What are Shipping Labels?
When sending parcels or shipments, an important factor to keep in mind is the shipping label. It is an identifying slip that lists down all information related to the product. The reason they are considered so crucial is that they are used for a variety of tasks- tracking, inspection, inventory management, record keeping, and so on. So it comes off as no surprise that all major shipping carriers such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx are looking to provide the most efficient shipping label services while mailing products.
Shipping labels usually contain the origin and destination address, shipping information, weight of the shipment, as well as a unique tracking code. These elements all work together to ensure that your package reaches the correct destination, at the correct time.
If any information on the label is incorrect or missing, the product might go undelivered or the carrier might even refuse to accept it. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance to print correct, clear, and legible labels that assist in the identification and transport of shipments.
Labels also help products reach your customers without hassle or any extra headaches, building trust and boosting your brand. Thus, while they might seem small in the grand scheme of things, shipping labels can be very effective tools when used right. They play a key role in successful deliveries and customer retention.
Now that we have established what shipping labels are and how they are useful for your business, it would serve well to partner with those carriers that manage the labels from start to finish and take the load off your shoulders. Today let us look at one such carrier- UPS.
United Parcel Service
The United Parcel Service (UPS) is a multinational logistics and supply chain management platform, and one of the world’s largest shipping carriers. It provides a multitude of other logistical services including but not limited to shipping, tracking, billing, international trade, and so on.
UPS assists businesses not only in delivering and managing shipments, but also help in creating and issuing shipping labels for each particular order. Let us read on to know how you can use it to create and print labels for your business.
Creating a Shipping Label with UPS
Creating a shipping label using UPS is free of cost, but you might have to pay for additional features such as tracking, insurance, and of course, postage. Make sure that you have an account with UPS. If you don’t, you will need to create one before proceeding. Alternatively, you can send individual shipments as a guest as well.
1) Create a shipment to be delivered via UPS
Once logged in, click on ‘Create A Shipment’ from the Shipping tab on the top of the dashboard.
2) Enter Delivery Details
you will then be asked to put in all the details relating to the delivery, including the point of origin, and destination, that is, the name and address of the sender as well as the recipient.
3) Enter Product Details
Next up, you will have to enter all relevant information related to the product itself, such as weight, volume, and contents of the shipment.
4) Select the Required Delivery Option
You will be provided with a list of available service options to choose from for delivering the shipment, like UPS Ground, Next Day Air, etc. You can choose any one from among them that matches your delivery requirements.
5) Make the Payment
You’re almost done. Now you just need to select your preferred payment method for the shipment and the label, and you’re all set. Your label is available for download.
Printing a Shipping Label with UPS
Once you have your shipping label has been generated, it is now time to print it and use it for postage. Follow the steps listed below for the same:-
- Once you have created a shipment with UPS, go to ‘Manage Shipments’.
- All your shipments and corresponding shipping labels should be listed there.
- From among the listed options, select the shipping labels you want to download
- Once the label is selected, click on the ‘Download’ button.
- Once the shipping label is downloaded on your computer or mobile device, you can print it externally using a home printer.
If you do not have access to a home printer or are facing any difficulties, you can walk into your nearest UPS store and ask for assistance. UPS Store staff are trained to handle a variety of tasks including the creating and printing of shipping labels.
Keep in mind that sometimes certain shipments might mandate a certain kind of label. For example, UPS Air Shipments require a label printed from the shipping system like UPS.com, or a UPS Air Shipping Document that combines your address label, shipping record, and tracking label. Conversely, UPS Ground Shipments require an address label containing the ‘To’ and ‘From’ information both inside and outside the package.
Managing your UPS Shipping Labels
While the above steps are more or less fine for individual shipments, they might get cumbersome when you are handling a large number of deliveries every day. Therefore, many large businesses instead outsource label operations to a logistics platform that handles all such tasks. Others might choose to develop an in-house team for the same. We shall take a look at a few such popular options below:-
1) Using a Thermal Printer
A thermal label printer is a specialised printer that can print documents, labels, and signs for businesses. Such printers are quite useful as they do not require any ink or toner and once purchased, can be used as a dedicated printer for labels, saving costs and time immensely.
2) Using a Logistics Platform
Many businesses use integrated logistics technology platforms to handle the process of generating and printing labels and rid themselves of the headache once and for all. The third-party platform usually takes care of all tasks by integrating with UPS and other carriers. It then sends the relevant information to the business, making sure that the shipments go through successfully.
3) Using a Shipping-Labelling Software
Finally, third-party shipping-labeling applications are also somewhat useful when it comes to creating, managing, and printing shipping labels on a consistent basis. However, you will need to import your orders into the application whenever making any prints or looking up labels.
Today, we took a look at shipping labels and why they are important, and how businesses can use them to retain customers. We focused on one carrier in particular- UPS and learned how to generate as well as print shipping labels using the official UPS website. Finally, we came to know about the alternative methods of managing and printing shipping labels for businesses that handle a large volume of daily shipments and thus need a standardized workflow. Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea of how shipping labels work and how to use them for the very best results.