A shipping label is an identification document that provides carriers with all the information they need to deliver a package, from the point of origin to its intended destination. It is attached to the shipping box, usually on the largest and most visible area so it is easily scannable and readable. A carrier can use the shipping label to understand what’s inside a package and access other important shipment details, including:
- Sender name and address, where to return the package if it cannot be delivered.
- Recipient name and address, where to deliver the package.
- Package weight, including the product inside and carton/packaging.
- Shipping class, the type of delivery, i.e., Overnight, Next Day Air, etc.
- Barcode, which carriers can use to track the shipment’s progress.
- Routing number, which tells sorting where to route the package.
- Tracking number, which lets customers track the status of the package.
Businesses fulfilling their own orders must print and use shipping labels to ensure the correct handling of their packages. They can pay for and source labels directly from their carrier’s website or create their own labels using free online software. The latter way also requires them to pay for postage and tracking once they are ready to send the shipment.