California Digital News
Home SHOPPING How To Use a Packing Slip (+ Free Packing Slip Template) (2024)

How To Use a Packing Slip (+ Free Packing Slip Template) (2024)

by California Digital News

Fast and effective shipping is essential for an ecommerce store. One easy way to improve the packing process and enhance customer service is to simply add a packing slip to each order.

A packing slip takes just a few minutes to create, but it can save you time and effort by ensuring proper delivery of your products. Learn more about when to include a packing slip, and download Shopify’s free packing slip template to get started.

What is a packing slip?

A packing slip is a document containing details about the items included in a package. Packing slips are useful for both the seller and the customer. A packing slip helps the customer quickly identify the items included in their order and streamlines the shipping process for the seller.

A packing slip has two main functions. It serves as a checklist for the person packing the order, allowing them to review the packing slip to ensure they included everything he customer ordered. After the order has been delivered, the customer can use the packing slip to check for missing items and to help with returns or exchanges.

What is a digital packing slip?

Some businesses opt for a digital packing slip to reduce paper waste. A digital packing slip contains the same information as a print packing slip but is sent via email or link.

Britt Martin, the head of partnerships at the sustainable packaging company Arka, says a digital packing slip “not only minimizes waste but also enhances the customer’s ability to access and manage their transaction records.” Sending a digital packing slip ensures you have an easily searchable backlog of all shipped orders and their contents.

What is the difference between a packing slip and a shipping label?

Although both help streamline ​​shipping processes, there are a few key differences between packing slips and shipping labels.

For one thing, a packing slip goes inside a package, while the shipping label goes on the outside. While packing slips help sellers and customers, shipping labels are mostly for the benefit of shipping carriers, who use them to transport packages from one place to another.

Some of the information on a packing slip is the same as what you’ll find on a shipping label, such as the shipping and delivery addresses. But packing slips also contain information about the package’s contents, which you won’t typically find on a shipping label.

Shipping labels also usually have a bar code that allows the shipping carrier to quickly get information about the package.

Is a packing slip a receipt?

A packing slip is different from a receipt but contains some of the same information. A receipt is a legal document confirming that the customer has received goods or services in exchange for payment.

A packing slip does not confirm that the customer has received their package, since the seller creates the packing slip before shipping.

Who sends a packing slip?

Ecommerce businesses that sell physical goods often send packing slips as part of their fulfillment process. Businesses with high return rates—such as ecommerce fashion retailers—and those with large wholesale orders—are more likely to send packing slips.

Businesses that sell goods from multiple warehouses or that have multiple parties involved in order fulfillment are more likely to send packing slips than businesses that do everything in-house. However, any ecommerce business can benefit from using packing slips for shipping and fulfillment.

Not all packages need a packing slip. You only need to use a packing slip if it makes the shipping and returns process easier for you and your customers. There are a few times when a packing slip is particularly helpful, such as when multiple items in an order are shipped separately.

Benefits of using a packing slip

If most packages do not require a packing slip, why use one? There are a few clear advantages:

Reduce packing errors

The main reason ecommerce businesses use packing slips is to reduce packing and shipping errors. A print packing slip serves as a checklist when packing an order and can be especially helpful for orders that contain items from different warehouses or are sent in multiple shipments.

If you’re packing multiple orders at once, a packing slip allows you to easily match packages to their shipping labels, since the packing slip includes the customer’s address.

Streamline returns

Packing slips make returns, replacements, and exchanges easier because the customer has all the information they need—including SKU or item numbers—to start a return. Of course, they can check their order confirmation, but print packing slips make things easier for the customer—especially if they receive lots of packages or if they accidentally deleted the order confirmation email.

💡Learn more: How To Write a Return Policy (+ Free Template)

Improve customer service

A packing slip is an extra service you can provide your customers, allowing them to quickly and easily verify they received everything in their order. It’s also an opportunity to add a little something extra, such as custom branding or a quick hand-written thank-you note.

“Even the smallest elements, like packing slips, offer an opportunity to reinforce brand identity,” Britt says.

Ensure safe delivery

A packing slip can come in handy if a shipping label gets damaged. If the carrier can’t read the label, they can open the package and see the customer’s address, the return address, and contact information for both parties.

What to include in a packing slip

Every packing slip should include:

  • The order number and order date
  • An itemized list of everything in the order, along with each item’s quantity, SKU number, UPC number, and/or product number
  • Contact information for the customer, including: customer name, shipping address, billing address, and phone number and/or email address
  • Contact information for the seller, including: your company name, return address, website, phone number, and/or email address
  • Shipping carrier and shipping method

Depending on the order, you may also want to include:

  • A brief product description for each item
  • The location of each item in your warehouse
  • The weight and volume of each package and the total weight of the shipment
  • Number of packages or pallets in the order
  • Instructions for how to return products and what to do if there’s a problem with the order
  • Instructions from the customer, such as requests for gift wrapping or reduced packaging

How do I make my own packing slip?

  1. Choose your template
  2. Customize your template
  3. Fill out your template
  4. Print your packing slip

If you use Shopify, you can create packing slips from the Orders page of your Shopify Admin. If not, no worries—it’s easy to make your own packing slip. Here’s how:

1. Choose your template

The easiest way to create a packing slip is to start with a free packing slip template that already includes all the fields you need. Download the packing slip templates below, so you don’t have to start from scratch. It includes instructions on how to use it, and you can customize it for your own business needs and requirements.

2. Customize your template

Customize your template by adding your logo, your brand colors, your company name, and other information that will stay the same for all orders, such as a return address or a thank-you message. You now have a custom template that you can use to create packing slips for all future orders.

3. Fill out the template

Now that you have your customized template ready to go, you can simply plug in the details for each order, including the order number, shipping address, and list of items. 

4. Print your packing slip

Use the printed packing slip as a checklist when packing the order, and then include it in the package for the customer’s reference.

Packing slip FAQ

Why do you need a packing slip?

A packing slip lets you keep track of everything you put into an order and ensures you send the order to the right place. It also provides a useful reference for the customer.

What is the difference between a packing slip and a purchase order?

A purchase order may look like a packing slip, but they are two different things. A purchase order is a legal document; a packing slip is not. Additionally, packing slips are created by sellers, while purchase orders are created by buyers. A purchase order will also include details about payment method, while a packing slip will not.

What information can be found on a packing slip?

At minimum, a packing slip needs a list of each item in the order, with quantities (to ensure the right items end up in the package) and the customer’s shipping address (so you can match the package to the shipping label).

What is the difference between a packing slip and an invoice?

Invoices go to the person or business that paid for the purchase, while packing slips go to the shipping address (sometimes these are the same). Invoices are typically sent before receiving payment, both to request payment and for the buyer and seller’s financial records. Invoices are more common when selling wholesale or providing services; packing slips can be found in both wholesale and direct-to-consumer packages.

Do you need a packing slip for international shipments?

For international shipments, you’ll need to fill out a customs declaration form, also known as a commercial invoice. The customs form contains much of the same information as the packing slip, so it makes sense to create them at the same time. The difference between a customs form and a packing slip is that the customs form goes on the outside of the package and includes a Harmonized System code.

Source link