Getting items where they need to go when they need to be there is more important than ever. With the increase in online shopping, more packages are moving around than ever before. If you're sending something, whether it's headed to a friend or a customer, you want to make sure it is handled the right way.
Have you ever asked yourself “how do I mail a package?”. In this article, we highlight how to write shipping addresses on boxes or envelope packages and much more to get your items sent the right way.
How to Write the Shipping Address on a Box
Before you can ship packages, you have to know where it is going. This means nailing down your shipping address. You need to know where a person will be able to receive your item so you know how to get it there.
The process doesn't have to be difficult, but it needs to be accurate if you want any hope of having a satisfied recipient.
Different Parts of an Address
It's worth having a bit of a refresher on the parts of an address that you need to write on a shipment. If any part is missing, it could interfere with a shipping company's ability to deliver the package. It pays to understand why each part is necessary.
- This is the person or entity you want to receive your item. In most cases, it's pretty easy to know who the addressee is. Either you have chosen the person that is going to get the item, or you have used the information given during an online order to decide who this is. Their name goes at the top of the recipient's address information. In the instance that you don't have a specific person to send the parcel to (maybe it's a promotional package for a company you want to do business with), this section could be skipped.
Street Number & Street Name
- Below the addressee's name, you need to put the first elements of their address. This is composed of the street number, the street name with its suffix (road, boulevard, avenue, lane, etc), and an apartment or suite number if applicable. These details are what help make sure your item is delivered to the specific address it needs to be.
City & State
- After you write out the address number and street name, you need to list the city or county along with the state that you want the package to go to. These pieces of information are important since many cities in different states have repetitive names. Just imagine how many "Main Avenues" exist across the nation. Specifying the city and state ensures that things head in the right direction and help couriers quickly sort packages.
- On the same line as the city and state, you will also write the zip code. This is the five-digit number that designates a specific postal zone. It represents the state and post office associated with an address. This helps with sorting mail more quickly. Sometimes you will notice four extra numbers added to the ZIP code with a hyphen. The numbers further specify where an address is for more efficient deliveries.
When you look at how to write shipping addresses on box parcels, understand that you need nearly all of this information. You may be able to leave out the recipient's exact name or the extra four numbers of the ZIP code, but everything else has to be there for successful delivery with any shipping service.
Something else you need to consider as you think about mailing a parcel is the return address. On an envelope or a box, you will see this information in the top left corner. It will feature all of the same elements already mentioned, only it will be the sender's information. So if you are doing the shipping, you will write your name, address, and ZIP code in this area.
Sometimes a package can't be delivered. Either something is wrong with the information given about the recipient or someone at the delivery location rejects the package. In these moments, your shipping partner will try to bring the package back to you using the information listed in the return address.
It is not technically required to list a return address on a box or package, but it is encouraged. If there is no return address and the item can't be delivered, it could end up as the property of the delivery company. They may keep it for a certain period, then destroy it if it is never claimed. By adding a valid return address, you can reclaim any items that don't make it to their intended recipient.
Freehand Addressing vs Labels
Many people learned how to address letters and envelopes in school. Even if you need a refresher course, all of the same rules apply when you look at how to address a package box. Just like an envelope, you can write directly onto a box that you plan to send via the United States Postal Service.
In the center of the box, write the recipient's information. In the upper left-hand corner, write your return address information. Leave the upper right-hand corner clear in case any postage needs to be added there.
You can also opt for a shipping label. This can be a good way to address a box with improved clarity and accuracy. Labels can be created from shipping information submitted by online eCommerce customers and information about your company. When you are looking at labels as an alternative to how to write shipping addresses on box parcels for personal packages, you can have a worker at the shipping company enter the information and create a label for you.
Shipping labels often come with the benefit of having barcodes that couriers can scan. This makes sorting and shipping faster and can benefit retailers who are trying to improve shipping times to increase customer satisfaction and retention.
Preparing Your Item
As you learn how to mail parcels, you need to consider how to get your items ready for shipping. It's not as simple as grabbing the item that you want and throwing it into a box and then sending it off. You need to make sure you have the necessary shipping supplies available to aid its journey and arrival at its final destination as intended.
Before you ship a package you need to start by looking at the item and any problems it may be vulnerable to. When you ship something solid like a book, you don't have to worry about fragility or careful handling. Instead, you want to protect the paper from moisture. It makes sense to pack the product in an extra layer of plastic or another water-proof material in case the box gets wet at some point in transit and delivery.
For fragile items, you need to pack items with shock absorption in mind. Chances are your package will be dropped, tossed, or squished at some point in its journey from you to its destination. That means you need to try to safeguard the item inside. Electronics, antiques, and appliances all need this kind of care. Use bubble wrap or foam inserts to protect the item from bumps and collisions.
Your packing should also account for any temperature considerations. A retailer shipping food or cosmetics may want to think about including something to keep the items cool during transit. Warehouses, cargo trains, trucks, and delivery vans can vary wildly in temperature. It's a good idea to protect anything that may be temperature sensitive.
Before you ship anything or even think about how to write a shipping address on a box, you need to make sure that everything you want to send adheres to the rules of the shipping company you plan to use.
These companies need to consider safety, so they may not allow you to send certain volatile items. On the United States Postal Service's list of restricted items, you'll find guns and firearms, liquor, cigarettes and tobacco, knives, and certain liquids and powders. If you need to send any of these items you will have to find an alternative delivery method.
Batteries also require careful consideration. Lithium batteries are used in many common devices but they do pose a combustion hazard. If you ship them or items that include them, you will need to declare to the shipper that the battery is there and deal with potentially slower delivery times. Some couriers will only transport batteries by ground, forcing you to miss out on the speed of air transport.
Securing Your Package
The final part of packing is making sure your package won't open until it's in the possession of the intended recipient. This means securing it properly. You can do this by sealing the box at every weak point.
Start by using heavy-duty tape to seal the seams of the flap of the box. You want to do this for both the top and the bottom of the box. If any of the seams where the box is folded seem weak, you can also reinforce these areas with tape.
Once the box is secure, make sure any labels you affix to the package are well-placed. If the shipping label isn't fully covered in adhesive, it's best to tape down every edge of the label. This will prevent anything from catching the edge of the label and ripping it. A damaged label could slow down transit and delivery as your shippers try to recover lost information.
Determine the Weight
Once all of the items and packaging you plan to send are gathered together, see if you can estimate the weight of the package. The size and heaviness of the item will be factors in how quickly the parcel is shipped and how much it costs you.
Some packages you send may be very lightweight. Imagine if you are a retailer who sends out an order with one shirt and a few hair accessories. There is a good chance that this package will weigh about a pound, if not less.
Lightweight items offer advantages because they may cost less to send than larger packages. They can also fit into smaller spaces and may get loaded onto trucks that are too full for bigger items. Because of this, you may get quicker delivery times for small items.
There can be downsides to small parcels. Some logistics companies may find it inefficient to ship many small parcels. When you pay for each package you mail, a lot of small items can add up. Also, many small packages can create more work as you prepare for shipping. As you consider how to write shipping addresses on box parcels, think about the work it would take to address dozens of small items as opposed to a few big ones.
Shipping Heavy Items
On the opposite end of the spectrum, shipping very heavy items will come with a unique set of challenges and considerations. Most packages that weigh more than 150 pounds or have very large boxes will exceed the standards for small parcel shipping and may require freight shipping instead.
This means the item will most likely be transported via ground methods. That can include freight trains and cargo trailers on trucks. Because of the weight, these items aren't usually loaded onto plains for transport across the country.
Ground transport can mean slower delivery speeds. If you need to send something from one coast to another, you have to rely on vehicles that travel at limited speeds over land, meaning your item can only move at a certain speed. This can interfere with any delivery guarantees you may want to offer, so be sure to communicate that information to customers when they order.
Picking Delivery Speed & Confirmation Types
In the old days of package delivery, senders had very little control over how soon a package arrived at its location. You gave the item to the courier service and trusted that they would do the best they could. In today's world, the sender is much more empowered, with a variety of delivery options available to choose from.
The fastest option you can choose to get a package to someone is same-day delivery. As shipping services fight to be more competitive, more are offering the option to get a parcel to a recipient on the same day. Just figure out how to write a shipping address on box packages and you can get your item delivered in less than 24 hours.
This service is great for keeping customer satisfaction high, but it can bring some drawbacks. Expect to pay well above the average shipping cost for same-day delivery. Shipping companies will need to prioritize your package and move it through the shipping routes very quickly to make the delivery happen. This extra attention will come at a premium.
Same-day delivery also isn't always possible. Some items are too large and heavy to be shipped quickly and many delivery services can only move goods from one part of the nation to another so quickly. This means an item that needs to go from one coast to another may not be eligible for same-day delivery.
An option that is growing in popularity is next-day delivery. This is perfect for items that have sensitive needs when it comes to temperature or environment. A day after you take the item to the shipping company and send it off, the recipient should have it. Some larger retailers with warehouses around the nation have made this a more common option.
When you look at how to mail parcels, this is a nice choice to offer consumers. If you run an eCommerce store, you can create an advantage for yourself by offering next-day delivery for select areas. It may be something your competitors don't do that will set you apart in the eyes of the customers.
Just like same-day delivery, there are limits and costs associated with next-day delivery. It is not always possible to get every package from one location to the next in just a day. Understanding limits on shipping will help you manage expectations.
You can also expect to pay nearly the same premium cost for next-day delivery as you would for same-day. The shipping company has to work harder to get the item where it needs to go on time and charges you. As the sender, you will have to decide whether you will pass this cost to the consumer or just absorb it.
Perhaps one of the most common shipping options, two-day delivery has become very popular in recent years, with giant retailers willing to guarantee delivery within 48 hours. It's easier to pull off than same-day or next-day delivery even with larger items, making it a flexible option that doesn't keep customers waiting for their goods for too long.
Since it has become so popular, it makes sense to offer a two-day delivery option as an eCommerce business owner. It is nearly as standard as learning how to write shipping addresses on box packages. How to pay for expedited shipping is your choice. Because it has become so common, many customers may look for this shipping option for free. However, you can decide to charge a fee or require a minimum purchase to protect your bottom line.
Last but certainly not least is standard shipping. This means you send a package by whatever the most cost-effective delivery method is for your shipping company. Packages could take a few days or more to arrive to the recipient depending on what the item is and where it needs to travel.
While some may see this as the least desirable option, it is a perfectly fine option in most situations. Businesses and customers save money since it is easy for a retailer to offer this as the free shipping option. Often, there is no harm done to the consumer because of the slight wait.
Confirmation & Tracking
When someone is expecting a package, they often want updates about where the package is and when it will get to them. They also like to know when the item is delivered and what kind of condition the parcel is in when it gets to its final location.
You can help in this process by opting for delivery confirmation. The process will vary depending on who you ship with, but all confirmations require the delivery person to notify the company (and you and the recipient) when the package has been left where it was supposed to be. Sometimes this can include requiring a signature from the recipient or picture proof that the delivery was made.
Something else you can do to ease the process of how to mail parcels is add a tracking number. All of the major shippers offer you a chance to get a specific code that corresponds to your package. Every time it is scanned while in transit, you can see its new location. This happens until delivery. You can share the number with the recipient so they can track the item as it moves.
Sending packages can represent a significant cost, especially for businesses that are picking up in sales volume. It takes a lot of money to get items packed, sent, and delivered in a timely fashion. Every successful business owner has to find ways to keep costs in check so they can still turn a profit.
Embrace Flat-Rate Shipping
A great way to regulate the cost of your shipping and deliveries is to look for flat-rate options. Most shippers offer some packaging that will cost the same amount to send regardless of how full the package is or how much it weighs. While this may not save money on lighter packages, it can help on heavier ones that still fit into the flat-rate container.
Much like learning how to write shipping addresses on box packages, it's easy to get the hang of using flat-rate shipping materials. They are often specially marked so you can guarantee you are using the right items to get the price you want for your shipment.
Track Shipping Rates
Just like other costs in the world, shipping rates are known to fluctuate. They ebb and flow depending on demand. It's not surprising that you may find it more expensive to send items at the end of the year when the holidays are in full swing. That's because you have more competition from both corporate and private shipping interests, so rates increase.
If you can, maximize your shipping when rates are low. This will give you immediate savings that you can put in your pocket or reinvest in your business. Make it a point to check the shipping rates often and factor them into your company's overhead.
Get an Independent Shipping Partner
Working with a partner such as FirstMile can also help you balance cost and delivery speed. We navigate global and domestic shipping road bumps so that you don't have to. This includes delivery, shipment pick-ups, and shipping rates. You can see upfront what your shipping will cost you.
Our integrated systems can make the shipping faster for eCommerce businesses by pulling important information from checkout forms to create labels that will get your packages out to the world. It's much faster than learning how to address a package box and much more efficient as well. We also offer help managing the inventory you are selling so your business runs more smoothly with our assistance.
Get Smart About Packaging
Flat-rate packages aren't right for every situation, but you still need to make sure you are using packages wisely. Larger sizes can translate into larger shipping costs, something you probably don't want. Your best bet is to make the most out of each package you choose for each shipment.
A good way to do this is to pack as many items from a single order together in one package. If one set of items is going to one customer, why would you use multiple boxes or parcels to send them? When it makes sense, pack items together to get them shipped for a single cost.
Make an effort to keep any packaging items you use lightweight. You will often be charged for weight, so don't add more heft to a parcel if you don't have to. Look for light but strong foam packing products that will offer protection without a lot of added weight. Bubble packaging is also a good idea since it is just plastic filled with air.
When possible, see if you can downgrade a box package to a padded mailer. This will be lighter, less bulky, and easier to transport, making it a lower-cost shipping option.
Explore Local Delivery or Pickup Options
As you make sales and shipments, keep an eye on where they are coming from. While you learn how to write shipping addresses on box shipments, you may notice trends when it comes to the location of your recipients. If they are near your company's area of operation, local delivery could be an option.
FirstMile can help you work with local delivery teams to get items from your warehouse to customers that are nearby. This allows you to skip some of the hassles of sending items through a large shipping company and paying a ton of money for each package.
For businesses that have a brick-and-mortar store, you could also integrate pickup services. By allowing a local customer to come by your location and pick up the item they purchased online, you can save everyone time and money that can then be invested into improving the delivery experience for customers that are far away.
Combining all of these techniques can help reduce the costs of shipping and delivery, which helps improve your revenue and bottom line.
Learn How to Write the Shipping Address on a Box & Build Your Business
Mastering shipping is an important step for anyone running an eCommerce business as well as for the average person who just likes to send things. By learning how to address a package box, exploring your options for delivery speeds, and finding ways to cut shipping costs, you can get items where they need to go while being efficient.
If you're ready to take your shipping beyond learning how to write shipping addresses on box parcels and do more with your business, Contact Us at FirstMile today and let our team help!