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Buying shipping labels for the US

To ship an order, you need to buy and print a shipping label. A shipping label works like a stamp in that it shows that you’ve paid the proper amount of postage. It also provides the information for the carrier to perform the delivery — the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, the weight and dimensions of the package, and the requested service.

Merchants based in the United States can buy and print shipping labels for USPS domestic and international shipments right from the Ecwid admin. Rates are lower than retail rates at the post office, and order details are inserted automatically. If you are using another shipping service, you can buy shipping labels using apps from our App Market or directly on your shipping carrier’s website.

Plan availability: Venture, Business, Unlimited. 

Buying and printing shipping labels from the Ecwid admin

You can buy and print a shipping label via USPS from the Ecwid admin. Depending on the destination, you can buy a domestic or international shipping label. Ecwid automatically chooses the correct type of label based on the customer’s address. Please note that to buy a shipping label you need to specify your company's phone number in the admin.

Note that labels for Media Mail delivery service are not available for purchase.

USPS provides you with free shipping supplies. You can get a variety of boxes and envelopes for small, medium, or large items. You can get free boxes for shipping in the post office, or order shipping supplies online.

The cost is billed to you through your Ecwid account as the same payment method that you use to pay for your Ecwid subscription. Learn more in My Profile → Billing and plans.

To buy and print a shipping label:

For Lightspeed eCom merchants who run their business with Retail POS (X-Series): before you can purchase shipping labels, you first need to install the Shipping Labels app and connect your credit card to pay for shipping labels.
  1. From your Ecwid admin, go to My sales → Orders.

    For Lightspeed eCom (E-Series): navigate to Online → Overview → Go to eCom and open My sales → Orders page.

  2. Select the order that you want to buy a shipping label for.
  3. On the right, in the Shipping details section, click Buy shipping label:

    International_shipping_labels__1_.png

  4. Check the shipping address or addresses if you ship abroad. You can change any of the addresses by clicking the Edit address or Edit info.
  5. In the Parcel Weight and Size section, select the type of packaging for this order and specify the weight of a package and its dimensions. Click Continue.
  6. (This step is for international shipping. Skip it if you ship within the US.) Fill in the Customs Declaration:
    • In the Sender Credentials, enter the sender's name and phone number. Your number is required in case customs will need to clarify any details.
    • In the Items to declare, add a brief description about the shipping goods. For example, coffee beans. Select the country of origin for each item — you can look it up on the product’s label or on its package. The declared value for each item, its quantity, and net weight is filled in automatically based on order details. Taxes for declared item value are paid by a receiver.
    • If a total declared value of the order is over $2,500, you will see the ITN code field. You need to add the International transaction number (ITN) since your shipment is over $2,500. To get the ITN, you need to apply for the Automated commercial environment (ACE) account. Once you have an account, you can register your parcel and get the unique ITN code.
      If the shipment value is $2,500 or less, you don’t have to enter ITN.
    • You can add information for Customs by clicking Do you have any additional info to provide to Customs? and filling in an invoice, certificate or license numbers, or any other note. This information is optional and will not affect label price.
    • Click Next step.
  7. On the right side, pay attention to the setting Mark order as shipped and notify the customer by email. If you select this option, the order status will automatically update to Shipped immediately after the shipping label is purchased, and the customer will receive an email with a tracking number. If you want to change the order status to Shipped manually after you’ve actually shipped the product, untick the checkbox.
  8. Select a shipping service. Our reseller prices for shipping labels differ from the USPS retail prices. Some services are discounted, and others are not.
  9. (optional) To change the size of the label, in the Printer settings section click Edit and choose 8.5 x 11 inches or 4 x 6 inches:

    Printer_settings_section.png

  10. Click Buy Shipping Label. Once the purchase is complete, you will see the shipping label details and a tracking number.
  11. Click Print Shipping Label.

That’s it! You’ve printed a shipping label.

You can see all of your shipping label payments on the Payment history page in your Ecwid admin.

Labeling parcels with hazardous materials

Lots of everyday items such as nail polish, perfume, or lithium batteries are considered HAZMAT (hazardous materials). These items must be declared when buying USPS shipping labels and failing to do so may lead to fines and other penalties.

HAZMAT USPS shipping labels can be managed directly within your Ecwid admin, making it easier to stay compliant with local and international shipping regulations. 

Follow the steps below to get started.

Step 1: Determine if your products are considered HAZMAT

Review the guidelines available on the USPS website (linked below) to determine whether any of the items you’re shipping fall under the restricted, prohibited, or HAZMAT categories.

Domestic guidelines

International guidelines

Step 2: Enable HAZMAT labels in Ecwid

Once the below changes are saved, you won’t need to waste energy remembering to label these materials—your Ecwid platform will issue a prompt.

How to enable labeling parcels with hazardous materials:

  1. From your Ecwid admin, go to Shipping & Pickup.
  2. Scroll down to Settings.
  3. Enable the Labeling Parcels with Hazardous Materials toggle.
  4. The changes are saved automatically.

And that’s it! Each time you buy a label, you will be asked whether or not a particular parcel contains hazardous materials eligible for shipping. A dedicated block will appear at the Parcel Weight and Size step. After you declare the presence of HAZMAT in the parcel, you will get a special shipping label with an “H” that will allow USPS to automatically identify and handle the package appropriately throughout its journey.

Pro tip: By default, USPS displays all enabled shipping methods as options upon checkout. This is a problem if you ship hazardous materials because not all shipping methods are applicable for those items (e.g. air transportation). To avoid any potential friction, create product-specific shipping methods for your HAZMAT products. This way, shoppers will only see available shipping options for those items.

Step 3: Follow any additional guidelines provided by USPS

After buying a shipping label, make sure you learn how to properly package and label the parcel as well as if any additional papers are needed before handing the shipment to USPS.

Please note that a limited list of shipping methods will be available for parcels with hazardous shipments during shipping label purchase. Domestic HAZMAT shipments will be limited to ground transportation.

Next steps after buying shipping labels

After you print the shipping label, you have to stick it to the box, submit the order to USPS and inform customers about shipping their order.

Step 1. Place the printed shipping label on the box with the order and affix it securely with tape. Try not to tape above the barcode as it could make it harder to scan at the post office.

For international Priority mail shipments, you may have to print up to 4 pages. That includes a shipping label on the first page and additional information for the Custom services. In that case, attach remaining documents to the side of the box, so that they can be detached and studied by Customs personnel.

To make your shipment look professional and save time on attaching labels, use a printer that offers the peel and stick option. The peel and stick option also means you don’t have to cut the extra paper on the edges of the label since labels already have the right size.

Try our partner Rollo, a thermal printer that offers the peel and stick feature. Thermal means that Rollo prints via heat using direct thermal technology, so you don’t have to buy inks or cartridges. To get a printer with a free paper roll, follow the Ecwid referral link.

Step 2. Request a pickup or find the nearby post office to hand over the package to the carrier. You can click Schedule a pickup or Find a post office on the shipping label details page to be redirected to the USPS website to finalize shipment.

Step 3. Inform customers about shipping their order.

Once you submit the shipment to USPS, go to the Orders page in your Ecwid admin and change the order fulfillment status to Shipped if you haven’t done that. After changing the status, the customer will receive an email notification with a tracking number.

Other ways of buying shipping labels

If you ship using carriers like FedEx, UPS, etc., (not USPS), you can’t currently print shipping labels from your Ecwid admin. You can print shipping labels directly on the carrier’s website. However, that will take extra time as you will need to manually enter the addresses, the order’s weight/size, etc.

You can save time by using apps from our App Market to buy and print shipping labels. The order details from your Ecwid admin will sync with the app, and you won’t have to enter the details manually.

The following apps can help you buy and print shipping labels:

FAQ

How do I buy USPS insurance and extra services?

Currently, if you buy a shipping label from the Ecwid admin, there is no option to buy insurance or extra services. Although USPS includes insurance in some shipments. So when you buy a shipping label from your Ecwid admin, it already has insurance. Shipping labels with insurance will have a note about it:

International_shipping_labels__2_.png

You can also buy these extra services if you print a shipping label directly on the USPS website or by using apps from the App Market.

How do I void a shipping label purchased in the Ecwid admin?

First of all, do not use a shipping label that you want to void: don’t put it on a box and don’t get it scanned at a post office as it can’t be refunded at that point. Ideally, contact the Ecwid support team immediately after the purchase, and include the following details in your email:

  • Your store ID (in the bottom left corner of your Ecwid admin).
  • The order number with the shipping label you want to void.

The refund will be issued to the payment method that was charged for the voided shipping label. You can see it in your Ecwid admin, My Profile → Billing and plans.

Why should I fill in the Customs Declaration for international shipping?

Shipping overseas means you have to comply not only with the US law but with other countries' rules as well. Depending on a country, import and export regulations may vary for different products. Information you provide about the product type, its cost, weight, size, and country of origin will be reviewed by customs to calculate the duties to be paid by your customer upon receiving. For instance, receiving country customs may apply fees on the total package value.

Is the ITN code necessary?

If the total declared value of the parcel is more than $2,500 — you have to apply for an AES account and register your parcel to get the ITN code. Filing incorrect information can lead to penalties up to a maximum of $10,000 per violation as enforced by the Office of Export Enforcement (OEE) within the U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection within the Department of Homeland Security.

There is no need for the ITN if the shipment is valued less than $2,500, or you ship to Canada.

Do I have to pay custom duties for international shipping?

No, custom duties are paid by a receiver. That means, you don’t need to include the custom duties cost in the price. Duties on shipments are charged by customs for their service and must be settled before your shipment can be delivered. You can include this information in the product description, or add it as the payment instruction at checkout in your payment method.

You can learn more about international sales and customs regulation in our guide.

I’m buying HAZMAT shipping labels. What is the difference between domestic and international lithium battery shipments?

Different requirements apply to domestic and international USPS lithium battery shipments:

  • Any used, damaged, or defective electronic devices containing or packaged with lithium batteries cannot be shipped internationally and are limited to ground delivery when mailed domestically. You need to declare them as HAZMAT.
  • Only shipments that contain lithium cells and batteries properly installed in the equipment may be shipped internationally. You need to specifically declare such parcels as containing lithium batteries when buying USPS shipping labels.

To determine mailability of your type of batteries and learn about any additional requirements, you can use the online HAZMAT Search Tool, or contact your local USPS officials.

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