Have you ever faced a situation where your delivered package was returned to you because the shipping label was incorrect? Or have you ever had to pay way more than usual for a simple delivery just because you opted for a wrong shipping strategy? As a novice e-commerce entrepreneur, you are bound to face these hurdles. Even the seasoned ones sometimes don’t know that they could save money just by changing their shipping strategy.
If you want to minimize the shipping cost for delivery or want to ensure proper delivery, you must learn about shipping labels. If you think shipping labels are just some stickers where you place the shipping address, and they don’t have any other effects on your product shipping, you couldn’t be more wrong. Let’s learn what shipping labels are and how you can find the perfect one for your business.
What Is a Shipping Label?
Shipping labels are a major player in your supply chain management. Although inanimate, they hold all the key information regarding your supply. The information might include origin address, a destination address, postal code, country, city and state, date, tracking number, quantitative information about the product, such as weight or contents. Some mailing labels can even portray information about their shipping method.
This information on shipping labels helps the carrier to safely deliver the product to the right address. Another fact is this information should be legible to both humans and machines.
If the information is wrong or placed incorrectly, your package can get lost in transit, reach the wrong hands, and affect your business. Hence, you must learn how to properly arrange your shipping labels. This is especially crucial for international shipping, where your package has to go through multiple transits and change of hands.
How Does A Shipping Label Work?
Shipping labels need three types of vital information to be complete-
· Sender’s name and address
· Recipient’s name and address
· Shipping method
Apart from these, there are some additional pieces of information, such as the barcode, tracking number, and a maxi code. The country code, postal code, tracking number, date, package quantity, ship street, and state are embedded into the maxi code for ease of access. A barcode reduces human error and saves you time. The barcode is scanned every time a package arrives or leaves a shipping facility.
The information displayed on the shipping label helps you in tracking your package delivery at each stage of the shipping. To simplify the shipping process and the data decoding process, shipping agencies maintain templates. However, these templates vary depending on the agency.
Each template has a designated section for each type of information. While most of the information is filled out by automation, you still need to provide the sender’s name and address, a destination address, and the shipping method.
How to Choose the Right Shipping Label?
A shipping label should be solid, durable, and contain all the necessary bits of information. Apart from being functional, they should also be able to create a good first impression of your brand. The material, adhesive, print quality, and size all add up to create a cohesive functional shipping label that will ensure the safe delivery of your package.
Shipping Label Material
The shipping process involves multiple stages. The package might have to undergo several changes of shipping facilities, warehouse, or transportation, and much environmental change from the origin to the destination. Hence, you need a durable material for the shipping label.
If you don’t want the label to end up being torn, smudged, or even wet, you need to select a material that is water-resistant, opaque, and smudge-resistant. Warning labels should be printed on high visibility neon material while regular shipping labels should be printed to maintain the stark color contrast between the print and the surface. Make sure the material is sustainable and recyclable.
If you don’t want the package shipping label to fall halfway through the shipping process due to all the wear and tear, you need to invest in a permanent adhesive. Besides, you can’t reuse the same label more than once, so you don’t need to worry about keeping it removable.
Regardless of the adhesive you choose, make sure it sticks to a variety of surfaces- boxes, plastics, glass, or metal. For additional safety, use extra tape to keep the label secured.
Shipping Label Printer
You can either use an inkjet label or a laser printer for printing shipping labels. However, the ink-based print in an inkjet printer makes it more susceptible to smudge and smear when the label comes into contact with moisture. It can render vital information like the barcode unreadable to the machine.
A laser printer uses powder-based ink for printing, and there is no liquid involved. Hence you should opt for a laser printer to keep the print intact. Even if you print the shipping label with an inkjet printer, make sure you laminate it with a waterproof layer.
Shipping Label Size
The standard shipping label size is 4” X 6” (10 X 15 cm). However, depending on your package size, you can alter it to 4” X 4” (10 X 10 cm) or 6” X 3” (15 X 7 cm). While you might not have to stick to the exact same dimension for domestic shipping, you still need to print them closer to that dimension. While shipping internationally, it is recommended to use a 4” X 6” shipping label format.
Placement of the Label
Shipping labels should be placed on the top side of the package on a flat surface. If there is a bump on the surface, the label might become unscannable. All information should be legible, even if you use clear tape over the label. If there is an old shipping label on the packaging, make sure to remove it before you place the new one.
How to Create a Shipping Label?
Your shipping agency generally provides you with a shipping label template, and you just need to fill out the information. You can also-
· Create shipping labels online
· Use software for filling out the form
· Use an automated shipping tool
The Bottom Line
Shipping labels are a crucial piece of the puzzle essential for completing your supply chain. Without a proper shipping label, the whole supply chain can fall apart. To make sure your logistics are running smoothly, you should maintain all the standard protocols for shipping labels.