As an online business owner it can feel like the internet is awash with different tools, tips and tricks on how to make your first million in a week.

We aren't going to make any promises that we can't keep, but we will share some handy tools to get you on the road to hassle-free shipping.

1. Label Printer

You can save so much on time printing out your shipping labels if you use a reliable printer. A traditional printer or a special label printer can be used to effectively print shipping labels, it all depends on your budget and business needs.

If you run an online shop as a hobby, sending less than 50 packages a month on a tight budget, then save your pennies and invest elsewhere. However, if your e-commerce store receives hundreds of orders a label printer will be a life saver.

2. Protective Packaging Materials

Protective packaging materials are an absolute must if you're shipping fragile objects. Stock up on bubble wrap, packing peanuts, seal-able bags, foam and shredded paper to keep products protected from breakages.

Depending on your delivery carrier/s, they will have their own shipping requirements and advice for fragile, dangerous or irregularly shaped goods. You can usually find these on their website.  

3. Integrated Labels

Integrated labels have several uses for your shipping. Instead of creating a separate shipping label, dispatch note, and invoice, you can combine these all into one with an integrated label.

Not only does this cut down on paper, but it greatly reduces the amount of time spent on your shipping. Integrated labels can also be used to enhance your brand with a personal message for buyers, or as an itemised pick list for your warehouse.

Integrated label example

4. Reporting Software

Stay updated on what you're shipping, how, and where, with a shipping reporting software. For example, the Shiptheory reporting dashboard breaks down order value, shipment volume, delivery service breakdown, and shipping destination analysis.

These metrics can be used to make strategic business decisions for your e-commerce business and shipping. Pinpoint shipping destination hot spots,

5. Handheld Barcode Scanner

For those that manage warehouses and depots, a handheld barcode scanner will help to better organise your picking and packing process.  

A packing list with the products within the order listed can be used in tandem with this. Simply scan the product barcode with the handheld scanner to print the associated shipping label.

If you don't own a barcode scanner, you can transform your mobile device into one with the Shiptheory handheld barcode scanner app. This enables you to scan and print shipping labels on the go.

Shiptheory Handheld Barcode Scanner App 

6. Label materials

Believe it or not, there are several label materials that shipping labels can be printed on. The right shipping label material depends on your method of filling out labels, and the type of packaging it needs to be adhered to.

Shipping label materials include:

• Matte paper labels - sticks to corrugated boxes and plastic, but is not able to write on.

• Gloss paper - more aesthetically pleasing with a scratch-resistant glossy finish

• Fluorescent paper labels - a striking label that stands out from other packages, they are usually writable  

• Removable paper labels - adhesive labels that can be printed or written on

• Vinyl labels - weather-proof sticky plastic labels

• Self-laminating plastic -  very durable plastic labels which are waterproof

7. Delivery Tracking and Notifications

Keep track of the status of your packages in real time and if they have been received by your customer safely with delivery tracking. This is a valuable shipping tool for your e-commerce business because it is important for your customers to know where their packages are.

In a world of so much choice, if a customer has a bad delivery experience they are much less likely to return and shop with your store again.    

8. Shipping Rates Calculator

Reduce shipping and postage costs by using a shipping rates calculator. Shipping rates tools help you to plan your future finances as they create estimate how much it will cost to ship your products.

This is done by entering the dimensions and weights of your products along with the final destination of the package.

9. Shipping Scale

Save money on your shipping by investing in a shipping scale. By using a scale to measure your products, you can avoid unnecessary shipping and postal fees.

This can also save you time weighing individual items at the post office, or needing to deal with delivery hold ups due to issues with inaccurate weights.  

Many postage scales have PC and Mac connectivity with product weights automatically transferred to your computer. Manual and digital scales are available, but digital scales give slightly more accurate weight results.

10. Shipping Software

We'll admit, shipping isn't the most exciting or glamorous part of being an e-commerce business owner. Slash the time spent on your shipping in half by using a shipping software like Shiptheory.

Our online shipping software manages your shipping process and automatically prints your shipping labels once orders are received. See how it works below.

Shiptheory shipping video

Find out more about what our shipping software can do for you.