In today’s digital world, buyers buy online, receive payment receipts online, and even have access to their complete buying history online. But, they don’t give much attention to packing slips. It may seem a superficial or even meaningless document to them. But, in reality, packing slip plays a crucial role for both buyer and seller.
A packing slip helps a warehouse manager streamline and optimize the warehousing operations. It also offers cost and time-saving opportunities as well.
What is a Packing Slip?
Packing slips are a common part of the packaging process. It is a document that contains critical information related to the items inside the package. It includes product details or SKU number, product weight and dimension, the number of products inside the package, etc. When the buyer receives the products, he checks the order against the packing slip and ensures he has received all the items.
Packing Slip VS Invoice
A packing slip and invoice are similar in nature, but each one serves different purposes. A packing slip signifies the goods being received by the buyer or receiver. However, an invoice is a financial document that contains information like the selling price of the product, the payment terms – COD or prepaid, and the date.
Both packing slip and invoice are used for different purposes. An invoice is for the person who is responsible for the product payment. The packing slip is for the receiver of the product. Indeed, the receiver of the product can also be the payer of the product. However, if you buy a product for someone else, you will receive the invoice, and the recipient will get the packing slip.
Notably, both documents are the responsibility of the eCommerce store. However, the invoice is offered by the payment platform, and the packing slip is offered by the shipping or fulfilment center.
Packing Slip Template
There are many packing slip templates available online that you can download. Templatizing can help in making the slips look more consistent, branded, and professional. The following are the details that can be included in the packing slips:
- Order date
- Buyer name and address
- Recipient name and address
- List of items ordered
- List of items included in the package
- List of items that will be shipped in a separate package
- Quantity and weight of items
- Company’s name and contact information
Why are Packing Slips Important?
A packing slip has all the details about the product ordered by the customer. Since the order is not placed in a typical brick-and-mortar store, packing slips play a crucial role:
Shipment is Complete
In eCommerce fulfillment, checking is important. Before you seal and label a package, you must verify that all the products are inside the package. In the case of multiple orders, the products must be in the exact count. A packing slip reflects the items ordered and present in the package. As soon as the order is verified, the packing slip can be printed on the package to ship it out.
Depending on order size and the products, an order might need to be split into separate shipments. Sometimes, all the items are not in the same warehouse. They are procured from different warehouses and, thus, shipped separately. If this happens, a packing slip helps both seller and buyer in tracking orders across different shipments.
Confirmation of Receipt of Complete Order
Packing slips help identify missing items in the package and ensure that the buyer received everything ordered. You think of it as a recording paper that should be shipped with the product. If the products arrive in multiple packages, the buyer can easily keep a tab on the inaccuracies, if any. He also has proof of what was ordered and what all is delivered.
Identify Damaged Products
Packing slips help identify damaged items in the package – whether the entire package was damaged in transit or any fragile item broke during shipping. Things like this happen often, but the buyer can speed up the complaint and refund issue with a packing slip in hand.
Shipment Value Estimation
When shipping internationally, customs generally use packing slips for shipment value estimation. However, customs usually prefer a commercial invoice containing product description, their value, seller and buyer’s address, and payment and delivery terms to clear the package.
Irrespective of how you handle order fulfillment, the packing slip is one of the ways of managing and meeting customer expectations.