Is A Shipping Label Really Necessary? (Explained)

Whenever you send a package to someone through the US Postal Service or privately-owned carriers like FedEx and UPS, you are instructed to place a shipping label, but is this necessary?

In this modern day and age where you can easily send packages to someone from any part of the world, shipping labels are necessary.

Here’s Why You Need A Shipping Label:

Shipping labels contain important information and have a barcode to track the package. Without the shipping label, packages can get lost in transit. If you are a business owner, shipping labels are necessary to get your packages to customers on time and safely.

What Are The Consequences Of Not Using A Shipping Label?

As part of the standard carrier policy, all packages should have a shipping label. Each carrier has its shipping label format, but they all look the same and contain the same information.

If you do not use a shipping label, the main consequence is that the carrier can refuse to ship your package.

The shipping label contains information essential to ensuring that the package reaches the correct destination. Without the shipping label, the carrier will refuse to service you and deliver your package.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Shipping Label?

A shipping label is not a requirement set by carriers just because they want to. Shipping labels serve a purpose, making transporting packages easier and more systematic.

Here are the benefits of using a shipping label:

They Look More Professional

If you are a small business owner, you will greatly benefit from using shipping labels.

With shipping labels, your business would look more legitimate and professional, especially if your company is still new.

Using shipping labels will give your customers the impression that your business is reliable. It also shows that you care about them enough to give them a way to track their orders and check on their status.

They Let Customers Track the Package

All shipping labels have a unique barcode scanned whenever they go through different checkpoints. This barcode is associated with a tracking number.

When you ship a package, the carrier will give you the tracking number, and you can use it to check the status of your package.

By entering the tracking number, you can check your package’s current location or status. This would not be possible without shipping labels.

They Let Carriers Manage the Inventory of Packages

For carriers to maintain an up-to-date inventory of the packages for shipping, putting a shipping label is an important step.

You can help carriers manage shipments more easily by using a shipping label.

They are More Cost-Effective

Generally, creating a shipping label is an added expense to your business, but it is more cost-effective in the long run.

By using a shipping label, you can ensure the timely delivery of your customer’s orders.

You can prevent packages from getting lost in transit by using a shipping label. As a business owner, lost packages can incur more costs for you as this would force you to resend the package to the customer.

As a regular customer who wants to send a gift or package to someone, a lost package is a waste of money.

What Information Should Be Included In A Shipping Label?

Generally, a shipping label should only contain information relevant to ensure that the package reaches the correct destination.

Here are the key details that you need to include:

  • The recipient’s complete address, including the house number, street, and
  • The recipient’s state, area, or region, if applicable
  • The recipient’s country, if shipping to another country
  • The recipient’s postal code
  • The date that the package was shipped
  • The weight of the package

In some cases, the carrier may ask you to specify or list down the package’s contents as some items cannot be shipped.

The carrier may also ask for the total value of the items to be shipped. This commonly applies if the package is being shipped to another country because some countries add tax and other fees to items entering the country, even if these items are sent as gifts.

The barcode and the tracking number are essential information on shipping labels, but the carrier generates these.

Where Do You Get A Shipping Label?

Shipping labels follow a standard format depending on the carrier. Each carrier has specific requirements, so you can’t make your own template.

Here is how you can get a shipping label – the process may vary depending on the carrier you plan to use:

US Postal Service:

For USPS, there are a couple of options for you to get a shipping label.

The first option is to generate a shipping label through the USPS website and print it at home. The second option is to generate a shipping label through the USPS website and get them printed at your local post office – both options are free.

So if you are a small business owner with no printer, you can generate multiple shipping labels through the USPS website and get them printed at a USPS location.

Then you can manually write down the recipient’s details on the shipping label. The USPS allows information to be handwritten as long as it is clear and readable.

FedEx:

For FedEx, there are a few ways to get a shipping label. The company even offers special services if you own a business and ship packages frequently.

FedEx lets you generate a shipping label from their website or mobile app. You also have the option to go to a FedEx location to print a shipping label.

If you have your printer and label-making supplies at home, you can easily generate a shipping label at the FedEx website or mobile app. You can also pay for it through a credit card.

If you ship frequently, you can even get discounts on shipping fees!

If you do not have your printer at home, you can generate a shipping label at the FedEx website and choose a FedEx location to print it. Then you can bring your package to your chosen location, get the shipping label, and have the same FedEx location process your package for shipping.

UPS:

Getting shipping labels from UPS is pretty much the same as FedEx. You can generate a shipping label from your computer or mobile device and print it through the UPS website.

You can print the label at a UPS store if you do not have a printer at home. Save it to a flash drive or send it to the UPS store’s email address.

When generating a shipping label at the UPS website, follow the prescribed address format for domestic and international shipments to avoid errors.

Can You Create A Shipping Label Yourself?

You can create a shipping label if you have a printer at home. This is more convenient as you no longer have to go to the carrier’s office or location to get a shipping label.

Plus, carriers ensured their websites were easy to navigate, so you would have no problems creating a shipping label.

To create a shipping label at home, you would need a printer – either an inkjet printer or a laser printer will do. If you have a thermal printer that utilizes heat instead of ink when printing, you may also use this.

Thermal printers are good for printing shipping labels on sticker paper.

You also need paper. Regular paper is fine if you do not have sticker paper. Carriers also recommend using light-colored paper, ideally white, so that the barcode on the shipping label is easy to scan.

Here is how to create a shipping label:

  1. Generate the shipping label through the carrier’s website – USPS, FedEx, or UPS. Make sure to provide all the necessary information accurately.
  2. Once the shipping label is generated, print it on paper. Ensure the shipping label meets the required minimum size of 4 x 6 inches.
  3. After printing the shipping label, attach it to the package. If you printed it on sticker paper, you could attach it easily by just peeling it off the backside. If you printed it on regular paper, use packaging tape to securely attach it to the box.

Shipping labels are quite easy to make. When you are at the carrier’s website, follow the instructions properly and input the correct information, and you will be able to make the shipping label in no time.

Sources:

What Is A Shipping Label & How Does It Work? A Guide For E-Commerce

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Printing Shipping Labels

The Benefits Of Shipping Labels For E-Commerce Ventures