For Amazon sellers planning to take advantage of the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, preparing products for the global marketplace’s fulfillment centers is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. Amazon has strict requirements that sellers must meet to ensure products are stored and handled correctly within their supply chain.
Proper Amazon FBA prep reduces damage and improves the overall customer experience. Meeting Amazon’s labeling and packaging requirements reduces the risk of product returns, which can hurt your revenue and brand reputation, as well as shipping errors or delays. In exchange, An Amazon FBA seller gains access to Amazon’s fast and reliable fulfillment network at a lower shipping cost than alternatives.
Packaging basics for FBA
As shoppers’ reliance on e-commerce continues to grow, product packaging and labeling requirements have only become more critical. They serve as a way to distinguish your product from the competition and provide valuable information that consumers rely on to make informed purchasing decisions.
For e-commerce business owners, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on the latest packaging and labeling regulations to ensure your product is safe, compliant, and appealing to customers. Done correctly, packaging and labeling can create a powerful connection between your brand and your customer, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty. So, take the time to carefully consider your options to help your product stand out in the crowded marketplace.
To ensure that all products meet FBA requirements, a few general packaging rules must be followed. First, every product must have a unique FNSKU label (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) that identifies it as a Fulfillment by Amazon product and an SKU. If you sell similar items, where the only differences are in size, shape, or color, each product variation must have its unique FNSKU. Additionally, each package must have an exterior barcode or label that can be scanned and accessible and readable.
It’s important to note that packaging rules can vary slightly depending on the type of product being sold. An item must adhere to all applicable categories’ regulations if it fits multiple categories. Amazon also has specific rules for different packaging options, such as bubble mailers and poly-bags.
Amazon sellers utilizing FBA must ensure that their products are well-packaged to avoid damage during transportation. This includes using sturdy boxes with sufficient padding and cushioning material. As per Amazon’s regulations, products must be packed to prevent compression or damage during transportation.
Preparing products for an Amazon FBA warehouse is a crucial step for Amazon sellers, and sellers should follow all regulations to maximize their exposure and reach on the platform. Working with an Amazon FBA prep service can be an excellent option for sellers to ensure all requirements and regulations are adequately met before any products arrive at an Amazon warehouse.
Implement a quality control plan for FBA
As an Amazon seller, you want your customers to receive their purchases in perfect condition. That’s why adhering to quality assurance guidelines when preparing your products for FBA can make all the difference. From conducting a thorough product inspection to properly labeling the packaging, following these guidelines is crucial in ensuring that your products are handled carefully and delivered to your customers in the best possible shape.
By taking the time to implement these Amazon packaging guidelines, you can rest easy knowing that your customers will be satisfied with the quality of their purchase, thus increasing the chances of repeat business and positive reviews. The following is a comprehensive Amazon FBA packaging checklist designed to help ensure that your shipment adheres to Amazon’s guidelines for packaging and labeling.
- Product Packaging: All units must be individually wrapped and sealed, but it’s essential to note that certain products have additional requirements. Make sure you review the Amazon FBA packaging requirements to ensure that you package your products appropriately.
- Product Labeling: Each product unit requires an FBA barcode label, whether an FNSKU or Manufacturer’s barcode. Other labels, such as Country of Origin, Suffocation Warning, and Sold as Set, may be necessary depending on the product details.
- Box Packaging: According to FBA requirements, each box’s type, weight, and dimension must meet Amazon’s specifications, and the box weight cannot exceed 50 lbs. (22.5kg), while the box length cannot exceed 25 inches (63.5 cm).
- Box Labeling: Each box must have two separate labels. The first is a unique shipment label that includes the shipment I.D., scannable barcode, ship-from address, and the ship-to address information. The second label is a shipping carrier label. Other pertinent labels, such as Country of Origin, Team Lift, or Mech Lift labels, may be required depending on shipment details.
- Pallets: A pallet is necessary for shipments transported via LTL (less-than-truckload) or FTL (full truckload). Use a GMA standard B Grade pallet or one of higher quality. The pallet weight must not exceed 1500 lbs and the pallet height must be no more than 72 inches.
In addition, each pallet must have two labels, including an FBA pallet label and a Do Not Break Stretch Wrap label, to ensure your pallets are packed and labeled correctly. Follow this comprehensive Amazon FBA packaging checklist to guarantee that your shipments meet Amazon’s packaging standards, and avoid any unforeseen discrepancies.
Material-specific FBA rules
When selling products on Amazon, there are sometimes unique packaging requirements for certain types of packaging. The goal is to ensure they arrive safely and in good condition at the Amazon fulfillment center. These inventory rules are detailed in Amazon Seller Central, but here are some of the most common instructions to keep in mind:
- Loose products: When selling loose products, they must be contained within one package. Additionally, if units are sold as sets with multiple pieces within a single box, you must mark the package with the label “Sold as set” or “Do not separate.”
- Boxed units: Box shipments must be six-sided and completely sealed, making reopening difficult. Furthermore, all boxes must withstand a medium amount of pressure on any given side to ensure there are no damages during transit.
- Poly bag units: Poly bags need an appropriate thickness to hold the products properly. We recommend using bags with a minimum thickness of at least 1.5 mils to protect your products. If the bag has an opening larger than five inches, it must have a visible suffocation warning label attached in an easy-to-find location using an appropriately-sized font. Additionally, the bag must be transparent, contain a scannable barcode, and be completely sealed in a way that it does not protrude more than 3 inches past the product’s dimensions.
- Bubble wrap: If your product needs bubble wrap, make sure it is tightly wrapped and taped to prevent it from falling out. You should attach a scannable barcode label on the outside for easy scanning. The packaging should be sturdy enough to withstand a three-foot drop test on a hard surface without the contents breaking. Bubble wrap may be required for fragile items that risk damage during transit or for heavy or dense items that could damage other shipments.
- Over-boxing: Amazon may require over-boxing in cases where there are concerns about safety, particularly during handling. This involves placing a prepared or packaged product in an extra box for added protection, even if the product is already boxed. This is typically required for sharp items that could puncture packaging materials, fragile items that failed the bubble wrap drop test, hazardous liquids in glass containers over 4.2 oz, and vinyl records.
Amazon also reserves the right to impose additional requirements such as case quantity limits or additional taping to ensure products can be fulfilled efficiently and delivered in good condition. Additionally, items with expiration dates must include the date in MM-DD-YYYY format on both the individual unit and the shipping container. For your convenience, approved supplies can be purchased directly from Amazon to make the packaging process simpler for sellers.
Understand the FBA restrictions
In addition to knowing how to ship items for FBA, it’s also vital to understand what can’t be sent to FBA warehouses. These rules may seem strict, but they’re designed to ensure all sellers have an equal shot at success in Amazon’s warehouse. Plus, they create a safe and efficient environment for FBA employees. Remember, breaking these guidelines could also lead to major consequences for your seller account, so it’s too critical to ignore.
First, when it comes to weight, don’t ship any individual boxes over 50 pounds each unless your products are considered oversized and packed one unit per box. And avoid boxes with any side over 25 inches unless your products are oversized and packed one ASIN per box.
Remember that Amazon wants to standardize its intake process, which is why shrink wrap, straps, tape, or bindings on boxes are a no-go. Any additional packaging can create more work for employees and, ultimately, more risk. You also want to ensure your pallets don’t overhang more than one inch for optimal storage and movement within the warehouse.
Finally, keep a running tally of each ASIN in every box. This means you’ll know exactly what’s in each box without having to dig through them. And don’t seal your packages until you’ve finalized their contents – it’s much easier to document everything before sealing than to open and reseal them later.
Grow with Amify
All things considered, it’s clear that meeting Amazon FBA Prep requirements is an intricate process with many components. From maintaining proper packaging and labeling requirements to meeting shipping timelines to ensuring quality assurance guidelines are met, the details can be overwhelming.
To ensure your business takes maximum advantage of Amazon’s FBA marketplace, consider turning to the team at Amify for help. We can share our deep understanding of FBA requirements and advise your business on leveraging the program to achieve your growth goals. Schedule a consultation today.