8 mins

Packing Slips: A Complete Guide

Many people and businesses don’t pay as much attention to the packing slip these days because of how digital our world is becoming. When you buy something online, you get your receipt via email, and you may even be able to easily see all of your past purchases.

As someone who shops online, I never look at the packing slip and throw it away right away if one comes with my order.

As a way to cut down on packaging waste, even Amazon has started to remove packing slips from deliveries of just one box.

Even so, packing slips are still a common part of the packing process for many e-commerce shipping businesses.

Let’s learn more about the packing slip and what it does in online shopping.

What is a Packing Slip?

A packing slip is a piece of paper that lists everything that is inside a package. Packing slips have SKU numbers, weights, measurements, and the number of units. Shipping departments use these to figure out what inventory they need to send out to complete an order correctly. Lastly, the person who bought or received the order will compare the items they received to the packing slip to make sure they are all what they ordered.

6 Things to Mention on a Packing Slip

Price, SKU, and itemized lists are some of the things that are on packing slips. Different businesses and products will have different information on their packing slips, but most of them will have the same basic information.

1. Shipping address, date of order, and way to reach you

When you file, this basic information is useful, just like on an invoice. For example, the purchase order number, contact information, and any problems that happened with the shipment while it was in transit. Of course, shipping companies use the shipping label by default, but a packing slip can be useful just in case something goes wrong in transit.

2. A list of the shipped items, broken down by item

A lot of people who buy something double-check the items they get against this list to make sure they are getting everything they paid for. Not only can they look at their confirmation email, but some people might find it more helpful to have a packing slip on hand.

3. A list of items that are out of stock

Along with the bill, a packing slip will list the items that were ordered but not shipped so that they can be ordered again. It’s not common for people to not talk before an order is placed or fulfilled, but if it does happen, it will be made clear.

4. How many of each item

The product name or SKU is not enough to check in each item from a packing slip because many sellers buy more than one of the same thing. Some people order a lot of the same thing, so a quantity column can help cut down on the length of the list so that the packing slip doesn’t take up several pages.

5. The item’s SKU or UPC

Customers may not care much about SKUs or UPCs, which are unique identifiers or codes, but this number is how sellers keep track of their stock. This is what the seller will use to get to the bottom of a problem if you need to get in touch with them.

6. The number on the slip or the PO number

If you have enough reference numbers for your orders, shippers and buyers can compare the PO number to the slip number to make sure they sent and received the right order.

What are the Key Differences between an Invoice and a Packing Slip in Online Orders?

For purchase orders, a packing slip and an invoice are not the same thing, even though they may look a lot alike at first glance. An invoice is the financial record of the order and includes details like how much each item sold for, how it will be paid for, when it is due, and how much it cost. A packing slip lists the items that are being sent.

If so, a packing slip and an invoice may be for different people. There is a packing slip for the person who receives the package and an invoice for the person who needs to pay. You’ll get both documents if you order something for yourself. If you buy something for someone else, on the other hand, they will get the packing slip, and you will get the bill.

The payment platform initiates the invoice, while the shipping or fulfillment technology makes the packing slip. Both documents start in the online store.

Also, all businesses use invoices, but not all of them use packing slips.

Why Packing Slips are Important in E-Commerece?

Packing slips list everything the customer bought. E-commerce orders use packing slips for many reasons that help connect the digital world to the real world through important shipping documents. This is because you’re not getting the items from a physical store. It is important to have packing slips for:

1. Make sure the shipment has everything it needs

It’s important to check again during the process. Prior to affixing a label and sealing the box, the packer should make sure that the items inside are exactly what the customer ordered, including checking the exact numbers of different SKUs. A packing slip lists all the items that were ordered and keeps track of the physical items that are included in the package. After checking, they can put the printed packing slip in the box and send the order off.

2. Make it easy to keep track of everything in the order

Because different SKUs are kept in different warehouses, orders may need to be sent out in more than one shipment. These things happen because the order is big and has a lot of things. Also, some things might need to be sent in different boxes. There is a packaging slip that can help people who send and receive packages keep track of everything.

3. Look for broken things

Even if a fragile item breaks during shipping, packing slips make it easier to locate and sort the broken items. There are times when deliveries go wrong like this, but if you have the packing slip, you can get a refund or a new package faster.

4. Make sure you get everything

Packing slips help you find things that you ordered and make sure you get everything you asked for. It’s kind of like a paper trail or list of what should be in the shipment. If your order comes in more than one package, following the e-commerce order tracking will help you find any mistakes more easily.

5. Let customs figure out how much a shipment is worth

Customs may use a packing slip to figure out how much an international shipment is worth. But customs will usually always prefer a commercial invoice (which must list the goods’ description, value, and shipping addresses of both the seller and the shipper, as well as the terms of delivery and payment) to clear a package.

Why Packing Slip is a Must for Every Shipment?

Packaging slips help merchants maintain effective order management and maintain smooth operations within their shipment departments and warehouses. They also give buyers the assurance that they can expect the best delivery. They are essential in every e-commerce business in the world of e-Commerce where purchases take place virtually and the contact points of the product with the purchaser are during the delivery phase. Pack slips guarantee the absence of errors and improve customer experience.

What are the Steps to Create a Packing Slip?

Making a packing slip template is not a complicated task. Many packing slip templates are available online and can be easily modified using Excel to fit individual requirements. After completing the template, enter the required shipping details, including pricing item details and buyers’ and sellers’ contact info. Keep printing the copy in a plastic box. This ensures they are the first documents buyers or shippers see on delivery.

At the top of the packing slip are the shipping address, billing address, order date, order number, and any other important information. Below is the packing slip’s main content: a list of what was shipped and what wasn’t.

Description of the SKU or UPC Number of items ordered Number of items shipped: 

Product XYZ1212321321, Product ZYX1010456456, and Product ABC50

In the above example, the warehouse where the order came from may not have had any Product ABC in stock. It will need to be sent in a different shipment, either from a different location or when that warehouse gets more of it.

Other things to think about when making packing lists and slips

In general, packing slips and lists don’t need to be hard to understand. But before you start filling orders, here are a few more things to keep in mind.

A Unified Method

There are many ways to check things off during the pick, pack, and ship process. You have a lot to handle if you pursue self-fulfillment. You also run the risk of making more mistakes if you don’t use integrated technology. This is especially true if you have to make packing slips by hand. The best thing to do is to use an automated tool that will speed up the process.

When someone opens a package, you have a chance to make an impression that lasts, and packing slips are one way to do that. Putting your logo on each packing slip is one way to do this. Your package may, however, be full of different types of paper, such as marketing materials, receipts, and packing slips. Find the best way to make an impact that won’t overwhelm the customer or cause them to lose important information.

Effects on the environment

Some people question whether the packing slip is useful or not. Is it a way for customers to keep track of their orders, or is it just a waste of paper? It is better for the environment to use an electronic version, and many customers today care about lowering their carbon footprint.

The packing slip is a way to keep track of what the customer expects, no matter how the order is filled. Customers will judge their experience based on other factors as well, such as how quickly they received their items.

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About Author
Shivangi Singh

Shivangi is a Senior Technical Writer with over four years of experience in the industry. She is a technology enthusiast who enjoys reading about science, quantum physics and other fields.


Purchasing orders or POPs is an agreement of purchase between the buyer and seller. Generally, the PO request includes a description of the purchase of items and usually the total number of purchases. POs are usually used in large purchase situations and are not usually applicable to everyday B2B transactions.

A packing slip is a document that lists the items of a shipment, including the quantities and details of each item. Packing slips are legally binding documents requiring shipment. Commercial invoices are legally enforceable documents that must accompany all shipment orders. Although they contain pretty much the same information as a packable slip, they also contain detailed information on the quantity of the goods.

There are a few differences between packing slips. In one instance, the shipping labels are placed into the boxes, and a packing slip can be found inside the packaging. Usually, shipping labels are designed to be used to transport goods and services. It’s your duty to check out packages using a shipping label. The label contains information regarding shipage, such as shippers’ names and addresses, the addresses of recipients, and the weight of the goods. Shipping labels typically include bar code codes for easier tracking.

Packing slips are useful when preparing a return. If a product gets damaged or lost during delivery or if the customer feels unhappy about what they received, packing papers may assist. Using these tools, they can identify the cause of the problem immediately and help simplify returns management processes. In addition to packing slips and RMA forms, shipments are greatly streamlined. It is important for the eCommerce company to have insurance to protect itself against unforeseen costs resulting from such issues.

It is common to use a packing slip instead of a delivery note. Both are used to make sure that all the things that were ordered have been sent. When someone receives a package, they usually sign a delivery note. There is also usually a packing slip inside the package for the customer to use. The packing slip is a detailed list of everything that is being shipped.

For purchase orders, a packing slip and an invoice are not the same thing, even though they may look a lot alike at first glance. A packing slip lists the items that are being sent, while an invoice lists the money that was paid for the order and includes details like how much each item cost, when it was paid for, and how it was paid for.

A packing slip is inside the package for online orders. This lets the customer see if all of the things they ordered have been sent.