Shipping labels are an important aspect of e-commerce logistics, but they're not always as straightforward as they appear. If you make a mistake with your free shipping labels, it may quickly become costly, inefficient, and even prohibit items from being delivered, regardless of the size of your business.
Whether you're just starting to distribute your first products and need some tips, or you've been delivering packages for a while, our guide to shipping labels covers everything you need to know.
What is a Shipping Label?
A shipping label is an identification label that aids in the description and identification of the contents of a container or shipment. Addresses, names, weights, and tracking barcodes are all included on these labels.
Though shipping labels may appear to be a minor component of the e-commerce puzzle, they are crucial to both inbound and outbound logistics, as well as the success, reach, and customer pleasure of your online store.
You can track and control your orders if you make a shipping label, provide a positive customer experience, enhance brand loyalty and client retention, and ultimately increase profitability.
Shipping labels are important during any inspection in the supply chain management process since they include critical information about the orders. The contents of shipping labels can also be specified, especially if they are for overseas goods. Each label is one-of-a-kind, and outdated labels cannot be reused. Each delivery necessitates the creation of a new label.
The days of giving out human instructions about where to ship orders and how to process them are ended thanks to the latest technology and automation. In order to transport your product to your consumers, you must use automated printed labels.
What is the Need to Make a Shipping Label?
Shipping labels are a small part of the whole packaging and delivery procedure. A shipping label is essential because it willingly conveys critical information with the supply chain, the technology utilized, and the people involved, allowing them to have a clear or comprehensive understanding of the package's origins and destinations. Any business must continually look for methods to save time, effort, and money, and one of the simplest ways to do so is to print shipping labels. Saving a few seconds and pennies on each package builds total corporate efficiency.
The purpose to make a shipping label can be summarised as follows:
• Better Tracking
When it comes to time-sensitive products like vegetables, tracking shipments is critical for quality assurance. You can, on the other hand, print expirable shipping labels that can be used by couriers as well as return labels.
• Ease of Inventory Management
The use of shipping barcodes is the first step in automating inventory control. They allow for automatic SKU tracking, stock counting, and inventory level cross-checking. Manual data entry and spreadsheet work are no longer required.
• Reduce Discrepancies and Errors
They assist your employees and 3PL warehouses/shippers in quickly sorting and sending goods for shipment. Because they make computerized counting and management easier, there is less potential for errors and discrepancies. They also make cross-company communication and stock transfers almost error-free.
• Assist with Report Writing
The shipping labels contain a wealth of information that may be used to generate reports in order management systems and ERP software. This data is utilized for a variety of functions, including stock level assessment, reordering, and calculating outbound stock.
• They are Affordable and Time-Saving
Integrating your fulfillment software with your packaging labels provides both strategic and functional benefits at a low cost. When you make a shipping label, they make sure your things arrive on schedule and in good shape. They serve a number of purposes and enhance deliverability by leaps and bounds when compared to their pricing.
The Anatomy of Shipping Labels
Image is taken from Sendcloud
- The sender's name and address
- The recipient's name and address
- A MaxiCode is a machine-readable code that may be read in any direction.
- The Routing Code - specifies how the package should be routed within the sorting section.
- The Postal Barcode – the destination zip code
- Tracking Number - this is the number that the consumer is given to track their item.
- Level of Service - the carrier's preferred way of communication (e.g. Express, Standard, etc.)
The carrier generates the majority of the data automatically. The following is the most important information you'll need to make a shipping label:
- The name and address of the sender
- The name and address of the recipient
- The service method
It's important to understand that shipping labels are typically 4 x 6 inches in size (10 x 15cm). If this does not suit your package, available sizes include 6 x 3 inches (15 x 7cm) and 4 x 4 inches (14 x 14cm) (10 x 10cm).
How Do Shipping Labels Work?
Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website
The following information is usually included on a modern shipping label:
- The package's origin and destination addresses
- The package's weight
- Internal shipment information
- A barcode for tracking
- The order's priority
To make a shipping label, the information listed above is crucial for getting your orders to their destinations as promptly as possible. This is especially critical if your online company offers multiple shipping options, as buyers want to receive exactly what they paid for and waited for.
A generic example of a shipping label is shown below. Additional fields on the preferred labels of the shipping carrier you select to ship your items with may be available.
Orders can be delayed in transit, delivered to the wrong address, or totally misplaced if they don't have a proper shipping label. Any of these scenarios results in a financial loss or a loss of client trust, emphasizing the importance of a clear shipping label.
How to Create a Shipping Label?
Image is taken from Strikingly
In most cases, shipping labels are generated as part of the order processing procedure. For their shipping labels, carriers have various standards. It is not feasible to make your own template or to manually fill out a label. You must adhere to carrier standards while creating a shipping label.
You can either:
- pay for a label at your local post office; or
- arrange the label yourself
When you buy shipping labels at the post office, you're actually buying retail postage, which is the most expensive pricing tier for shipping labels.
Image is taken from Strikingly user’s website
There are a number of benefits when you make a shipping label on your own, including lower postage costs and the ability to schedule package pickups rather than waiting in line at the post office. There are even ways to automate the process in order to eliminate as much manual input as feasible.
Learn how to make shipping labels for free using the three ways listed below:
1. Make Your Labels Online
Using the carrier's web facilities, you can make a shipping label. Each carrier will have its own online tool for creating shipment labels that meet their specific specifications. Visit their website, fill out the label template, and then save the file to your computer to print.
This isn't the quickest option, though. You will need to visit the site and manually enter the information for each order.
2. Make Use of Labeling Software for Shipping
You can use this option to download a carrier's shipping label template and fill it out on your computer. This will also enable you to modify the procedure, including the option to automate it and work offline.
3. Use a Shipping Tool to Fully Automate the Process
With a shipping tool, automatically collect order information from numerous platforms and carriers to fill out forms quickly and efficiently. A decent shipping tool will link directly to your store, obtain the order information needed for the shipping label, and assist you in creating the label in the appropriate template automatically.
A shipping tool can save you time and effort by eliminating the need to manually fill out labels if you have a large number of orders.
Consider the following while choosing a shipping tool:
- How many shipments do you make per month?
- Where do you ship to?
- Which selling platforms (Shopify, Magento, etc.) do you need to integrate? Do you require international delivery?
Make a Shipping Label using Strikingly
Strikingly's built-in shipping label solution has made it easy to send products to your consumers. You don't have to manually write or enter these details before mailing because you can print shipping labels immediately from the order date.
- Go to your account in the Strikingly Simple Store
- To examine order and subscription details, go to "Orders”
- Select "Print details" from the drop-down menu
Image is taken from Strikingly
Shipping is a crucial component of the sales process. However, because it is so common, many people may underestimate its potential impact. The more you know about how to make a shipping label and its application, carrier selection, and packing, the more efficiently you can run your business.
If you're ready to find more methods to transform shipping into a competitive edge, start with the basics and seek ways to save money and satisfy customers. You can also learn how to evaluate carriers and select the best one for your needs if you're seeking strategies to cut shipping costs. Even after you've decided on a preferred carrier, there are always methods to save money on shipping. So keep looking, making adjustments, and most importantly, selling and shipping!