Packing slips and shipping labels: what’s the difference?

By Oleg Mikhailenko
Published in Solutions
September 19, 2022
3 min read
Packing slips and shipping labels: what’s the difference?

Packing slips and shipping labels: two incredibly important parts of properly packaging your goods. These nifty pieces of paper not only help ensure that your parcel reaches its destination, but also represent an accurate list of everything within the package itself, and also often assists customers in making any necessary returns. But as important as these two pieces of paper are, not everyone knows the difference between them, or how to create labels and slips that do the job for which they were designed in an efficient manner. Read on for our overview on packing slips and shipping labels, and how you can create them like a pro.

What is a packing slip?

The packing slip is the manifest for everything contained in the package. Much like a recipe card, it tells you all the necessary details and ingredients. SKUs, product names, quantities, weights, and dimensions are all included on this piece of paper. This helps you double-check if something is missing, or perhaps if something is hiding in your package that you didn’t order. Last but not least, packing slips often contain a cutout or sticker with the return shipment label on it in case anything ordered doesn’t quite pass muster.

Packing slip templates are fairly easy to create yourself in any word or graph processor, but can also be automated through a number of online or downloadable software packages. Experiment with methods until you come across one that’s best for you, and see how quickly your operations become more and more efficient.

What is a shipping label?

The simple answer is that it’s just instructions on where to send packages. It can be a sticker or slip pasted onto a package in order to make sure it’s routed through to its final destination, but labels can range in sophistication and technological advancement anywhere from custom-made QR codes or barcodes to handwritten shipping labels on box tops. Without fail, though, every example must contain the customer’s name, address, and any barcodes that are necessary to make sure the package isn’t lost in some distribution facility somewhere.

There’s a variety of ways to generate a prepaid shipping label meaning that you have no shortage of options regarding how to get it done. The three major US couriers, that is to say USPS, UPS, and FedEx, have the ability to generate and print shipping label sheets directly from the comfort of your own home. This means the ability to create UPS shipping label stickers, or USPS or FedEx stickers depending on your preference, isn’t dependent on your ability to find the time to go down to the shop itself.

Do you need a specialized shipping label maker?

The question of how to print shipping labels is quite a simple one. All that’s required to create a shipping label is an internet connection, a debit card, and a printer. Simply navigate to the website belonging to your courier partner of choice, follow the on-screen instructions, and print. You can then affix the sticker or paper to the box that needs to be shipped and drop it off. Often couriers offer a small discount if you generate your label online, as that saves time and effort for their workers in the stores. For reference, standard sizes range from 4 x 6 inches to 6 x 3 inches to 4 x 4 inches, meaning it’s wise to select a box large enough to accommodate this size of slip and avoid any complications or glitches in scanning resulting from awkwardly twisting a barcode around a sharp corner. A larger package also allows room for respectable amounts of packing materials, which will shield and protect your goods from bumps and bruises all the way to their final destination.

Do I really need to do all this myself?

If you’re still experiencing package label woes, don’t worry. In this day and age you have little need to make a shipping label yourself. If you have your shop properly integrated with your warehousing and 3PL provider, it’s often the case that your partner can automatically generate and affix the stickers during the picking and packing process, meaning that you have very little need at all to deal with this aspect of the business.

P2Pseller can help with all of that. From warehousing to value-added services to yes, routing and delivery, we can facilitate a relationship with a 3PL provider who will generate and affix labels on your behalf, meaning that you don’t have to worry about shipping your goods around to different facilities or having to take valuable time out of your day to worry about delivery instructions. We’d love to show you what we’re capable of. Register a free account with us today and browse our offerings, totally commitment free, from our convenient website or mobile app.

In conclusion

Dealing with the technical parts of running an ecommerce business can feel boring or overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the game. Thankfully, due to modern technology and the impending ecommerce revolution, most of these parts you’re unexcited about? You don’t have to handle them yourself any longer. This frees up more time for you to develop your marketing strategies, source cool new products, and engage with your customers on a more personal level. These are the reasons why you got into business in the first place, so why waste time on the boring bits when you don’t have to? P2Pseller is proud to have your back.


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The three warehouse solutions any seller needs to know

Oleg Mikhailenko

Co-Founder, CEO P2Pseller

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