Article > What is a Packing Slip for Shipping? Examples and Tips

What is a Packing Slip for Shipping? Examples and Tips

an open box with a product and packing slip on top.

If you’ve ever sent or received a package, you may have noticed a small piece of paper tucked away inside the box. That little paper is known as a packing slip, and it’s an essential document for any successful shipping operation. Here we will explore what a packing slip is, why it’s important, and provide some examples and tips on how to use it effectively. 

What is a Packing Slip for Shipping?

A packing slip is a document that accompanies a shipment, providing an itemized packing list of the contents within the package. It usually includes the names, quantities, and SKU numbers of the items being shipped, as well as any relevant order or customer information, and can be found inside or outside the package. It assists in inventory management and tracking, making it easier to identify and locate specific products during the packing process. It helps ensure the correct items are included in the shipment and that they are delivered to the correct destination. 

What Is the Difference Between a Packing Slip and an Invoice?

The main difference between a packing slip and an invoice is their purpose. A packing slip is a document that lists the contents of a package so the correct items are included in the shipment and delivered to the right recipient. An invoice, on the other hand, is a document that requests payment for goods or services. It includes details such as the cost of the items or services, shipping and receiver billing address, any applicable taxes or fees, payment terms, purchase order numbers, payment method, company name, contact information, and maybe even weight and dimensions of the product. While both documents may include information about the items being shipped, a packing slip is focused on inventory management and tracking and stays in the box while an invoice is focused on collecting a payment amount and often requires a signature from the buyer. 

Reasons Why Packing Slips Are Important for eCommerce

Track All Items in the Order Easily

Packing slips are an essential component of eCommerce orders. By definition, they provide a detailed record of the contents for each package, which track all items in the order easily. With a packing slip, businesses can cross-check the items packed against the original order to make sure nothing is missed or misplaced. 

Ensure Everything Is in the Shipment

By itemizing the contents of a package, packing slips make it easy to check all products were included in the shipment. This can help to avoid costly mistakes, such as missing items or sending the wrong products to customers. 

Confirm All Items Were Received

When a customer receives a package, the packing slip can be used as a reference to ensure all items were received. This can help customers to quickly identify any missing items and allow businesses to resolve any issues promptly. 

Identify Damaged Items

In case a package is damaged during transit, a packing slip can help to identify the specific items that were damaged. This makes it easier to initiate the claims process with the shipping company and resolve any issues with the customer. 

Allow Customs to Estimate the Value of a Shipment

They help customs officials estimate the value of the shipment and ensure the correct duties and taxes are applied. Without a packing slip, customs officials may not have enough information to determine the value of the shipment accurately, which can cause delays and additional costs for both the sender and the recipient. 

What Should a Packing Slip Include?

Itemized List of the Shipped Items

This provides a detailed record of the products included in the shipment. It also ensures the customer receives the correct products and nothing is lost or missing during transit.

Shipping Address, Order Date, and Contact Info

This information identifies the recipient of the shipment and makes it easier to track the package in case of any issues or delays. The order date is also important for record-keeping purposes and can help businesses to track their sales and inventory levels over time.

Quantity of Each Item

By providing a clear record of the quantity of each item, businesses reduce the risk of confusion or dissatisfaction and improve the overall quality of their order fulfillment processes.

Slip Number or PO Number

This number can be used to track the shipment and to identify the specific order to which the shipment corresponds. This can be useful for record-keeping purposes and can help businesses to identify any issues or trends in their order fulfillment processes.

Packing Slip Tips

Want to make your packing slips more useful and effective? Here are a few tips and tricks!

  1. Make sure the packing slip is easy to read and understand. Use clear fonts, appropriate font sizes, and a layout makes it easy to locate important information.
  2. Use item codes or SKUs to make it easier to identify and track each item in the shipment and reduce errors and confusion during the packing and shipping process.
  3. Include a packing slip in each package, even if the order is being shipped to the same address. 
  4. Double-check the accuracy of the packing slip before including it in the shipment. Make sure the itemized list, shipping address, order date, and other information is correct and up-to-date.
  5. Consider using barcodes or QR codes on the packing slip to make it easier to track and process shipments and reduce errors and speed up the shipping process.
  6. Include any special instructions or notes on the packing slip, such as fragile items or special handling requirements. 
  7. Use a packing slip template or software to make the process of creating and printing packing slips faster and more efficient. 
  8. Consider including a thank-you note or other promotional materials with the packing slip to enhance the customer experience and build brand loyalty.
  9. Use color coding or highlighting to make important information stand out on the packing slip. For example, you could highlight the order number or the quantity of each item in a different color to make it easier to locate.
  10. Include a packing slip pouch or envelope on the outside of the package to ensure the packing slip stays with the shipment throughout the entire delivery process and help prevent the packing slip from getting lost or separated from the package during transit.

Key Takeaways

And there you have it, folks! Packing slips may be small, but they play a big role in making sure your shipping experience is smooth and hassle-free. From tracking all items in the order easily to allowing customs to estimate the value of a shipment, packing slips provide a wealth of benefits for businesses and customers alike. So, don’t overlook this little piece of paper the next time you’re sending or receiving a package. Follow our tips and tricks to make the most of your packing slips, and you’ll be a shipping superstar in no time.

Packing Slip FAQs

Is a Packing Slip the Same as a Shipping Label?

No, a packing slip is not the same as a shipping label. A packing slip is a document that itemizes the contents of a shipment, shipping labels contain the shipping address and other relevant shipping information. While both documents are important for successful shipping operations, they serve different purposes and contain different information.

Is a Packing Slip a Receipt?

No, a packing slip is not a receipt. Both documents provide information about a shipment, but a packing slip lists the contents of the package, and a receipt confirms payment for the items being shipped and is often printed from an online order confirmation.

Who Is Responsible for the Packing Slip?

The responsibility of creating and including a packing slip typically falls on people who are shipping or selling the item. They must ensure the correct items are included in the shipment, and the packing slip is accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, the shipper or seller is responsible for ensuring the packing slip is securely attached to the package and is easily accessible for the recipient.

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