International Bridge is pleased to announce a new API and Web feature that will permit our partners and clients to participate in the USPS Label Broker program.
The Label Broker is an innovative way to provide easy end-user access to USPS shipping labels. You first create a domestic shipping label using the familiar Blue API. Next you call a new Blue API which specifies the tracking number of that label. This new API transmits the associated label image to the nationwide USPS Label Broker network and returns a 2D QR code.
You may now send that QR code to the person who needs that shipping label via an email, SMS message, a web site or even a hard copy mailer. Using an email is the most popular method. The customer can then go to any participating USPS Post Offices and have the QR code scanned by a Retail Associate. The Retail Associate will then print out a shipping label, affix it to the package and provide the customer with a receipt. Note that the retail clerk will require that you have your package in your possession and ready to ship.
Alternatively, the recipient can print the label at home by simply going to the USPS.COM Web link below and inputting the QR code and their return address zip code.
The Label Broker is currently limited to domestic shipments only. Unless you have a unique business model, you should NOT submit every label you create in the Blue API to the Label Broker. If the customer can print a label at home, then there is no need to offer a QR code. If the customer does not have access to a printer, then it would be appropriate to offer the Label Broker service. This protocol should be limited to specific situations where the distribution of the label can’t be accomplished by other means. USPS eFulfillment returns is an excellent use case.
Certain USPS extra services such as COD, Hold for Pickup, Registered Mail, Certified Mail, and Insurance greater-than-$500 are not supported.
First Class, Priority, Priority Express and Parcel Select Ground mail classes are supported.
How Does Label Broker Work?
The USPS has created a centralized repository to store USPS shipping labels. For each stored label, the USPS creates a unique Label ID that can be represented as a standard QR code. That code is transmitted to a postal customer who needs a shipping label.
The centralized system is accessible from most USPS Post Offices. When the Retail Associate scans a Label Broker QR code at any one of these facilities, the associated 4x6” prepaid USPS shipping label is printed on a peel-and-stick substrate.
Finding the Post Office Nearest Your Customer
Typically, you will want to alert your customer (the person using the label) where they can find the Post Office nearest to their home. Most Post Offices have the capability to handle Label Broker requests, but it is a good idea to identify a nearby facility that definitely has this capability. There are two ways to do this.
First, you can construct a URL containing a query string for Label-Broker-capable Post Offices as follows:
where the value of the address parameter is your ZIP Code. In lieu of a ZIP Code, you may enter URL encoded address value, such as “address=WILKES%20BARRE%20PA”.
You can further refine your search by specifying the radius number of miles via the searchRadius parameter (possible values are 1, 10, 20 and 25).
Alternatively, you can use a USPS web page to locate USPS Label Broker services, Go to the Post Office Locator at https://tools.usps.com/find-location.htm and follow these steps:
Fill in your City and State or just your ZIP Code.
In the drop-down list under “Location Types” make a selection for Post Offices™.
In the filter list under “Mailing Services” make a selection for Label Broker.
Click on the “Search” button and you will see a list of Post Offices closest to the location you entered.
Sample Communications with Your Label Broker User
When alerting your user that a shipping label is available for them, we suggest you include a section like that shown below along with the other instructions you are providing.
Note that when you create the shipping label initially, you can use the Rubber Stamp feature to print additional information for your end user (e.g., an RMA number).
The full API documentation for the Label Broker is available here (see label/qr section):
The Web option is available under the QR link of the label preview page: