If you want to buy shipping labels online, one of the biggest obstacles is often dealing with the printer. Not everyone has a printer, but almost everyone has access to a computer or smartphone, so a lot of people want to access the convenience of purchasing labels online and avoiding long queues at their post office.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get around not owning a printer without having to buy your labels in person. One option is to have the courier bring the labels when your package is collected, and another is to get a QR code that will allow you to print the labels when you go to a physical drop off location.
Why Do I Need A Printer?
If you want to buy a shipping label online and you do not have a printer, you have an obvious problem: how do you transfer the label from your computer or phone screen and get a physical one to stick onto your package?
Normally, you would do this by selecting the “print shipping label” option (or something similar, depending on which courier’s website you are using) and then connecting your computer to the printer and hitting “print.”
With no printer, you have no way of transferring the shipping information onto your package. Some people do write labels out by hand, but this will not allow you to put the paid-for shipping label on your package, so it’s not a viable option for many people sending out mail.
What Can I Do If I Don’t Have A Printer?
You might feel stuck if you don’t have a printer, but there are a few solutions to this issue. You will need to select the “I don’t have a printer” option on the courier’s website to let them know you need a different solution and that you won’t be printing the label from home.
You should then be able to choose which option you want to use instead, but what choices you have will vary according to the company. If you don’t want to print the label yourself, you may need to send your package via UPS.
This company will allow you to book a collection without a label, and instead, the driver will bring the shipping documents to you. You will need to pay over the phone or put your payment information on the documents brought to cover the costs for this service, but this is one of the most convenient ways to get your package shipped without a printer.
For most other companies, you will need to drop the package off in person so that you can get the label printed by one of the courier’s dedicated machines. They don’t offer the collection option at present, unless you are able to print the label yourself from home.
How Does The QR Code Option Work?
If you choose to drop off the package and print the label using the courier’s machine, you will have to take the package to a local post office (or other drop off location) yourself. There, you should be able to access a machine that will allow you to print your label without having to wait for an employee to help.
In general, if you have chosen not to print your own label at home, you will be given a QR code on your phone, and you can take this to the location. The machine will have the equipment to scan it with, and this should bring up your shipping label and the address information.
There will then be an option to print the label so that you can attach it to the package.
In some situations, you may have to talk to an employee to get your label printed, rather than using a machine. It is worth checking that your local post office is familiar with this service before you rely on it, but most are, and it should be a straightforward procedure. Most couriers will have a list of locations with machines to make this task easier.
Of course, the downside to this is that if you have any problems, you may have to wait in line and spend time dealing with a member of staff. If you have your own printer, you can just drop packages off directly. However, this method is still generally preferable to purchasing shipping labels in the post office.
What Other Options Do I Have?
In some cases, you might find that neither of these options is viable for you. If you don’t have a cell phone and you do not want the UPS mail carrier to collect your package, what can you do? You might still want to buy labels online, as this is often cheaper, but it isn’t immediately obvious how to solve this challenge.
You might be able to contact your local post office and ask whether you can bring in a flash drive with the shipping label for them to print. Many post offices do offer printing services, and this could prove the solution. Even if you are shipping with another courier, you may be able to print labels at your local post office.
You should always check whether this service is offered, especially if you need to mail something out urgently. Not all post offices will have the capacity to print documents for you, so make sure it’s feasible.
What Is A Label Printer?
If you do a lot of shipping and the current options we have discussed are not very convenient for you, you might wish to purchase a label printer. These are printers that have been designed specifically for creating labels.
Instead of using ink, they use thermal printing technology. You need special paper to use them, and there are many different kinds. They are ideal if you only need to create shipping labels (or a few other similar products), but they will not work for printing documents on plain paper.
A label printer is superior to a standard printer if you do only want to print labels, however. This is because it can print straight onto sticky-backed paper, meaning that you can just peel off the label and stick it onto your package.
This eliminates the need for scissors and glue/tape, making the whole process a lot quicker. If you sell products online, these are vastly preferable to writing labels by hand, and they have the added benefit of making your business look more professional at the same time.
What Should I Do If My Printer Has Stopped Working After Buying A Shipping Label?
If you have already purchased a shipping label and you selected one of the options that involves printing the label yourself, you might panic if your printer suddenly goes down. Nobody likes to pay for shipping twice, but you might be wondering what else you can do if you have said that you will print a label yourself.
Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to solve. You simply need to amend your original booking. Log in to the site and locate your shipment details, but don’t change any of the information about recipient, return address, etc.
All you need to alter is the information about printing the label. If you have opted for “Collection” or “Drop off,” you will need to instead select “no printer.”
You should note that it often costs a little more to have a label printed for you (although not always; this will depend on the service provider and the package type). This difference will need to be paid before your package can be sent.
You may also be charged a small fee for making the change, although again, this will depend on the courier. Make sure that all fees and extra charges are paid, or your package cannot be sent.
Do I Have To Buy Labels Online?
If it is too complicated for you, there is no obligation to purchase your labels online.
The lack of a printer should not deter you too much, but it is true that buying online can be a tricky process to get used to, and some people prefer to simply take their packages to the post office and get them processed there. The employees can effectively cost and print your labels for you.
However, there are some significant advantages to buying your labels online. The first of these is that it is much faster to print your labels than to have to handwrite the address on everything that you send.
This saves a lot of time, especially if you are working in e-commerce, and it potentially makes your business more profitable.
Secondly, you often get access to cheaper mailing rates when you buy your shipping labels online. You are likely to be given a discount because the company saves money if you do not go and stand in a queue, requiring assistance from a member of staff. Overall, the company will need fewer staff members, and this means they charge reduced rates.
Obviously, for e-commerce sellers on low margins, shaving a few cents off every package sent is enormously attractive, and many people are moving in this direction to access the cost savings. You are not obliged to do so, but it may make your business more profitable. Even if you aren’t a commercial seller, cheaper shipping costs are likely to be appealing.
Can I Print Shipping Labels From Another Printer?
For those who don’t own a printer but know someone who does, this may be a viable option. You might find that a local business offers printing for low costs, and many libraries also have printers that cost very little to use. The reduced price for buying labels online will often make this cost a worthwhile one.
You might also have a friend or relative who can print the labels for you in a pinch. If so, you can print by connecting your device to their printer, or putting the label on a flash drive and taking this to them to print from their device.
Do I Have To Use Sticky-Backed Paper?
When it comes to actually attaching the label, you might be feeling concerned if you have used a normal inkjet printer and normal paper – because the paper will not be sticky. How do you attach it to the package?
The answer is that you can use glue, tape, or both, but you should do so with some care. If you are going to glue the label on, you need to use a glue that is not too wet, or it may make the ink smudge. If your barcode smears, the courier’s machines won’t be able to scan it.
If you are going to use tape instead, make sure you are careful about the barcode. If the tape gets wrinkled on top of it, this could again cause scanning problems. Either leave the barcode uncovered or – preferably – take the time to smooth the tape down over it and avoid any wrinkling if possible.
Covering it up protects it in the event that your package gets wet, and as inkjet ink is not waterproof, this is the best option.
If your barcode does become unreadable, your package is likely to be delayed because it will require human intervention. It should in theory still reach its intended destination, but it is better to ensure that the barcode remains intact if you can.
Whether you’re sending or receiving packages, you probably already know that this can be a total headache. Trying to get labels printed out, trying to get packages picked up, and trying to make sure you are at home to receive a parcel are all frustrating challenges that feel like they should be much more straightforward in today’s world.
Fortunately, however, you can reduce the complexity in a couple of areas, and one great option is to take out a Virtual Mailbox with US Global Mail. This allows you to receive packages wherever you are.
Couple this with a good label printer and online shipping purchases, and you’ll make both sending and receiving mail a breeze.