by Craig Stark
#115, 25 February 2008
A few questions for you about labeling your packages - and a labeling solution you might not have considered.
First, how long does it take you to apply a label to one of your packages?
If you're using adhesive-backed labels, probably not long at all. You peel it off its backing, slap it on the package and - if you're not doing this, you should be - tape over yours and the buyer's addresses. (See note on thermal-printed labels at end of article.) Maybe 10 or 15 seconds? Not bad, but I bet you're paying through the nose for those labels.
Or, if you're printing your labels on plain paper and taping them to your packages, you're spending significantly less on supplies, but how long does it take you to get the thing on? Four strips of tape to seal the edges and two more to cover the addresses - six in all? - and I bet it takes you a good 30 seconds to get it done. Even if you're only selling, say, 150 books a month, that's 15 hours of your time - almost two full work days in a year.
How would you like to get this done in six or eight seconds instead?
How much does each label cost you to print and apply?
If you're using Avery shipping labels, you're probably paying about $.15 or so apiece for them, in addition to some ink. At 150 books a month, that's $270 a year. Cheaper labels can be had, surely, but the cost remains significant.
Or, if you're using a good quality plain paper, figure about $.01 per sheet and, assuming you're using a similarly good quality tape, another $.07 or so in clear tape - $144 a year.
How would you like to spend $.05 per label in tape (or $108 a year) and still get things done in six to eight seconds?
How secure are your labels?
It's extremely important, in my opinion, to protect your labels - to at least tape over the addresses no matter what. Too much can go wrong en route. No doubt it's occurred to you that 5" clear tape can be purchased, it's cheaper to use than adhesive-backed labels, and it would enable you to tape over the entire label in one pass. But there's a problem: It's shiny - glare is a potential effect -and there's no guarantee that USPS scanners will perform an accurate scan through this type of tape.
So - how would you like to be able to avoid this problem and still spend $.06 per label in tape and still get this done in six to eight seconds?
I have the answer for you.