Shipping labels are a critical part of the shipping process. They provide valuable information needed for a delivery to safely arrive at its destination. But what information is generally on a label?
That’s what we’ll cover in this article, by answering 11 of the common questions about shipping labels. In addition, we’ll provide some tips on how using Easyship can help streamline the shipping process, including creating and printing a shipping label.
1.What is a Shipping Label?
A shipping label is simply an identification document that highlights information about the shipment. They are among the primary requirements that eCommerce sellers should fulfill to get their shipments to their customers. Shipping labels differ depending on your carrier of choice but show the same information, which includes the names, address, weight of the shipment, and tracking barcode. All these are key information required for any carrier to ship your package from the starting point, which is your warehouse, to its destination, the customer.
Besides the basic information, shipping labels specify the contents of the package, especially for international shipments. They also include details about the method of shipping, such as standard or express, for the courier to ascertain that the option paid for is being provided. Shipping labels are unique, and eCommerce sellers cannot use an old shipping label.
2. What Should a Shipping Label Look Like?
Information provided by a shipping label should direct the package to correct destinations. It also facilitates tracking of the package and ensures that the courier provides the correct service. Couriers use their own unique shipping label template, which can be read by machines and humans. As such, they should be clearly written and easy to read. The anatomy of a shipping label is as follows:
- a.) Return Address: This comes in handy in case the package is not delivered. This is usually the address of the eCommerce seller. However, if you have outsourced your shipping to third-party companies, the company should indicate their address here.
- b.) Destination Address: As the name suggests, it is the address of your customer. It informs the courier where the shipment should be delivered. Providing a full address is essential, but indicating the customers' ZIP code makes it easier to route the shipment correctly. Indicate the fine details, including the company name, apartment number, and titles for smooth delivery.
- c.) Shipping Date: This is simply the date that the shipment undergoes the delivery process. Though not as important as the address and tracking information, the date provides important information for referencing delivery services at a glance. It also helps shipping couriers confirm that the shipment is traveling within the right timelines.
- d.) Package Weight: Package weight is another vital information that your shipping label should indicate clearly. This is because the weight is used in calculating the cost of shipping and affects how the courier sorts packages. Couriers distribute packages evenly to ensure that trucks maintain a proper balance.
- e.) Shipping Class: As you may know, the shipping class is an important determiner of delivery time. The names of shipping classes vary from one courier to another, but always communicate the speed. For instance, you will have FedEx Standard Overnight or UPS Next Day Air.
- f.) Barcode and Tracking Number: These details help in tracking the movement of packages during shipment. Couriers use different tracking codes that pull specific information about the shipment into their databases.
- g.) Miscellaneous Section: This section of the shipping label printer provides space for additional information. This space can have shipping costs, postal barcodes, proprietary barcodes, and more.
3. Does a Shipping Label Pay for Shipping?
A shipping label, as mentioned, is a printed address label with prepaid postage. As such, you will be paying for shipping, which you don't have to pay at the post office.
4. How Much Does a Shipping Label Cost? Are They Free?
eCommerce sellers can print shipping label-free. However, they can't ship their packages until they pay for postage. You will also have to pay for additional services, such as insurance options and tracking. With such, it is impossible to put an exact figure on the cost of a shipping label.
5. Where Do I Get a Shipping Label?
There are a few ways to get a shipping label, depending on where you purchase the shipping service. For Easyship customers, you can easily get a shipping label directly from your dashboard after creating a shipment. In addition, you can generate and print packing slips and customs declarations for shipments.
You can also print and pay for shipping labels directly from the website of your courier of choice.
6. Do I Need a Special Printer to Print Shipping Labels?
That depends! But in general, no you do not need a special printer. You can download your shipping labels directly from the Easyship dashboard and then print them on any printer. However, you will need to tape or glue them to the package or affix them in another way. This is where a special printer can come in handy. You can purchase a special thermal printer from companies like Dynamo for around $100 that prints self-adhesive shipping labels.
7. Can I Create My Own Shipping Label at Home?
Yes. You can create a shipping label from the comfort of your home. Have we mentioned that you can download and print your shipping labels directly from the Easyship dashboard? You can! That is the easiest way to create your own shipping label at home.
In addition, you can leverage the use of online tools provided by shipping couriers or use third-party label generators. With the first option, you should use the couriers' shipping label template to ensure that it meets the company's requirements.
8. Can I Handwrite My Own Shipping Label?
Yes. You can handwrite parts of the shipping label. However, some information, such as the courier barcode, should be generated from the courier. Besides, if you are shipping large orders, handwriting all your shipping labels can be time-consuming. You will be better off sourcing the services of shipping label companies.
9. Where Should I Put the Shipping Label on a Box?
Shipping labels should not be placed anywhere in the box. They should be placed on the side with the largest and most visible surface of the package. Shipping labels can warp if placed on the edges, making them difficult to read.
10. Do Shipping Labels Expire?
Yes. Therefore, it is prudent that you ship the packages within the indicated "ship by" date created when alongside the tracking information of the shipment. Fortunately, some delivery services can accept to send your packages after the expiry date. However, it can lead to unforeseen complications.
11. Can a Shipping Label be too small? What Are the Size Requirements?
Different couriers have varying specifications as to the size of their shipping label. However, standard shipping label size should be 4" X 6". As mentioned, the exact dimensions vary depending on the delivery service of your choice.
Create Your Own Shipping Label with Easyship
Our turnkey shipping software for eCommerce companies streamlines the shipping process, allowing you to easily print your shipping labels from the dashboard. We simplify the shipping process by allowing you to create all your documents from our tool including shipping labels, returns and customs documents.
Sign up for Easyship to supercharge your shipping today!
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