What Is a Shipping Label?

A shipping label is a critical document in the logistics chain that's essentially an identifier that contains key information about a package's journey from the sender to the recipient. On it, you'll typically find several elements, including the addresses of the recipient and sender, a tracking barcode, shipping class, and any special handling instructions.

This label does much more than just display addresses. It helps carriers quickly route packages through their network, facilitates tracking updates for both sender and recipient, and ensures that the shipment complies with legal and logistical requirements. Whether you’re sending a small parcel or large freight, the accuracy of information listed directly affects the efficiency, cost, and successful delivery of your packages.

Why Are They Important?

Shipping labels play a crucial role in ensuring that your shipments reach the right destination efficiently and on time. For B2B companies, the stakes are even higher. One that's incorrect can lead to various complications, including delayed deliveries, increased shipping costs, and lost packages. These issues can severely impact your business relationships, causing disruptions in the supply chain and client dissatisfaction.

When a shipping label contains errors, it can result in products being sent to the wrong location, necessitating costly rerouting and handling fees. Moreover, the extra time spent resolving these issues can lead to significant operational inefficiencies. For B2B businesses, for which timeliness and reliability are paramount, such errors can damage your reputation and erode trust with your partners and clients.

Additionally, typos or inaccurate information can cause compliance problems, especially if you're sending items between countries. Mislabeling could result in customs delays or fines, adversely affecting your bottom line. These challenges highlight why it's essential to ensure that your shipping labels are accurate and up-to-date.

Understanding Required Information

Shipping labels are crucial for ensuring that your packages reach their destination efficiently. To help you understand each component, we have broken down the key pieces of information usually found on them:

● Sender Information: This includes the name, address, and contact details of the sender. It helps in identifying the origin of the item and is essential for return logistics.

● Recipient Information: Same as the sender information but for the recipient. This ensures the package is delivered to the correct destination.

● Tracking Number: A unique identifier for the items you ship, often in the form of a barcode, that allows both the sender and the recipient to track the item's progress in real-time.

● Carrier Information: Details about the shipping carrier (e.g., FedEx, UPS, DHL) and the specific service being used. This can influence the speed and cost of delivery.

● Shipping Class: Indicates the level of service chosen, such as standard, express, or overnight delivery.

● Weight and Dimensions: The weight and size of the package, which are critical for calculating shipping costs and ensuring proper handling during transit.

● Barcodes: Typically, multiple barcodes are used, including the tracking number barcode and any carrier-specific codes. These facilitate automated sorting and tracking.

● Routing Number: A code used to streamline the sorting process within the carrier’s network, ensuring the package moves efficiently towards its destination.

● Customs Information: For international shipments, this includes declarations about the contents, value, and other information required for customs clearance.

● Special Instructions: Any additional instructions required for handling the package, such as "Fragile," "This Side Up," or "Perishable."


How to Create Shipping Labels

Creating labels is an essential step in the shipping process, and thankfully, there are multiple methods to get it done. Whether you prefer the manual approach or leveraging software for automation, each method has its own set of benefits and considerations. In the following section, we'll explore the various ways available to you, helping you choose the best option for your business needs.

Go Through a Carrier's Website

Shipping labels can be conveniently created through the websites of various carriers such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS. These platforms provide user-friendly tools that guide you step-by-step through the process. By entering the necessary shipment details directly on their websites, you can generate and print your labels on the spot. This not only saves time but also ensures accuracy and compliance with each carrier's specific requirements.

Download a Template

Templates for shipping labels can be easily found online and are incredibly useful in creating accurate shipping labels. Many of these templates are offered as free resources, making them accessible for businesses of all sizes. These templates are typically compatible with various shipping software and can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business. By downloading a template, you can ensure that all required information is correctly placed, which helps to streamline the shipping process and reduce the risk of errors.

Go Through a Third-Party

Another viable option for business owners looking to manage their shipping labels efficiently is to go through third-party providers. Services like Pirate Ship allow you to purchase them from major carriers, often at discounted rates. Using these platforms, you can save both time and money, as they offer competitive pricing compared to going directly through the carriers. This is particularly beneficial for businesses looking to streamline their fulfillment processes without incurring high costs.

Partner with a 3PL

When you partner with a 3PL like All Points, the responsibility of creating shipping labels is seamlessly transferred to the provider. Essentially, your 3PL partner takes over all aspects of their creation, saving you the hassle and ensuring everything is done correctly. They leverage their expertise and resources to ensure what they're creating is accurate and complaint for your products.

Check All Important Information Is Included

Ensuring all necessary information is included is crucial for several reasons. First, it ensures that the package reaches its intended destination without any delays. Second, it helps avoid additional costs that might arise from incorrect or missing information. Finally, having accurate details aids in both tracking and accountability, enhancing overall efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Double-check that you've included the following information:

● Sender's name and address

● Recipient's name and address

● Weight and dimensions of the package

● Shipping date

● Tracking number

● Carrier and service level

● Any special instructions or handling requirements

● Barcode for scanning

● Customs information (if applicable)

Next Steps

Next, you'll need to print the shipping label and attach it securely to your shipment. If you're partnered with a 3PL that takes care of fulfillment, they'll handle this step for you. Even though creating shipping labels can be straightforward, it's essential to follow shipping label best practices to ensure smooth and efficient deliveries.

You'll get the best results printing using thermal printers. But if you don't have that option, a laser printer will work just fine and will allow you to ship a box from just about anywhere. If you're consider investing in a thermal printer, we say go for it. Most allow you to access the WiFi or Bluetooth and send what you want to print straight from your browser after you create it through your preferred method mentioned above.

Shipping Label Best Practices to Know

Yes, businesses still do make shipping mistakes through shipping labels. However, these errors are easy to avoid if you know what to look for. By following best practices, you can ensure that your shipments are accurate, timely, and cost-effective. Below, we cover the essential best practices.

Double Check the Shipping Information

One common problem that often goes overlooked is inputting information incorrectly. While it's an easy mistake to avoid, failing to do so can lead to significant business issues, such as delayed or undelivered goods. Ensure that you double check all information to maintain smooth operations and avoid any unnecessary complications.

Know When You Need to Provide Extra Information

Some businesses will need to include extra information. This is particularly true for companies shipping fragile or hazardous materials, or those sending their goods internationally. It's important to know these requirements or look them up if you're unsure. Doing so ensures you deliver the best fulfillment experience for your customers.

Get the Weight Right

Ensuring the weight listed on the label matches the actual weight is crucial for several reasons. First, it affects costs. Carriers calculate rates based on weight. If they don't match, it could lead to unexpected fees or delays. This can disrupt your budget and potentially sour relationships with customers expecting prompt deliveries. Second, it impacts delivery times. If the carrier identifies a discrepancy during transit, your package might be held up for inspection, resulting in delays. Ensuring accuracy from the outset avoids these complications and ensures a smoother shipping process. By getting the weight right, you're also complying with carrier regulations, which mitigates the risk of penalties and maintains your professional credibility.

Use Courier Systems to Streamline Labels

Going through courier systems for shipping labels can notably accelerate the shipping process and ensure the accuracy of the information provided. When you generate them directly through the systems of couriers like DHL, FedEx, USPS, and UPS, you benefit from their streamlined and automated processes. Most courier platforms have built-in validation checks, which automatically verify addresses and other necessary details, drastically reducing the chances of human error.

Additionally, these systems often integrate with your existing e-commerce or order management systems, pulling in order data seamlessly and eliminating the need for manual data entry. This integration not only saves time but also enhances accuracy, as the information directly comes from the original source. Furthermore, using courier systems means you are always up-to-date with the latest rates, services, and protocols, allowing you to offer the best options to your customers without the need for constant manual updates.

Partner with a 3PL

Partnering with an expert 3PL like All Points can significantly boost the accuracy of your shipping labels. These third-party logistics providers are seasoned professionals who are well-versed in every step of the fulfillment process, ensuring minimal errors. We'll go more into these details in a minute.

What Happens If the Information Is Wrong?

When the information on a shipping label is incorrect, it can cause a host of problems for your items—and your business. An inaccurate address can lead to significant delays, as the carrier will be unable to deliver the item to its intended recipient. It might end up in a holding facility, awaiting additional information or instructions from you.

Additionally, incorrect information, such as weight or dimensions, can result in unexpected extra charges. Carriers often impose penalties for discrepancies between declared and actual weight of items. These costs can accumulate quickly, impacting your bottom line.

If the courier like USPS doesn't hold your items, they may be returned to you, adding return fees to the list of expenses. Moreover, you might run into compliance issues, potentially resulting in chargebacks and further financial losses.

Ensuring accurate information is crucial to avoid these pitfalls. Partnering with a 3PL like All Points can help you manage and streamline this process, minimizing errors and optimizing your shipping operations.

How All Points Can Help with Your Shipping Labels

Partnering with a 3PL such as All Points can significantly enhance how your business handles shipping labels, ensuring both accuracy and efficiency. By leveraging a 3PL, you tap into a wealth of expertise in logistics and fulfillment processes, which translates to well-organized workflows that prevent fulfillment errors.

Firstly, All Points leverages advanced software that integrates directly with your order management systems, automating the generation of shipping labels as soon as an order is processed. This integration minimizes manual entry errors and saves substantial time, enabling a more streamlined operation. We also use sophisticated verification processes to double-check all shipping details, from addresses to weights. This ensures that every label is accurate and compliant with carrier requirements.

Additionally, we stay updated with the latest shipping regulations and carrier guidelines, ensuring your business remains compliant without the added burden of manual updates and checks. This compliance is crucial for avoiding costly delays and fines. Last but certainly not least, utilizing a 3PL like All Points means you can focus more on your core business activities while enjoying peace of mind that your fulfillment processes are in expert hands, running smoothly and error-free.


Shipping labels are essential for accurate and efficient package delivery. Errors can cause costly delays and damage business relationships. Creating accurate labels can be streamlined through carrier websites, templates, third-party services, or partnering with a 3PL like All Points. This ensures smooth operations and avoids common shipping mistakes.

Learn more about Shipping

get started