Shipping Label: A Comprehensive Guide for eCommerce Teams

Justin Wiley

Justin Wiley

In the fast-paced world of eCommerce, streamlining your processes is crucial to staying competitive. One such critical aspect is managing shipping labels efficiently. In this article, we'll dive deep into shipping labels, their importance, how they work, their benefits, potential downsides, and even explore alternative solutions. This article is part of our ongoing effort to provide eCommerce teams with expertly crafted pre-built landing pages, campaigns, and editorials, making it easier than ever to launch new initiatives. So, let's embark on a technical yet conversational journey to demystify the world of shipping labels.

What Is a Shipping Label?

What Is a Shipping Label?

A shipping label is a crucial document that serves as a passport for your package during its journey from your eCommerce store to the customer's doorstep. It contains vital information such as the sender's and recipient's details, package contents, tracking information, and any special handling instructions.

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Can I track a package without a shipping label?

Tracking a package without a shipping label can be challenging. Shipping labels contain crucial tracking information that facilitates the process.

How Can I Create My Own Shipping Label?

Creating your own shipping label is a convenient and cost-effective option, especially for small eCommerce businesses. Follow these steps to make your own shipping label:

Using Shipping Software

Choose a Reliable Shipping Software: Select shipping software that suits your needs. Popular options include ShipStation, Shippo, and Easyship.

Enter Shipment Details: Input sender and recipient information, package weight, dimensions, and shipping method.

Generate the Label: Click the "Generate Label" button to create a printable shipping label.

Print and Attach: Use a high-quality printer to print the label, and securely attach it to your package.

Manually Creating Labels

Use Shipping Templates: Design your label using shipping label templates available in word processing software like Microsoft Word or design software like Adobe Illustrator.

Include Essential Information: Ensure your label includes sender and recipient details, tracking number, barcode, and any special instructions.

Print and Attach: After designing the label, print it on adhesive label paper or regular paper and attach it securely to your package.

How Is a Shipping Label Used?

How Is a Shipping Label Used?

A shipping label serves as a vital tool in the shipping and delivery process. Here's how it's used:


The label contains sender and recipient information, making it easy for carriers to identify the package's origin and destination.


The unique tracking number and barcode on the label enable real-time tracking, allowing you and the recipient to monitor the package's journey.

Handling Instructions

Any special handling instructions, such as "Fragile" or "This Side Up," can be included on the label to guide carriers in handling the package.

Who Pays for the Shipping Label?

The responsibility for paying for the shipping label varies depending on the eCommerce business's policies and agreements with customers. Here are common scenarios:

Seller Pays

In many cases, the eCommerce store or seller covers the cost of the shipping label as part of the purchase price, offering free shipping to customers.

Buyer Pays

Some eCommerce businesses require customers to pay for shipping labels separately at checkout.

Shared Cost

It's also common to see a shared cost approach where the seller and buyer split the shipping label expense.

The specific payment arrangement should be clearly communicated to customers during the checkout process.

Do You Need a Shipping Label?

Do You Need a Shipping Label?

Yes, shipping labels are essential for sending packages via courier or postal services. They serve as the package's passport, containing crucial information for carriers and recipients. Without a shipping label, it's challenging to ensure the smooth and accurate delivery of your packages.

Are Shipping Labels Free?

Shipping labels themselves are not typically free, as they may include costs for label generation and printing. However, the responsibility for paying for shipping labels can vary, as mentioned earlier. Some eCommerce businesses offer free shipping labels to customers as part of their service, while others may pass the label cost on to the buyer. Be sure to check the shipping policy of your chosen eCommerce platform or shipping provider to understand the associated costs.

Why Is a Shipping Label Important?

Shipping labels are the unsung heroes of the eCommerce world. They play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of your supply chain. Here's why they matter:


Shipping labels enable real-time tracking of packages, ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the shipping process.


They streamline the shipping process, reducing errors and delays, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction.


Shipping labels help ensure your packages comply with shipping regulations, avoiding potential legal hassles.

How Does a Shipping Label Work?

How Does a Shipping Label Work?

Understanding the inner workings of a shipping label can help you make the most of this vital tool. Here's a simplified breakdown:


Shipping labels are generated electronically, often through eCommerce platforms or shipping software.

Information Inclusion

They include sender and recipient details, unique tracking numbers, barcodes, and relevant package information.


Once generated, labels are attached to packages, usually in a clear, adhesive pouch.

Scanning and Tracking

Throughout the shipping process, carriers scan the barcode on the label, updating the package's status in real-time.

What Are the Benefits of Using Shipping Labels?

Utilizing shipping labels offers a plethora of advantages, including:


Minimizes errors in package handling and delivery.


Presents a professional image to customers.


Speeds up the shipping process, reducing operational costs.

Customer Confidence

Provides customers with tracking information, enhancing their trust in your brand.

Are There Any Downsides to Using Shipping Labels?

While shipping labels are invaluable, it's essential to be aware of potential downsides:


High-volume shipping label generation can be expensive.


Managing shipping labels can be challenging for new eCommerce businesses.

Technical Issues

Software glitches or label printing problems can cause delays.

What Are the Alternatives to Using Shipping Labels?

While shipping labels are the standard, there are alternative shipping methods worth considering, such as:

Electronic Shipping Labels

Some eCommerce platforms offer digital labels that can be displayed on a smartphone or printed.

Third-Party Fulfillment

Outsourcing shipping and label generation to a third party can simplify your operations.

QR Codes

QR codes on packages can provide similar tracking functionality without traditional labels.

Final Thoughts about Shipping Labels

Mastering the world of shipping labels is a crucial step for eCommerce success. These labels serve as the backbone of efficient shipping and are vital for providing transparency to your customers. Whether you're creating your own labels or using shipping software, the process can be made simpler with the right tools.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Shipping Labels

Can I reuse shipping labels?

No, shipping labels typically have a one-time use due to the unique tracking information they contain. Attempting to reuse them can lead to confusion and delivery issues.

Are there size and format requirements for shipping labels?

Yes, carriers have specific size and format requirements for shipping labels. It's essential to adhere to these guidelines to ensure smooth processing.

Can I create shipping labels manually?

While it's possible to create shipping labels manually, it's highly recommended to use automated solutions or shipping software for accuracy and efficiency.

Are there any restrictions on the content of shipping labels?

Yes, shipping labels must adhere to carrier regulations and legal requirements. Avoid including prohibited or inappropriate content on labels.

Can I track a package without a shipping label?

Tracking a package without a shipping label can be challenging. Shipping labels contain crucial tracking information that facilitates the process.

Can Shipping Labels Be Handwritten?

Shipping labels are generally expected to be printed for clarity and efficiency. Handwritten labels may lead to errors in the shipping process, as they can be less legible and lack the barcodes required for tracking. It's advisable to use printed labels whenever possible.

Can I Just Print a Shipping Label?

Yes, printing a shipping label is the standard practice for eCommerce businesses and individuals shipping packages. Printing ensures that the label contains all the necessary information, including a unique tracking number and barcode, which are essential for efficient tracking and delivery.

Do Shipping Labels Expire?

Shipping labels provided by eCommerce platforms or shipping carriers often have a validity period. This means that the label must be used within a certain timeframe, usually specified by the carrier. After the label's expiration, it may no longer be accepted, and you may need to generate a new one.

How Do You Label a Shipping Address?

Labeling a shipping address correctly is crucial for ensuring that your package reaches its intended destination. Here's how to do it:

Recipient's Name: Include the full name of the person or business receiving the package.

Street Address: Provide the street address, including any apartment or suite numbers.

City, State, ZIP Code: Specify the city, state, and ZIP code accurately.

Country: If shipping internationally, include the destination country.

Phone Number: Include a contact phone number for the recipient, which can be helpful for the carrier if they need to coordinate delivery.

How Do I Create a Free Shipping Label?

Creating a free shipping label typically depends on your eCommerce platform or shipping carrier. Here's a general process:

Choose a Platform: Select an eCommerce platform or shipping carrier that offers free shipping labels as part of their services or promotions.

Set Up an Account: Create an account on the chosen platform or with the carrier if you haven't already.

Create a Shipment: Enter the shipment details, including sender and recipient information, package weight, and dimensions.

Select Free Label Option: Look for an option or promotion that offers a free shipping label during the checkout or label generation process.

Generate and Print: Generate the label and print it using a high-quality printer.

Attach the Label: Securely attach the printed label to your package before sending it out.

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