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As trivial as a shipping label may look, it is actually integral to warehouse practices. Shipping labels contain valuable information on an order which contributes to its fulfillment.
Shipping label printing has evolved to optimize delivery processes for courier companies, thereby making it crucial for both inbound and outbound logistics. Without proper shipping labels, orders risk being rerouted to the wrong location which dents brand reputation and results in either loss in revenue or a customer’s trust.
In this post, we’ll give into what shipping label management is and how it matters in running eCommerce operations smoothly.
What Are Shipping Labels?
A shipping label is stuck on the outer covering of packages to make sure the order moves from origin to destination. Labels differ by carrier but are uniform in the type of information regarding the parcel, which typically are
- Sender’s address
- Destination or recipient’s address
- Package weight and dimensions
- Handling instructions
- Shipping service type (express, standard etc)
- Payment mode (prepaid or Cash on delivery)
- Barcode for identification and tracking.
The ideal label contains easily scannable data and is added to every shipment to communicate and transfer the information through to middle persons involved. Most 3PL/4PL couriers require pre-labeling before agreeing to take up consignments. A new label should be created for every shipment.
The information on a shipping label expedites its movement and handling throughout, especially if it’s specified that there are breakables or multiple shipping options. Workers can then handle it accordingly to minimize in-transit damage. When you plug shipping labels into automated inventory management, you get all of a product’s electronic information (such as its order reference).
Why are Shipping Labels Important?
Shipping labels matters because everyone involved in the logistics chain needs to be kept on the same page. Your customers need a way to track what’s happening with their order and a correct label can prevent the order from being delayed or delivered to the wrong recipient or location.
Some benefits of shipping labels are
Barcodes generate data at-a-glance, enabling warehouse employees to move packages to shippers who can route them to the right customers. This is particularly beneficial in saving time for those products that are expiry-sensitive and have a brief shelf-life, such as cold storage. The package spends less time lying around and is moved quickly to ensure spoilage and losses arising from it are curbed in time. Labels that are created online via automated inventory and warehouse management software can be tracked online.
Admit it; doesn’t a wave of relief wash over you when your product is intact and reaches its intended destination on-time? Now imagine how happy your customers would be that they received the expected product! A positive purchase experience includes well-handled shipping which goes back to the package labeled correctly. Such customers are far more likely to leave genuinely positive reviews which can raise your standing in feedback engine sites and lead to a strong customer loyalty.
Shipping labels provide workers information on where the order ends up and how to handle it. The information contained is secured onto the package in a manner that it doesn’t get detached or peel off. With just the barcode, your business can keep the order visible and provide real-time updates to customers requesting to know where the package is, from the time it has been packed and shipped. In this regard, printed labels are more durable than handwritten ones because the former cannot be tampered with.
The tracking information on shipping labels provides greater visibility into its journey. Even if the order is held up or at a different facility that deviates from its expected transit, customers can use the updates to contact agents and make the right collection arrangements. This exceptional visibility is handy for bulk orders involving a high volume of shipments.
Branding and handling
Shipping labels offer plenty of customization options to differentiate your brand from other businesses. A logo that is personalized with fonts, logos and notes can help your brand stand out in a customer’s mind (or for that matter, anybody else who is with your customer at the time of the parcel reaching them!). This is also where the packing team can mark the item as ‘fragile’, ‘dangerous’ or indicate the direction and position to stand the product correctly.
How to generate shipping labels
Shipping labels are easy to generate on board an automated eCommerce solution. EasyEcom lets you generate marketplace labels for multi-channel orders (if you sell on Amazon, SnapDeal or Flipkart,for example) and offers customizations for selfship labels. The steps on EasyEcom are as follows:
- Navigate to the orders tab for the option to print labels.
- Select the orders for which you wish to print labels. The same tab contains options to print invoices as well.
- Once the orders are confirmed, you can download the labels from the Print tab.
- If you wish to print them out, you can configure printer settings to print shipping labels, invoices and barcodes by going to the account settings->other settings-> printer settings.
3 Tips to Create the Ideal Shipping Label
Provide as much detail as needed
A shipping label typically contains the tracking barcode, sender and recipient’s addresses, package weight, priority and handling instructions. Size up your package to determine if the contents require additional instruction for storage, moving and handling. Most carriers ask for this information to prevent accidental damage or breakage and to confirm that they can undertake the package in accordance with their shipping policies.
Provide waybills to place inside the package along with a receipt which contains your company and customer’s address, delivery date, number, the type and quantity of boxed contents and return and refunds policies that apply.
Position of the Label
You must make sure the label is affixed only where it’s completely visible and not forming visible creases. This helps critical information to be read at a glance. Smoothen any lumps with the palm of your hand to ensure that the barcode on the label is picked up by scanners without difficulty. As a final security measure, insert the label into a plastic see-through wallet or seal it with clear tape to safeguard it against the elements (water droplets, for example).
Shipping labels are a crucial link between sellers and customers. It ensures the order goes to the intended address and client thereby boosting satisfaction, trust and loyalty. Most eCommerce solutions provide merchants with the option to generate, download and print labels digitally to save both money and time. Those businesses that have a high order volume and send out several packages daily can avail this instead of inviting postage charges at a bulk or retail rate by buying them at the carrier’s office.
We strongly advise going the route above by familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of an intelligent eCommerce operating system. With shipper integrations, you can even get access to their label template inclusive of barcodes, enter the details and print them out yourself. After all, the more time you save, the more packages you can label and fulfill!