If the greatest chef of all time cooks the greatest steak of all time it hardly matters if that meat gets sent to a vegan’s table. Product perfection can easily be foiled by flawed delivery.
As an eCommerce business owner, what goes inside your boxes is just as important as what goes outside, i.e. the shipping label that provides pivotal information about what is being shipped, how it is being shipped, where it’s going, and who it’s going to. Even the slightest error in any of these areas can result in failure to deliver, or delays in delivery that detract from customer experience with your brand.
What Goes on a Shipping Label?
Shipping labels are a major part of the inbound and outbound logistics operation—influencing the successful journey of a package from order to final destination, supply chain communication, and customer satisfaction. At a glance, shipping labels provide identifying info about a package. Though the specific details differ among different shipping carriers, all shipping labels have the following:
- Return/sender address
- Destination/receiver address
- Sender and receiver names
- Package weight
- Type of postage paid for
- Electronic tracking number
- Shipping barcode (generated by the shipping carrier)
- Shipping class (economy, standard, overnight shipping, etc.)
Overall, the info on a shipping label is meant to communicate important information about your package to fulfillment machines and personnel. This is incredibly important for eCommerce business owners that have many different products and SKUs, customers in all sorts of shipping zones nationally and internationally, and various shipping carriers or shipping service offerings.
This all affects delivery times, and thus customer satisfaction. However, shipping services have a bigger impact on this. If an eCommerce business offers more than one shipping speed option, it is extra important that packages are delivered within the date range a customer paid for. If not, satisfaction will drop faster than Hans Gruber from the 30th floor of Nakatomi Plaza.
Shipping Label Q&A
Q: Do Shipping Labels Cost Money?
A: Creating a shipping label is free, but package postage needs to be paid for.
Q: How to Make a Shipping Label and How to Print a Shipping Label?
A: You can print shipping labels yourself with the help of some online tools offered by major shipping carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL). However, 3PL fulfillment services make it much easier for eCommerce business owners to manage their time and costs by creating shipping labels and other shipping paperwork for every order. ShipMonk, for example, has a state-of-the-art fulfillment platform and fully-integrated operation that harnesses streamlined automation for these kinds of tasks that save eCommerce business owners time.
Q: Can You Tape Over Shipping Labels?
A: Yes, as long as you use clear tape and make sure all info on the shipping label (barcode included) is 100% visible.
Best Practices for Shipping Labels
As an eCommerce business owner, when creating your checklist for getting “ship” done, make sure to pay attention to these four areas.
1. Carefully Consider Your eCommerce Shipping Needs
Every eCommerce business is unique. Even within a business, different products may require different attention, for example varying dunnage options, dissimilar shipping and delivery dates, light vs. heavy item specifications, temperature control, and so on.
Before delving into any major decisions relating to shipping carriers and shipping services, be sure to ask yourself the big questions. How many eCommerce orders are you shipping a day? Where are your eCommerce orders shipping to? How far do eCommerce orders need to travel from your fulfillment center or warehouse to a customer? What kind of products are you sending? What kind of packaging do those products require? Who is the best choice for handling the day-to-day shipping management of your eCommerce orders?
Answer all of these questions and you can then answer the simpler questions of who will create your shipping labels and how.
2. Have a Safety Net for Double-Checking Shipping Information
Sometimes, despite best efforts, things can fall between the cracks. The bigger the eCommerce operation, or the more complicated the eCommerce order, the more the likelihood of that increases. The best way to wage war against probability and counter small slip-ups is by having an easy, automated way to double-check that all the information on your shipping label is accurate. Whether it is through trusted team members, or fulfillment technology, develop a system of checks to ensure every eCommerce order out the door has had its info looked over more than once.
3. Make Sure Your Inventory is Ready to Go
As mentioned, shipping rates and requirements vary depending on what you are shipping. Be sure all products and SKUs are organized at your fulfillment center or warehouse in an organized, efficient manner for easy picking, packing, and shipping. When your shipping capital is easy to process, creating shipping labels is a simpler endeavor, especially when it comes to shipping eCommerce orders in bulk on a daily basis.
4. Pick a 3PL Fulfillment Partner You Can Trust
Sure you could generate and attach all the shipping labels to your eCommerce orders instead of using an industry-leading 3PL. You could also do long division with a pencil and paper vs. using a calculator, and break out the corn syrup and thermometer to make marshmallows from scratch instead of buying them at the store when you want hot chocolate. But why do that?
As an entrepreneur you value time, efficiency, and whatever resources can help you grow and scale your business. 3PLs like ShipMonk handle all your shipping needs from packaging to tracking and beyond. Taking care of shipping labels is just another part of the fulfillment process we’d be happy to help you with.
Shipping Labels and Shipping in General Made Easy
Shipping labels ensure that eCommerce orders are marked with the vital information they need regarding what’s in a package, where it came from, who it’s going to, and how much time it should take to get there. These critical origin, destination, and identifying details help a delivery reach a customer in a timely manner. Should shipping labels be improperly formatted, unclear, or incomplete, an eCommerce order could be delayed—resulting in unmet customer expectations that lead to damaged opinions of a brand and lost sales in the future.
A high-caliber 3PL with an advanced fulfillment platform will be able to generate reliable shipping labels for your eCommerce orders whether you send out 10 or 10,000 a day. ShipMonk offers that kind of reliability and so much more with our dedicated team members, international tech-driven locations and counting, and automation that makes small, but important tasks related to shipping labels and other shipping paperwork fast and easy.