How to manage international returns? Handling e-commerce returns in Europe.

The development of technology and globalization of markets have increased the scale and reach of e-commerce, enabling consumers worldwide to purchase products from abroad with ease, unlike previously. However, along with new opportunities come challenges, and one of them is comprehensive, cross-border returns management. You will read about the trends in this area and new possibilities in this text.

In online sales, returns are not only inevitable but also an important aspect of customer service, affecting brand status and buyer loyalty.

Returns thus require a particular approach that considers the diversity of regulations, expectations, and logistical challenges. Organising the process of handling returned goods should be carried out at a high level within the store structure.

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Digitisation of the e-commerce return process in Europe

Throughout Europe, we observe the growing significance of automated returns processing, which speeds up the process and simultaneously positively impacts the quality of service and the time it takes to handle complaints. The returns procedure is increasingly tailored to customer preferences and their convenience. How? It depends on the location, but common trends aiming for the option to leave a parcel “somewhere along the way, at any time” are evident. How does this appear in the most popular e-commerce markets?


In Germany, Packstations are popular, which are automatic collection and return points operated by DHL. Consumers can return goods independently without the need for interaction with an employee.


In France, returns are often processed through the post or partner points, such as stores, where goods can be returned free of charge.


In Italy, courier points are popular, where customers can leave a package for return.


In Spain, postal returns dominate, as do returns through local service points.

United Kingdom (UK)

In the UK, returns by post are popular, as well as through networks of stores offering return services.


Belgians often use postal points and parcel machines for returns.


In the Netherlands, postal returns and return points in retail stores dominate.


Austrians also use postal services and parcel return points.

EU consumers are entitled to a minimum of 14 days for returns. This is a timeframe guaranteed by European legislation, but many companies offer longer periods as part of their sales policy. Major platforms even offer 100 days or more, so that the customer feels secure and thus leaves the money buying goods to which they may not be entirely convinced, but have plenty of time to think about. Usually, during this time, they also get used to it, and consequently, the likelihood of return despite a very long period significantly decreases over time.

When comparing return methods in different countries, it is worth noting that many retail chains offer their own specific solutions, which can be adapted to local customs and available infrastructure. These may include return labels included with the order or information with the website address where the customer can register for a free return shipment and deliver it to the appropriate machine using a scanning code.

Many e-commerce companies still offer returns via courier. In this model, the courier collects the goods directly from the consumer at the specified address. This is a good option for consumers who are less mobile and can wait for the return to be collected at home or at work.

Local return address - an essential aspect of marketplace sales

The key to managing returns in e-commerce is to develop a strategy that is both accessible and attractive to customers on the one hand, and does not negatively affect the profitability of the business on the other. Here, an important piece of the puzzle is the return address in the sales country. It strongly influences the level of your brand’s participation in the market because, on the one hand, it builds the merchant’s credibility (most of us perceive domestic merchants as a less risky choice) and ensures a level of return execution costs comparable to domestic competitors in the given market, while on the other hand, it enables sales on marketplaces.

Legislators in successive countries are tightening tax regulations and related charges, shifting the burden of enforcing certain obligations onto marketplaces. These, in turn, require the completion of data on accounts under the threat of preventing sales. If you don’t have a widely available platform, marketplaces are the best location for you. Therefore, a local return address is essential for you.

International returns with Global24? Indeed!

Global24 offers assistance in the returns process within the countries it delivers to. With us, your store can seamlessly provide a returns service even in foreign markets.

In our commitment to our customers and bolstering their competitive edge, we endeavour to simplify the return process as much as possible. Customers can return products in their own country using the provided label or dispatch them via a carrier of their choosing to the designated address.

What are the benefits of having local return addresses in various countries?

You meet marketplace requirements, crucial for executing cross-border sales. You enhance your brand compared to competitors by offering local return options in diverse markets. Multiple return addresses imply a large-scale operation, positively influencing customer perception. Our return order settlements don’t involve subscriptions – you only pay for received returns. You can utilize our foreign addresses at no charge. You avoid expenses for individual shipments returning to the country as foreign parcels. How? All parcels are managed in our warehouse network and returned to you collectively.

The modern e-commerce landscape transcends borders, and alongside promotion, effective returns management is one of the foremost challenges for internationally operating stores. Companies adept at managing returns not only foster trust and loyalty among customers but also establish a stronger foothold in the markets.

Seeking assistance in optimizing your international returns process? Let’s discuss!


    Global24 Team


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