What You Need on a Shipping Label from addresses to inventory control

The question about what to put on a shipping label may seem rudimentary to some folks, but it’s a serious question that requires a serious answer. We can start with the basics, and get more complicated from there…

  1. First, print or type the delivery address parallel to the longest side of the package;
  2. The recipient’s name goes on the first line;
  3. The business name goes on the second line, if applicable;
  4. The street address goes on the third line with apartment or suite numbers, if space allows. If your package is too small to fit the suite number next to the street address, drop the information to the next line;
  5. Add the city, state and ZIP code on the last line. Always use the two-letter state abbreviations when addressing mail, because it saves on space, and it’s easier to decipher. To find the correct spelling of a city name or to find a state abbreviation or a ZIP Code, visit www.usps.com or call 1·800·ASK·USPS. Using a thermal label with barcodethe correct ZIP Code helps direct your mail more efficiently and accurately, and if you can find and use the ZIP+4, those additional four numbers may shave some time off your mailing.
  6. Finally, you can then print or type your address in the upper left corner on the same side of the package as the delivery address.

Smaller businesses or businesses just starting out might want to save time and money by hand-writing their labels. If that’s the case, then print clearly with a waterproof marker or pen and try to write large enough to see the address from an arm’s length away. Don’t use any commas or periods.

If you’re handwriting your labels, that may be fine if you’re only shipping out one package per day. Once you build your business, you don’t want to spend all your time on handwritten labels. Printing shipping labels makes more sense when growing a business, and especially for enterprise.


Label Software

Be aware that free software tools used for printing shipping labels can sometimes limit what you can put on the label. For small businesses, the free software option might be helpful, since your shipping may be straight forward and include only the information listed above. Free software, however, may not allow you to print a logo, change the return address, or add reference fields or extra space above the shipping address for other labels.

Even as a small business, you might want to opt for a premium software that offers that ability for you to customize your labels. Some of the options you might need include:

  1. Adding barcodes, which could allow for easy scanning and receiving by the recipient.
  2. Some customers might demand that order and item-level details are included on the label of any package. The ability to conform to this standard is necessary for enterprise business, and easy for small businesses to add to their offerings.
  3. The ability to add customized fields for shipping labels can help streamline warehouse management on both the shipping and receiving ends of the package. Using a field such as “Batch ID” can allow staff to know which products are in an order by referring to the ID.
  4. The ability to change the return address is beneficial for companies that ship on behalf of a client. The software program you might choose is one that allows you to appear that your sending from your client’s business rather than from your company.
  5. The ability to add a logo is imperative for all businesses for branding. If you add a logo, the recipient knows immediately who sent that shipment.
  6. The ability to add custom text messages is great, too. You can remark about a special occasion, a holiday, or a season on the label.

Determining your needs and requirements are a necessary part of choosing a software for labeling. Be sure to look to your future needs so you aren’t searching for new software every year.

Approaching Shipping Services

If you’re using a shipping service such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS, those companies allow customers to stylize their shipping labels and prepay postage as well. USPS Click ‘N Ship can help create a streamlined shipping label by allowing for additional services such as insurance and delivery confirmation.

If you sell through Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, you are somewhat limited, but they are superb in providing the basics for what you need to ship your merchandise from you containment center to your customer. Using their postal and shipping services can save you time and money, and they’re efficient. You can always add other labels for more information if necessary.

But, where do you add those labels? And, will the placement of your shipping label save you money? Find out in the next article, where we talk about where to add your labels to packages for the best results!