Shipping Label – Print or not to Print?

Book shipping services

2 years ago8 min read

Shipping labels are hardly going to land on anyone’s list of the most exciting topics to talk about. But these little sticky papers, which are usually full of abstract abbreviations and barcodes, are crucial in ensuring that your parcel actually reaches its intended destination instead of landing in the hands of the wrong recipient or even getting lost en route. So, if you are tempted to hit that back button, think again. Stick with us instead and make sure that the next time you have to send a parcel or even a larger shipment, a humble shipping label will not get you in any trouble. We will tell you everything you need to know about shipping labels, especially when shipping with Eurosender.

What information can be found on a shipping label?

Ok, let’s talk about the basics first. The label is crucial for a successful delivery as it provides vital information for the shipment to be moved from one station to another before finally arriving at the chosen destination. It displays the name and address of the sender as well as of the recipient, shipment details (size, the total weight, the number of pieces etc.), the information on the type of service, the description of the content, tracking number and barcodes that enable the correct handling of the shipment by the courier services. It is important to note that although the information on such labels is mostly the same, each logistics provider uses its own template and thus ensures that its labels are perfectly optimized for a smooth and efficient handling and delivery process.

Of course, in this day and age, the sender can create such labels online and print them anywhere, which is especially practical for small businesses regularly dispatching their products to partners and customers. However, the exact process of creating a label depends entirely on the chosen carrier, which can make the situation a little complicated if one doesn’t know all the details. The good news, however, is that when shipping with Eurosender, the booking procedure is highly streamlined and the same rules apply to all shipments, no matter which of our logistics partners is chosen to carry out the delivery. If you book the shipping service with us, the process will therefore be much simpler. Just follow the instructions below and you can forget about the problems with shipping labels for good.

Do I have to print the parcel label myself?

Ok, let’s get this one out of the way first, shall we? The printing rules for deliveries booked through Eurosender are pretty straightforward. In most cases – and this applies to parcel and freight services alike – the customer does not have to print the label on his/her own. This task falls on the chosen delivery service, which means that the courier that is responsible for the pick-up will bring the shipping label and attach it to your packaging.

However, this does not apply to some countries and types of service. Customers who would like their package to be collected in Spain, Sweden or Poland as well as B2B customers are required to print the labels themselves. If you belong to the second group of our users, the label will be sent to you via e-mail so that you can print it out and attach it to your shipment yourself. There are, however, a few things you have to watch out for when printing and attaching parcel labels on your own. We’ll explain in a sec.

The image shows printing a shipping label

So, I have to print and attach the shipping label myself. Any tips?

We have prepared a number of tips that will help you make sure that your label does not get damaged or lost during transit plus some extra useful bits of advice that might come in handy.

  • Positioning is crucial. It is vital that a shipment label is applied on a visible spot, which ensures that the parcel moves through the courier’s dispatch network as swiftly as possible. Our experts advise that you put it on the side of the shipment box and thus make sure that is it scanned easily.
  • And protection also! Make sure that the label is well protected and can’t be peeled off easily. Cover all four edges of the label with adhesive tape. If you are using transparent tape, consider covering the whole label with it to protect it from water damage, especially as labels printed on an ordinary piece of paper have no extra protection;
  • Remove old or outdated labels. If you are using an old shipping box, make sure you remove any old labels as these could confuse the courier and lead to problems;
  • Clean the surface before attaching the label. If you are sending cargo, make sure your label is attached to a clean spot and well protected from the elements. A self-adhesive clear pouch or window might be a good idea in some cases;
  • A hand-written address for emergency cases. If you want to also write an address directly on the box, you may do so, but bear in mind that additional info can also be confusing. There have been cases when an old address was left on a reused shipment box and, differing from the data on the label, greatly puzzled the delivery crew;
  • Pro tip from our logistics experts: when shipping several boxes at once (as part of one order), you might want to mark them with numbers to make sure that they stay together and that the courier or the recipient know immediately if one of them gets lost. You can use the following system: 1/x, 2/x, 3/x…

Are there any common issues with shipping labels?

Of course one can never totally eliminate the possibility of any issues or human error, but as you are going to see, most problems with shipping labels are either no big deal or easily avoidable with the help of common sense.

  • The tracking number on the label differs from the one provided to you by the courier or parcel broker. This is extremely rare, but it can still happen from time to time. If you ever find yourself in such situation, don’t panic. Just use the tracking number on the label and everything will be fine.
  • You use the tracking number on your label and get no information. Again, no cause for panic. If you print the shipping label at home, the information regarding its status can only be updated after your package has been scanned for the first time. Until that time, the tracking number might even be considered non-existent by the system.
  • You have several packages picked up at the same time and the courier does not attach the right labels to the right packages. This one is serious, but you can easily avoid it. Bear in mind that the customer is always responsible for making sure that the courier driver affixes the right labels to every single one of their packages, especially if they are bound for different destinations. Do this and everything will run smoothly.
  • The information on the shipping label is incorrect. Wrong information on the shipping label is the number one reason for misdelivered or lost shipments. It is for this reason that we can’t stress enough how important it is to always double-check the details on the label and make sure that the information on it is 100% correct. Don’t let the courier leave before this task is completed. Never ever. You’ll thank us later.
  • The courier is at your door but you have no label ready. You won’t believe how common this scenario is. A courier doesn’t have the label and the customer doesn’t have it either. Then, the courier refuses to collect the package and the customer is furious. This happens because the shippers in countries where the customer is tasked with printing the label, fail to do so, mostly due to not checking their emails. To avoid anger and confusion, always check the e-mail when shipping from Spain, Poland or Sweden (or if you are a B2B customer).

OMG, I don’t have a printer! What can I do?

We know that not every shipper is equipped with a printer and ready to print the shipping label at any given time. If you are one of these customers, you can still order our services. Just ask a friend to print the label out for you or save it as a pdf document and print it out somewhere else (library, post office etc.).

Is there anything else that you would like to know when it comes to shipping labels? Write your questions in the comments below or contact our friendly and responsive customer support team to get the quickest and most reliable answers. We will be happy to help you either way!

Last modified:August 12, 2019

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Luka Stular
Luka works as a content creator for Eurosender. His job is to make the complex world of international logistics a little easier to understand.
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