Top 5 Uses for Labels & Stickers
Labels are often the first interaction a customer has with their purchase, be it double-checking the address or checking for clues as to what it was they brought. Every e-commerce purchase requires multiple labels throughout its journey from warehouse to consumer. Therefore, labels are integral to a parcel arriving at its intended destination. In order to make it from warehouse to depo to courier and finally onto the customer, labels must be present on the packaging at all times. Inefficiencies in this system can be detrimental to the overall health of a business as late or lost parcels are no longer acceptable in a world of next day delivery. To achieve this, sturdy, long-lasting labels that convey the correct information are key. Customer service centres across the world receive multiple calls and emails regarding late parcels. Barcode labels accompany parcels throughout their journey and provide a means for couriers and businesses to keep track; that way when things go wrong parcels can be located and issues resolved efficiently. With over 80% of the UK population buying online in 2018, the highest in Europe, and the death of the high street looming; we can easily assume e-commerce will continue to hold the top spot for a long time to come.
Streamlined production processes such as JIT and Lean Manufacturing are commonplace in factories across the world but without labels, they’d fall apart. Labels have become an integral part of manufacturing as each component piece requires a label to be found and ensure their proper use. Imagine a factory worker trying to find the 5mm bolts they need, without accurate labelling, they’d be unable to find anything and if they did it would be after a lot of searching. If everything is labelled it aids the smooth running of the manufacturing process. Alongside this is the need for ID and information labels. Most products are sent out with permanent or temporary important information regarding function, warnings, instructions or batch codes. On a small scale, this can translate to a local car garage labelling a customer’s window with their MOT date or a small manufacturer labelling their goods with electrical safety certified labels. Labels enable important information, sometimes required by law that allows a company to send goods into customers’ homes with ease of mind. When batch labelling it can be crucial as it allows recalls of products. As the manufacturing process requires labels from start to finish we can understand how integral this use of labelling has become. Unless everything goes digital manufacturing is holding on to its’ labels.
If you take a step back and look at it, product labelling falls into 4 main categories: branding, differentiation, legal and description. Crucial to marketing is branding, labels on products enable a business to mark that item as part of their brand, therefore, creating a sense of ownership and differentiation from competitors. This is one of the reasons product printer labels are everywhere; even on your bananas! Once you’ve got your branding you often need to change it to show differentiation between different products. This can be something as simple as changing the font colour or it can be an entirely new look and feel between product lines and categories. This can be achieved by changing the original product label or adding an extra smaller label. For a small number of businesses, branding is a non-issue so law becomes the sole reason a business will label their products. These laws include: ingredients, manufacturing plant, batch number, expiry date, safety instructions, hazard warnings etc. If you’ve ever ordered something small and cheap that doesn’t have any branding it will most likely always have a label detailing ingredients or the like. Descriptions are important to most businesses either as instructions, backstories or further descriptions. Premium or homemade products will often have a short bio on their business and then go into detail regarding their product. Make-up companies will often add usage instructions or infographics on how to create a certain look with their products. These examples are typical of descriptions and are commonplace in product labelling. All of these product labelling aspects tend to be brought together in the form of a front and back label. As almost all products have some type of labelling its important product labelling be included in our list.
Address and Parcel
With global parcel shipping predicted to hit 100 billion in volume by 2020 there’ll be a fair number of address and parcel labels in use. Outside of e-commerce, these are mainly labels used to send anything from bills, handwritten letters, wedding invitations, gifts and more. These transactions of letters and parcels happen between business to business, business to consumer and person to person. One of the main benefits of using printed labels rather than handwriting onto packaging is that you can add branding. For example, businesses looking to update their parcels and letters during the Christmas period may invest in address and parcel labels then print season’s greetings alongside the usual address. As we move toward a digital age it does become easier to go paperless however this increases the value of receiving a letter from a loved one or sending out personalised mail to friends, family, or customers. In particular personalised labels have proven to have a positive impact on business and customer relationships; this can be seen in our independent research.
What’s the difference between a sticker and a label? The truth is there’s not much in it, it’s all based on perception. When we think of stickers we think fun! Our childhood memories of covering every available surface are one of the main reasons stickers have remained so popular. But they’ve also evolved with us; instead of covering a sticker book, we cover our laptops, journals or phones. The most significant difference is that we’ve moved on from childhood characters to brands. Branded stickers are an interesting way to spread a message. They can be particularly effective as they are tangible at a time where digital media is the preferred choice. Customers often find it enjoyable to receive free stickers as they’d like to use them due to the nostalgia if nothing else, therefore making them hard to simply throw out or ignore. The better the sticker the more likely customers will become brand ambassadors. Take the laptop sticker as an example, we now use our laptop stickers as a form of self-expression, to share the things we like with the people around us. Versatility is another reason stickers are remaining popular, brands create stickers as they can be informative, the campaign focused or even interactive. With QR codes and Snapchat codes in the digital world, stickers can act as a bridge between the two, bringing physical and digital media closer together.