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Best Way to Print Shipping Labels: How to Choose

printing shipping labels accurately and conveniently is critical

  • Written by Alex Dolce
  • Published on December 14, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes

Introduction

In today’s fast-paced eCommerce and online business, efficient shipping is paramount. A crucial aspect of this process is printing shipping labels accurately and conveniently. With various methods and tools available, choosing the best way to print shipping labels can significantly impact your shipping operations. This comprehensive guide will explore the options available and help you decide how to print shipping labels for your business.

1. Online Shipping Platforms:

One of the most accessible ways to print shipping labels is through online shipping platforms provided by carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Here’s how it works:

Advantages:

   – Convenient and user-friendly.

   – Accessible from any device with an internet connection.

   – Allows inputting shipment details, selecting shipping options, and paying for postage online.

Considerations:

   – Requires access to the internet and a printer.

   – Ideal for occasional shippers and small businesses.

2. Shipping Software and Apps:

Shipping software and mobile apps offer a more streamlined approach to label printing. Popular solutions like eHub Ship are designed to simplify the shipping process:

Advantages:

   – Centralized platform for creating and printing labels for multiple carriers.

   – Features like batch printing, order management, and address validation.

   – Suitable for businesses with moderate to high shipping volumes.

Considerations:

   – May involve subscription fees or per-label charges.

   – Ideal for businesses with eCommerce operations.

3. Integrated eCommerce Platforms:

Many eCommerce platforms integrate seamlessly with shipping carriers if you run an online store. This integration allows you to generate shipping labels directly from your eCommerce dashboard:

Advantages:

   – Simplifies order fulfillment by streamlining label creation.

   – Ideal for businesses with eCommerce operations.

   – Reduces manual data entry.

Considerations:

   – Integration setup may require additional configuration.

   – Suited for businesses with eCommerce operations.

4. Thermal Label Printers:

Thermal label printers, such as those from DYMO and Zebra, are specifically designed for printing shipping labels. Here’s why they’re a popular choice:

Advantages:

   – Produce high-quality, durable labels.

   – Eliminate the need for ink or toner.

   – Ideal for businesses with consistent shipping needs.

Considerations:

   – Upfront investment required for the printer.

   – Need to purchase compatible label stock.

A standard printer is shown, but the printer is running out of ink, demonstrating that standard printers are not usually the best option.

5. Standard Printers and Labels:

Standard inkjet or laser printers can suffice for those on a budget or with occasional shipping needs. You can print shipping labels on adhesive label sheets:

Advantages:

   – Cost-effective solution.

   – Standard printers are widely available.

Considerations:

   – Labels may not be as durable as those from thermal printers.

   – Requires purchase of label sheets.

6. Print at a Retail Location:

Some shipping carriers offer the option to bring your package to a retail location, where they’ll print and attach the shipping label for you:

Advantages:

   – Convenient for those without access to a printer.

   – Assistance with label generation and application.

Considerations:

   – Can be time-consuming, especially during peak shipping seasons.

   – Limited to the carrier’s operating hours and locations.

7. Outsource Printing:

Outsourcing label printing to third-party services that specialize in fulfillment and label generation is another option:

Advantages:

   – Hands-off approach to label printing.

   – Suitable for businesses that prefer to delegate shipping tasks.

Considerations:

   – Costlier than other methods.

   – May not suit businesses needing complete control over the shipping process.

Choosing the Best Method for Your Business

Now that we’ve explored the various methods for printing shipping labels, how do you choose the best one for your business? Consider the following factors:

1. Shipping Volume: Evaluate your shipping volume. For small businesses and occasional shippers, online shipping platforms or standard printers may suffice. However, larger businesses benefit from shipping software or thermal label printers to streamline operations.

2. Budget: Consider your budget. While thermal label printers offer efficiency, they require an upfront investment. Standard printers and label sheets are more budget-friendly but may be less convenient for high volumes.

3. Integration: If you run an online store, consider integrated eCommerce platforms or shipping software that seamlessly connects with your eCommerce operations.

4. Convenience: Think about convenience. If you prefer a hands-off approach, outsourcing label printing or using retail locations may be suitable.

5. Label Durability: Assess label durability. If your packages face challenging conditions, like exposure to moisture or extreme temperatures, thermal labels are a better choice.

Conclusion

The best way to print shipping labels depends on your unique business needs and circumstances. Whether you’re a small online seller, a growing eCommerce business, or an established enterprise, there’s a printing method that suits your requirements. Consider factors like shipping volume, budget, convenience, label durability, and integration when choosing. Selecting the most suitable method will streamline your shipping operations and ensure your packages reach their destinations efficiently and professionally.

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