Designing a better packing slip


For most online retailers, it’s standard practice to include a packing slip in every box they ship. This serves as a checklist for the shipping department to verify that all the right items are in there, and also functions as a receipt for the customer.

But what if the buyer doesn’t want a packing slip? It’s one more thing for privacy-conscious customers to shred, and would also be a waste of paper in the eyes of environmentally-conscious shoppers. How do you balance this with the retailer’s need to ensure that all the right items are in each box?

Eliminating packing slips altogether probably isn’t practical. But there’s a middle ground that would work for everyone. First, the retailer should remove as much of the customer’s personal info as possible from the packing slip. For instance, just show the list of products in the box along with the buyer’s last name and shipping zipcode. Data like the full address and billing info could be left out, thus alleviating any privacy concerns. Second, make the packing slip smaller, which should be easy once the info above has been removed. This would address any complaints about excess paper usage and make the whole process more environmentally-friendly.

Overall, these changes to the packing slip design are good for all the parties involved. The retailer will spend less money on paper and maybe get some nice press coverage from making the changes, while customers enjoy more privacy and less environmental impact from their online orders. Will these changes lead to a dramatic increase in sales? I doubt it. But the cost savings and customer goodwill should certainly make the redesign worthwhile.