How to label a package for shipping (with examples)

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Your package’s first impression can be as crucial as the product inside.

That’s why knowing how to label a package is part art, part science. When it comes to online selling, a shipping label does more than simply direct a parcel from point A to point B, it’s the silent spokesperson of your brand, efficiency, and attention to detail.

Packaging and labels are the knights in shining armor of logistics, ensuring your products reach their new homes while also carrying your brand’s reputation with them. Whether it’s crafting custom labels that echo your brand’s voice or mastering the logistical dance of packaging and labeling, this guide has got you covered.

The basics of shipping labels

Trust us when we say that a shipping label is more than just a sticker on a box.

It’s a critical piece of the ecommerce puzzle, ensuring your package navigates the vast logistics network to reach its final destination. A shipping label serves as the official transport document for your parcel, providing all necessary details for carriers to process and deliver it efficiently.

What is a shipping label?

It might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people in the ecommerce business don’t know what a shipping label entails so, let’s look at the basics. A shipping label encapsulates all the vital information used throughout the shipping and delivery process. 

It ensures that your package takes the correct path from your hands to your customer’s doorstep, avoiding the limbo of lost parcels. 

A well-prepared shipping label is the linchpin of a seamless delivery experience, crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and trust in your brand.

Essential information to include on a shipping label

Crafting the perfect shipping label requires a keen eye for detail and an understanding of the essential elements that must be included:

  • Sender and recipient information: Clearly state the “from” and “to” details, including names, addresses, and contact numbers, to ensure carriers and customers know the origin and intended destination of the package.
  • Package weight and dimensions: This information helps to determine the shipping cost and ensures you select the appropriate handling required during transit. This means your package is treated with the care it deserves, minimizing the risk of damage.
  • Tracking number and barcode: The lifeline for both sellers and buyers, these components allow for real-time tracking of the package’s journey. Note that a tracking number reassures your customer, providing transparency and building confidence in your shipping process.
  • Shipping class and service: Specifying the shipping class and service sets the delivery speed and handling expectations for the recipient. Whether it’s express overnight shipping or a more economical option, this type of information helps the carrier to prioritize your package.

Remember that each label is a testament to your brand’s reliability and efficiency, making it a pivotal aspect of your ecommerce strategy.

Common labeling mistakes and how to avoid them

Labeling your packages might seem straightforward, but a few slip-ups can lead to delivery delays or, worse, lost parcels. 

Illegible handwriting or print: When carriers can’t decipher your writing or a smudged printout, your package could end up anywhere but its intended destination. Always ensure your labels are printed clearly and legibly.

Incorrect or outdated recipient information: A typo in an address or using outdated information can send your package on an unexpected detour. Double-check addresses for accuracy and keep your customer database up to date.

Omitting essential details: Skipping over necessary information like the tracking number, weight, or shipping class can cause processing delays – make sure every field on your shipping label is filled in correctly.

These frequent packaging errors are all too common, but there are some simple solutions and best practices that you can put in place to avoid them.

  • Use a quality printer: A good printer is worth its weight in gold for ensuring every label is clear and durable through the shipping process.
  • Verify customer information: Implement a system for customers to confirm their shipping details during the purchase process, reducing the risk of errors.
  • Follow carrier guidelines: Each carrier has its own set of labeling rules. Familiarize yourself with them to ensure your packages meet the required standards every time.

A step-by-step guide to labeling your package

Labeling might be the final touch before your package embarks on its journey to the customer, but its importance can’t be overstated. A well-labeled package is prepared for its destination, easily identifiable, and ready to navigate the complex logistics network with ease. 

Let’s go through each step of the labeling process, from preparing your package for its voyage to ensuring its label is clear, secure, and informative.

Step 1: Prepare your package for labeling

Before anything else, ensure your package is primed and ready for labeling. 

This means securing your items inside the packaging so they’re snug and safe. Use bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or crumpled paper to protect items from bumps and jostles during transit.

Choosing the right size and type of packaging is crucial. A box too large can lead to items moving during shipping, while one too small might burst under pressure. Opt for a size that fits your item comfortably with enough room for protective padding. 

Corrugated boxes are a go-to for their durability and versatility here, perfect for most shipping needs.

Step 2: Create a shipping label

Now, it’s time to create your shipping label. 

This can be done through various online tools, carrier websites, or even in-store services if you’re sending through a physical post office or shipping center. When creating a label, you’ll need to input essential details such as sender and recipient information, package weight, dimensions, and shipping service type. 

All of this information ensures your package is routed correctly and priced accurately.

You can generate shipping labels directly within the Linnworks platform. This integration simplifies the process, allowing you to manage your shipments across multiple carriers without navigating away from your order management dashboard.

Step 3: Print and attach the label

Once your label is created, it’s time to print and attach it to your package. 

While regular paper can work in a pinch, label paper is recommended for its durability and ease of use – just peel and stick. Check that your printer has enough ink and that the printout is clear and smudge-free, as a barcode that can’t be scanned could completely derail your delivery.

When attaching the label, place it on the largest flat surface of the package for easy visibility. Avoid seams or corners where the label might get damaged or peeled off. For extra security, you can cover the label with clear packing tape, ensuring it’s waterproof and tamper-proof, but do not cover the barcode as this can interfere with scanning.

With Linnworks, printing your shipping labels is a breeze. The platform integrates with your printers so you can print labels for all your orders in bulk, ensuring each package is ready to go with minimal fuss. This saves time and reduces the chance of errors, making your shipping process as efficient as possible.

With the right preparation, tools like Linnworks and a bit of know-how, labeling can become a seamless part of your shipping process, allowing you to focus on critical business tasks.

Examples of package labels

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of shipping labels.

Example 1: Domestic shipping label

  1. Sender information: This section includes the name and address of the sender. It’s essential for return processes and the carrier’s records in case the package gets lost on its journey.
  2. Recipient information: Displays the name and address of the package recipient. This is the most important part of the label and provides all the details the carrier needs to guide the package to its final destination.
  3. Package weight and dimensions: Crucial for calculating shipping costs and determining the method of transport, especially for logistics planning.
  4. Tracking number and barcode: The barcode allows both the sender and recipient to track the package’s progress throughout its journey. The tracking number is also a key tool to help ensure a positive customer experience.
  5. Shipping class and service: Specifies the delivery service type, such as same day, overnight, or standard, which impacts the delivery timeline and handling.

Example 2: International shipping label

  1. Customs declaration form: This document usually sits in a small waterproof docket attached to the front of the parcel. It lists the contents of the package and their declared value and currency, this is all information required for customs clearance in the destination country, ensuring that all necessary duties and taxes are assessed and paid based on the contents’ value and type.
  2. Harmonized System (HS) Code: The HS code is a standardized numerical method of classifying traded products. It’s crucial for international shipments as it helps customs authorities identify the type of product being shipped and apply the correct regulations and tariffs based on the country in which the package will be delivered.
  3. Country of origin: This one is pretty much as it says on the tin, it indicates the country where the goods were produced or manufactured. This information can affect tariff rates and eligibility for import depending on trade agreements between the origin and destination countries.

Tips for error-free labeling

When it comes to deciphering the world of packages and labels, it can sometimes feel like defusing a bomb – one wrong move and it could all blow up in delays and customer complaints. But with a few pro tips, you can ensure each package reaches its destination as intended, minus the drama.

Double-check information before printing

This might sound like common sense, but it’s a step that’s often overlooked in the day-to-day rush of running a business. 

Take a moment to review each label for typos, incorrect addresses, or outdated information. It’s the equivalent of spell checking an important email – essential and always worth the extra minute.

Ensure the visibility and durability of the label

A label needs to withstand a lot more than just a glance. 

From rain to rough handling, ensure you print your labels on a durable material with high-quality ink – consider waterproof labels for added resilience. The goal is for your label to arrive as legible as when it was first printed, no matter how long the journey.

What to do if you make a mistake

Mistakes happen, but the response can make all the difference. 

If you catch an error post-dispatch, contact the carrier immediately with the correct details. Correcting the label directly can save the shipment if the package is still within reach. For future prevention, create a checklist or automate parts of the labeling process where possible to prevent errors. 

Advanced labeling tips

Here are a few ways to leverage cutting-edge and sustainable practices in your labeling to enhance the customer experience and streamline your operations…

Use QR codes and smart labels

Integrating QR codes or smart labels brings your packaging into the digital age. 

These technologies enable quick access to detailed product information, tracking updates, and even reordering capabilities directly from the label. 

To implement, choose a labeling software that supports QR or NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, and ensure each label is programmed with the specific information you want to share, enhancing the interactivity of your package delivery.

Embrace eco-friendly labeling options

Consumers want sustainable shipping options more than ever – reports show that 91% of consumers seek eco-friendly shipping options at checkout. So, choosing sustainable labeling materials is a smart move. 

Opt for labels made from recycled paper, bamboo, or biodegradable materials to minimize any environmental impact. However, ensure these sustainable labels are also durable and legible. Use high-quality, eco-friendly inks and consider protective overcoats that don’t compromise the recyclability of the label. 

The sustainability approach not only supports the planet but also resonates positively with eco-conscious consumers, potentially boosting brand loyalty and appeal.

Upgrade your labeling game with Linnworks

Adept packaging and labeling are far more than simple logistical necessities, they’re your brand’s first physical handshake with customers. 

From choosing the right materials to embracing modern technologies and prioritizing sustainability, each detail in your labeling process matters. 

Ready to streamline your operations, enhance your customer’s experience, and ensure your packages are always on point? Discover how Linnworks can elevate your shipping strategy with powerful automation tools and multi-channel integration. 

Don’t just ship – ship smart. 

Book a demo with Linnworks today and transform how you do business.

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Claire Rhodes


Enthusiastic tech translator. Ecommerce storyteller. Claire has worked in the B2B SaaS and tech space for the last 6+ years. With a love for words, grammar and tech, she prides herself on her product know-how and the inner workings of the complex solutions her clients offer. When not crafting B2B tech content, Claire spends her time traveling around the world, freediving, scuba diving, and making friends with the local critters.