We've heard it all before: the importance of the shipping label. Although it's just a tiny sticker on a delivery package, we all know that it's a lot more than that in the great world of logistics. If you are especially an e-commerce seller, you need to know the basics of how to make a shipping label from A to Z. Having a thorough understanding of the structure of a shipping label is directly correlated to the wellness of your supply chain, therefore making it an essential element of your overall logistics procedure. If you want to learn how to successfully create a shipping label with minimum error and maximum turnout, this is the blog post for you.
What is a Shipping Label & What Does it Stand For?
In order to comprehend the importance of shipping label making, it is initially essential to start at the basics, ergo understanding what a shipping label is. A shipping label is basically a small sticker placed on your delivery package that identifies various things about it: be it the destination, the origin, the carrier’s name, its weight, etc. Without a clear and to-the-point shipping label, the risks of the package being delayed in transit, let alone being delivered to the wrong address, are weighing in pretty high. That is why it is important to create a well-thought-out shipping label template for all of the counterparts of the end delivery process to understand where the package is coming from and where it needs to be going. If you don't want your package to be - god forbid - lost completely, then you need to have a sold shipping label example at hand that will help you avoid any sort of customer and/or financial loss. While some companies use autonomous shipping label makers to ease this process, some prefer to carry out the process manually and have the upper hand in the entire operation.
Although shipping labels from major carriers such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS may all slightly vary, a standard shipping label template usually contains the same information that highlights the most significant elements about the package:
- Recipient's name and address
- Sender's name and address
- Package weight (Both box and item being shipped combined)
- Postal barcode
- Maxicode (Unidirectional code)
- Routing number
- Method of shipping
- Tracking number
For warehouses that prefer to use logistics software, the majority of this information is usually generated automatically. Once you have input these pinpoints on your shipping label correctly, your job in creating a decent shipping label is mostly complete.
How to Label Packages for Shipping
Whether you are preparing a shipping label for PayPal or a FedEx shipping label, the procedure is usually the same. Regardless of the number of packages you are sending during a week, purchasing shipping labels for your warehouse or logistics firm would be the most expensive way to go. Not only will you be paying for postage at the current retail rate, but you will be also wasting quite a bit of time waiting in line while shipping packages from your carrier's office. Companies not depending on autonomous logistics software choose to create their shipping labels themselves. This method helps them save money and time, as well as make personalized pickup arrangements with the carrier and take advantage of certain postage discounts. By printing a shipping label through the website of the carrier of your choice, you too can learn how to label packages for shipping on your own in no time. This is especially beneficial for companies that have a low volume of package deliveries.
Each carrier has its own shipping label template on its official website, so creating a shipping label for your package is as simple as filling out the shipping label template on the carrier's page, downloading the file, and printing it out. A USPS shipping label is pretty much the same as a UPS shipping label or a shipping label for Amazon FBA, with just a few minor details altered. Remember that there are a variety of shipping label software solutions, easily integrated with your e-commerce platform, that helps you create a state-of-the-art shipping label online.The best part of these warehouse management solutions is that providing you with shipping labels is the least that they can do to enhance your business. Click Logiwa Warehouse Management for more information.
Things to Consider When Creating Shipping Labels
There are numerous factors to consider when creating a shipping label. First of all, if your package requires special treatment, for example if it contains breakable items, it is important to add specific instructions to the shipping label such as "Fragile", "Perishable" or "This Side Up". Another question frequently asked about shipping label stickers is where exactly they should be placed. The best practice for placing a shipping label is on top of the package. The label needs to be fully visible and should not have any folded edges. Since modern carriers & warehouses use a scanning technology when identifying a certain package, the folded parts of the label may obscure certain data on it and complicate the scanning process.
When sending e-commerce produce to an online customer, it is always a good way to show your professionalism by including a packing slip, also known as a waybill. A packing slip is basically a sort of receipt, including your contact information, company details, customer's address, items in the delivery, order date and number, as well as the price of the items, and any additional information the package may behold.
Most warehouse experts recommend arranging shipping labels online via a credible carrier if you are shipping less than 10 packages a week. For shipping needs in any number more than that, it is advised to use a Logiwa 3PL WMS for third-party logistics company to help you with your warehouse management, as well as the entire process of shipping label making.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shipping Labels
What is the right way to print out shipping labels?
When figuring out how to print shipping labels, there are two options that you can choose from: a standard printer or a thermal label printer. A standard printer is usually based on either inkjet or laser, while a thermal label printer does not require any ink. Most experts will advise highly against using inkjet printers since it is the most high-cost and low-efficiency way of printing shipping labels. Laser printers will work just fine if you are only printing out a handful of labels over a relatively long period of time. The most cost-effective and professional way to print out labels is to use thermal label printers designed especially for label-printing, as well as opting for high-quality adhesive stickers.
Can I make a shipping label for free?
Surely there are numerous solutions online that teach you how to make a shipping label for free, helping you generate a proper shipping label for your business and delivery needs.
Where should I put the shipping label on the box?
The most common spot to place a shipping label on the box is usually the largest side of the package. If there is specific extra labelling information for the delivery such as a "This Way Up" sign, then it is important to place the label on top of the box, next to the extra-label itself. It is also essential to have chosen a label of the correct size, making sure it doesn't overbrim and fits entirely.
Can I cover my shipping label in transparent tape?
Many people choose to cover their shipping labels in transparent tape or attaching the label in a clear plastic envelope or plastic wallet. This can help prevent the package from getting any damage, especially from water that may come from rain during transportation. If you choose to cover your label in any sort of extra material, make sure that the entire label is displayed and can be clearly read and scanned.
Do I have to use extra-label information on my package?
Using extra labeling on packages is not a necessity for most carriers. Sometimes carriers can even prohibit the sender to use extra-label information on their package. Before you choose to use extra labeling, check your carrier's guidelines and make certain that your package absolutely needs it. Keep in mind that you may need to mark the package with what it contains when shipping internationally.
Is handwriting an option when filling out a shipping label?
As long as your handwriting is legible, there is no reason you cannot handwrite your own shipping label. Nonetheless, information such as the barcode will still need to be generated from the carrier before the shipping begins, which makes online tools in creating shipping labels much more efficient and time-saving.
Do shipping labels have an expiration date?
The only shipping labels that can expire are the ones that have a "ship by date" indication and have passed their delivery date. It's advised to keep an eye on the delivery date because not all delivery services take the initiative to ship the package past its expiration.
What is the size requirement for shipping labels?
4 x 6 shipping labels are the most common types of labels you can find on the market, however, different carriers may have different size standards, in which case it is important for you to check with them before creating a shipping label at home.
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Written by Erhan Musaoglu
Erhan Musaoglu is the CEO and Co-Founder of Logiwa.