Shipping Labels: Simplified Definition

Shipping labels are a type of identification label that helps to describe and specify what the package contains. It also displays where it is to be delivered and from where, along with other crucial information and instructions. The style of shipping labels differ from carrier to carrier and display a variety of information.

Shipping Labels: Technical Definition

ClickPost defines shipping label as an important type of identification label that helps in the recognition and description of a package or consignment and displays crucial shipping information, like addresses, names, weight, and tracking bar-codes that is critical to both inbound and outbound logistics as well as assisting in monitoring supply chains, inventories, and keeping control of your orders. 

What is the purpose of Shipping labels?

The general purpose of shipping labels is simple. It is attached to a package that is to be delivered by post or courier so that the whole shipping process is smooth and efficient. It also ensures that the package reaches its destination as quickly as possible. The most important role of a shipping label in ecommerce is that it helps track and identify shipments as well. Each time the shipment reaches a new facility or distribution centre, the barcode on the label is scanned thus ensuring quick updates to businesses and customers.


How does shipping label work?

Shipping labels can differ from carrier to carrier though the displayed information remains the same. Shipping labels work by displaying information like destination, weight, names, tracking bar-codes, etc. to direct the packages through each stage of logistics and ensure that the package reaches the customer’s doorstep. It also helps in managing the supply chain and return logistics.

What is on a Shipping Label?

Each carrier company has a different template for their shipping labels. They are designed to display as much relevant information as possible in a small space. Each shipping label template is designed to work with its own process of sorting and delivery. Some of the information that is displayed on a shipping label is:

  1. The name and address of the package sender 

  2. The name and address of the  package recipient 

  3. A MaxiCode – a code that can be read in any direction by a machine 

  4. The Routing Code – informs how to route the package within the sorting section

  5. The Postal Barcode – the zip code of the destination 

  6. Tracking Number – the number is given to the customer to track their package

  7. Level of Service – the chosen method of shipment provided by the carrier (e.g. Express, Standard, etc.) 

Most of the shipping information is automatically generated by the carrier company. The customer just has to provide the sender’s name and address, the recipient’s name and address, and the service method. 

How do I create a Shipping label?

Shipping labels are often generated during the order processing procedure. Carriers have certain specifications for shipping labels. It is not feasible to make your own template or manually fill out a label when shipping orders in large quantities. To make a shipping label, you must adhere to the carrier's specifications.

You have two options, you can either go to your local post office and purchase a label there or arrange the shipping label by yourself.

When you purchase shipping labels at the post office, you are actually paying postage at retail rates, which are the most costly pricing tier for shipping labels.

There are further benefits to creating your own mailing labels, such as lower postage costs and the ability to schedule package pickups rather than waiting in line at the post office. There are also tools and services to fully automate the process of shipping label creation.

How to use shipping labels on the package?

A shipping label is often placed on the package's biggest side, preferably the top. This is especially critical if the packaging has a "This Way Up" label. The label should be the right size so that it completely covers the side where it is put. Check that it is not folded over any edges; otherwise, vital information may be obscured or unable to be scanned.

Check that the labels are securely fastened, with no protruding edges or bumps that might harm the label and render it illegible.

Some companies laminate or use tape to cover their shipping labels in order to protect it. Plastic slips or wallets are also used to protect shipping labels from water and environmental damages. This is mostly used in the case of overseas shipping for customs clearance and documentation.

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