So, you’ve decided to take advantage of Amazon’s FBA program to expand your business. Congratulations! This was a huge decision and can have a real impact on your operations. But now you are overwhelmed and need to figure out the details of actually shipping your inventory to an Amazon warehouse. Take a deep breath. We’ve broken down the three key steps below to help you create an FBA shipment.
Step One: Choosing your shipment type
Depending on the amount of inventory you are sending to the fulfillment center(s), you’ll need to determine whether you will be using FTL (full truckload), LTL (less than truckload), or small parcel delivery.
The former two may require shipping pallets to Amazon FBA. In this case, you are responsible for:
- Building your own pallets (here is a great video to help you:
- Labeling pallets according to requirements
- Including a bill of lading
- Scheduling delivery
Step Two: Understanding packaging and labeling requirements
Regardless of shipment size, there are some general packaging requirements for shipping products to Amazon FBA:
- Box dimensions generally may not exceed 25” on any side;
- Box contents should contain inventory from only one shipment ID (shipment details in seller account must match that of physical shipment);
- Box weight must not exceed 50lbs, unless single unit exceeds 50lbs;
- Point-of-sale containers, pallet-sized containers, and boxes bundled together with bags, tape or extra straps are not accepted;
- Permitted forms of dunnage include foam sheets, air pillows, bubble wrap and full sheets of paper; while packing peanuts, crinkle wrap and shredded paper are not allowed;
- Additionally, boxes must be rigid, items must be wrapped separately with about two inches of cushioning between items and box, strong shipping tape must be used, string and paper over-wrap are not permitted, and old labels and barcodes must be removed.
Some items and categories require additional Amazon FBA packaging preparation. A downloadable guide can be found here, but most importantly, products should be sent ready-to-be-fulfilled with no further prep required by Amazon staff. You may be charged for non-compliance, otherwise.
- Loose products – Amazon will not accept products that require assembly before shipping to customers. Loose products must be contained and secured in a single package.
- Sold in a set – These items must include a label that states “Sold as set” or “This is a set. Do not separate” on the package.
- Boxed units – The boxes must be six-sided and pass requirements like drop tests and pressure tests, if there are perforated openings.
- Poly bagged items – There are certain requirements such as suffocation warnings and dimension, transparency, and thickness standards for poly bagged products.
- Case packaged products – These must be previously packaged and contain equal and consistent quantities in each case.
- Expiration dates – Standard MM-DD-YYYY format and 36+ point font should be used for the date on the master carton and individual units, and dates must be accessible and visible to amazon associates (including items requiring extra prep, like glass jars).
A label with a unique identifier, including a scannable UPC and human-readable corresponding numbers must be attached to the outside of each unit. This includes units of different sizes and colors. Scannable barcodes on the outside of a carton containing multiple unique units must be removed or covered.
All small parcel boxes must have unique shipping labels with no other messaging. Side of box placement is preferred, and labels must be easily visible and not located on the seam of the box. Try to keep labels 1.25” away from the edges of the box, and ensure that tape does not cover labels. This makes them difficult to scan.
Step Three: Choosing a carrier
You must use professional carriers, even for small parcel delivery. Try to use a carrier that is familiar with Amazon’s process, especially for larger shipments with little room for error. They may be more expensive, but likely worth the extra dollars because of the complex requirements. Failure to comply may result in refusal or even disposal of inventory at the FC. Carriers are responsible for:
- Registration with Amazon prior to delivery
- Scheduling delivery appointments
- Having Amazon Reference IDs, Shipment IDs, and tracking (PRO) numbers
- Following requirements for vehicle condition and safety standards
Now that you’re ready to pack and ship, save time and sell more with ecomdash’s FBA inventory management software. It automates fulfillment and integrates processes across warehouses, suppliers, drop shippers and more. It’s specifically designed for the FBA program, so you can feel confident in creating an FBA shipment, and tracking it from start to finish.