In 2023, over 20% of retail purchases took place online. From explosive growth during the pandemic and post pandemic expansion rates of nearly 10%, ecommerce sales exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. This ongoing growth highlights the crucial role shipping plays in the success of ecommerce businesses. Customer satisfaction and repeat orders depend upon accurate, consistent and reliable deliveries. And regardless of the amount of packages you ship each day, labels and label printers are two essential parts of the process. They are indispensable tools that help optimize shipping operations and enhance customer relationships. But choosing the best label printers for shipping label applications depends upon a variety of factors. Use these tips to help guide your decision. 

The Role of Labeling in E-commerce Success

Labels play a pivotal role in the accurate shipping and proper handling of your product. When the shipping process lacks proper execution, returns, lost shipments and dissatisfied customers are often the result. 

In addition to guiding your package to its end destination, shipping labels are an important point of contact between you and the customer. For example, your logo and other brand messaging help differentiate you from competitors. Plus, the use of linerless or other eco-friendly label materials and inks, which reduce waste and emissions, can influence how customers perceive your brand. 

Types of Label Printers for Ecommerce Businesses

There are three common types of printers that ecommerce companies use for shipping applications. 

Direct Thermal Printer

A direct thermal printer is ideal for applications that don’t need to last for an extended time frame, including shipping labels, and can print single or batches of labels without waste. There are numerous models that fit the budgets and shipping demands of both small and large organizations. 

Laser Printer

Laser printers are versatile and fast. They allow you to print on the full label sheet or integrated label and print duplex allowing you to maximize print time. Output from a laser printer is crisp and clear even in small fonts. They are efficient and cost-effective for high-volume applications.   

Inkjet Printer

An inkjet printer is an effective low-cost label printer option that fits the needs of many small businesses. 

UAL carries shipping labels for both laser and inkjet printers.

Why Inkjet Label Printers are a Good Choice for Small Businesses

Although thermal and laser printers are effective label printer options, many small businesses use inkjet label printers because of their lower costs and flexibility. 

Cost-Effective for Low-Volume Printing

Inkjet printers offer a cost-effective solution for small businesses with lower printing volumes. Inkjet printers are affordable and have user-friendly features, making them easy to operate and maintain. 

Exploring the Features of Top Inkjet Label Printers

Inkjet label printers have a number of features that increase their flexibility and performance. For example,

Color Printing

Inkjet printers can produce high-quality detailed output, capable of printing vivid colors and pictures.

Connectivity Options

Top inkjet label printers come equipped with advanced connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, allowing seamless integration with other devices and systems. Although it’s less common, some models also support Bluetooth which allows you to connect your printer directly to your mobile device.

Integration Capabilities

These printers are designed to be compatible with popular ecommerce platforms and shipping software, streamlining the entire shipping process.

Durability and Lifespan

Top inkjet label printers are built to last, providing longevity and reliability for businesses with high printing demands.

Choosing the Right Label Materials and Inks

Inkjet label printers support various label materials including matt and gloss papers and synthetic options such as polyethylene. Both matt and gloss papers help highlight the overall look of the label while polyethylene is resistant to water, chemicals and heat. 

As for inks, inkjet printers use both pigment and dye-based inks. Pigment inks are water and fade-resistant and are ideal for applications where durability and long life are important. Dye-based inks don’t have the same durability but are typically less expensive and suited for most common ecommerce shipping label applications. 

United Ad Label supplies shipping labels designed for your label printers and unique applications.

Common Labeling Challenges for Businesses

Although printing and applying a shipping label to a carton seems simple enough, there are potential challenges that can derail the process. Take these steps to ensure your operation runs smoothly:

  • Labels detach from the carton - one of the cardinal rules with labels is to use an adhesive designed for the specific application. For shipping labels, there are two effective options. One that uses a permanent adhesive and a linerless version with Versatac adhesive that adheres firmly yet can be removed when shipping is complete. Using just any label that doesn’t contain the appropriate adhesive can lead to a bad outcome. In addition, cartons with an uneven or dirty surface may cause a properly spec’d shipping label to fail.  
  • Reusing cartons without removing the shipping label from a previous shipment - two labels create confusion which may lead to a misdirected or returned shipment. Using a blockout label to cover the shipping label used previously can prevent the problem. 
  • Skewed or cut-off information - although there are a number of causes, using the wrong size label format is the most common reason for missing information. Also, during cold and dry or hot and humid conditions, labels that aren’t properly climatized may not process properly. 
  • Smudging that obscures shipping information - using labels that aren’t compatible with the printer is a common reason for smudging or distorted print output. Using labels designed for your specific printer will help prevent this issue.   

United Ad Label: Your Trusted Partner in Label Printing Solutions

As ecommerce purchases continue to increase so does the importance of selecting the best label printers that meet your specific needs. UAL produces shipping labels that meet the specific requirements of direct thermal, laser and inkjet printer manufacturers, helping your organization to operate efficiently and cost-effectively. UAL stocks hundreds of shipping labels, for standard applications and items that require HazMat and DOT warnings. In addition, our Custom Label Designer allows you to easily design, price and order custom labels online. Contact us to learn more.