go to your website and edit the HTML for the page where you would like the returns portal to display.
    This could be a dedicated website page for the returns portal or you could add it to an existing page
  4. Paste the code into the webpage and click Save.
  5. Returns Portal should now be displaying.


Alternatively, you may wish to have the returns portal hosted externally to your online store. This can be useful if you wish to only provide the link to the returns portal to specific customers, rather than having it publically available on your store.

After enabling the returns portal and optionally choosing a subdomain, you would have received a unique URL. You can include this URL in the "Send Return Link" email or record it locally for staff to send out when appropriate.

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