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shipping label

The Anatomy of Shipping Labels in Brief

9 min read

Waiting for a mail or package to arrive needs a lot of patience. It can even be tiring when the knowledge of the approximate arrival time is unknown. However, many things could be responsible for delays in shipments or hinder their delivery. Some of these are mislabeling, improper labeling, or using no label.

While items without labels are generally not allowed to be shipped, there can also be cases of incorrect labels. There are some basics about shipping labels you should know. Knowing this will be helpful when filling the labels, including the specific areas, and how to track the shipment.

This article is about the anatomy of shipping labels. What is a shipping label? How to print shipping labels? How to make shipping labels, and how to get shipping labels. These and more will be discussed in detail. Read on to learn more!

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What is shipping label?

Shipping label seems like something anybody would be familiar with, but the truth is that one may not understand the real meaning. Also, the purpose of the shipping label for the shipment may not be known. After all, there are countless situations where people find shipping labels on their packages and have no clue about their significance.

Shipping label example

An example of an ordinary shipping label

To be specific, a shipping label is a label stamped on the shipping container. The purpose is to inform the parties involved in the shipment with the basic details such that they have enough information about the shipment- from shipping until it gets to the owner’s doorstep.

Meanwhile, shipping labels do not substitute for package labels. The former contains specific information that pertains to product shipment. This is why different carriers adopt different templates for their shipments. And that forms the basis of why you should follow the specifications during shipment to be sure of good delivery.

What’s more? Shipping labels are a key aspect of ecommerce logistics. That is, irrespective of your store size, the wrong shipping labels can imply more cost, greater inefficiency, and ultimately prevent the delivery of packages.

How to Print Shipping Labels

Printing shipping labels can be done with a standard inkjet or laser printer, or one which does not require ink- a thermal label printer. Although it is advisable to avoid the inkjet or laser printer, it can be preferred if there are only a few labels to be done in a month. Nevertheless, it is paramount that every detail on the page is legible, sharp, and clear such that there is no smudged ink.

Another downside is that with more labels, you will need more printer ink, which can be quite expensive. There is the possibility of the printing paper getting damaged because of exposure to rain and or handling with little care. In turn, this will make the label illegible. But you can protect the label by keeping them safe and waterproof.

A good way to do that is to secure the label with clear tape or attach it to a transparent plastic envelope. High-quality adhesive labels that have a proper label printer are recommended to ensure clear and readable labels.

Also, laser printers can generate quality labels of higher precision than their inkjet counterparts. Although this can be costly because of label sheets and cartridges which need replacing per time. On the other hand, thermal label printers are the best option for label printing. This is because they do not require extra toner or ink other than the labels. The printer works in a way that it forms shapes on the paper with heat, to enable accurate and long-lasting labels.

Similarly, thermal label printers are very expensive. Yet they can be a great investment when you start printing a substantive amount of labels and the cost of supplies is becoming too much.

How to Make Shipping Labels

Do you want to know how to make shipping labels? You can make shipping labels while processing your order. Bear in mind that carriers have particular requirements for their respective shipping labels. It is, therefore, impossible to make your template or fill a label manually.

Thus, to create or make a shipping label, you have to arrange them yourself or visit your local post office to get a label. With the latter option, you will get postage at retail price and this can be a bit expensive.

On the other hand, it is more advantageous to arrange your shipping labels because you get some discounts on the postage, and can schedule package pickups rather than spend some wait time at the local post office.

You can automate the process to minimize the manual effort to a large extent. To do that, you can create your labels online using tools provided by the carrier. You can also use shipping label software or automate fully using a shipping tool.

Where to Print Shipping Labels

Many people print shipping labels at home. This is because the majority of shipping carriers have enabling tools with which users can generate and print their shipping labels. A good example is the FedEx Ship Manager Lite.

With this, you can quickly create your shipping barcodes after providing the full details that pertain to the package. In other words, you can easily skip the line at USPS and generate your labels with a reliable ecommerce platform where you can calculate the shipment costs from the site’s control panel.

How to Get Shipping Labels

Whether for individual, business, venture, or unlimited plans, you can use the shipping labels service from a reliable platform to get your shipping labels. These labels work for different forms of deliveries for domestic and international.

There is also some free shipping label template you can use online. These are tools for generating a shipping label for your business. All you have to do is: fill in the addresses, print in a paper (A6 sticker), and stick to the box.

Where to Buy Shipping Labels

With the USPS, shipping costs can be made when you affix stamps. For other shipping services like UPS or FedEx, you might need a billing account for the shipments you send. An alternative method of getting the label is to use the technology to print shipping labels, ensuring that they have the shipping information, bar codes, and recipients’ information.

The advantage of using prepaid shipping labels, especially if you regularly ship with a carrier, is that you can create your style of the shipping label with their systems. Paying the shipping costs won’t be with many troubles, too.

How Much Do Shipping Labels Cost?

It costs nothing to generate a shipping label. But the package won’t be shipped until you have paid for the postage.


Ecwid offers you leverage for printing shipping labels much cheaper, faster, and better. You can create your ecommerce store with the company’s ecommerce solutions.

In a nutshell, a shipping label is a vital aspect of the shipping process, of bringing your shipment or package from there to here. That way, you can get it more safely and on time. However, one can easily overlook its importance because it is a small part of the sales and delivery process.

We have covered the fundamental aspects of shipping labels including how to buy shipping labels, where to buy shipping labels, among others. Having known the basics of this crucial shipping component, you can increase your chances of doing business more correctly for more profit and even for your customers.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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