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What Is a Shipping Label?

March 11, 2020 Published by

If you’re not in ecommerce, you probably haven’t thought much about shipping labels and what the information they contain actually means. But chances are you shop online and receive packages on a regular basis. You’ve likely noticed your packages all contain a 4” x 6” shipping label that includes basic information, such as your name and address and who and where your package was shipped from. But what about all the other stuff, like the barcodes? Let’s deconstruct a standard shipping label.

What Is a Shipping Label?

First, let’s talk size. While labels can come in sizes 4″ x 5″, 4″ x 6″, or 4″ x 8,” the one you see most often is 4” x 6.” This is the standard size used in domestic and international shipping. Not only is it big enough to read and scan, but it fits most packages. It’s also what major carriers like USPS, FedEx and UPS use.

Shipping labels may be small, but the information they contain play a big role in the supply chain. They help people—and machines—identify each package’s origin and eventual destination.

Here is an example of a standard UPS shipping label and what the different fields mean:

While major carriers have the same elements listed above, each has their own style. USPS, for example, puts their billing options and smart label in the upper right hand corner and the return and destination address in the center.

A shipping label’s information is what gets packages where they need to be at the right time. And customer satisfaction always starts with a good shipping strategy. If you’re in ecommerce and are looking to reduce your shipping costs, check out our proven tactics for ways to improve efficiency and eliminate unnecessary expenses.