How To Package & Ship Your Products For Amazon FBA
If you’re planning to sell your products with Amazon FBA, you’ll need to ship your stock into the Amazon warehouse.
The beauty of the Amazon FBA business model is that it allows you to step back from the logistics as Amazon does all the shipping to all your customers.
However, Amazon is very tight and strict in their packaging and shipping requirements. If you don’t send your goods in as per their guidelines, you risk delays. Amazon might even reject your delivery if it doesn’t comply! And if that happens, your stock will be shipped back to the original sender and if you’re shipping from China, this can be very expensive!
So this article is all about how to package, palletize and ship your goods so that they are in line with Amazon’s guidelines.
Complying with Amazon’s guidelines means that your products will be received and unpacked as quickly as possible. That means that customers will be able to find – and buy – your products as quickly as possible too. So it’s critical that you follow all the rules or you could miss out on possible sales and incurring fines.
How to package your products for Amazon FBA
- Everything must be pre-packed together. Amazon will not assemble any units or ship separately! i.e. if you’re selling a multi-set or a bundle containing a few items, they all need to packaged together in one.
- For example, if you’re selling a trampoline that comes with the legs and net in different boxes, Amazon will not ship these out separately for you. It must be pre-packed in one.
- If your product is sensitive to dust, dirt or humidity, it will need to be packed in transparent poly bags for protection.
- Hazardous, sharp, or fragile goods will need additional protective packaging. This is so that Amazon can complete the fulfillment service safely – without your products being damaged.
- Shock-sensitive products (such as hard drives) will need sufficient protective packaging like bubble wrap. All items must be packaged individually.
If Amazon thinks you haven’t packaged breakable or dangerous goods sufficiently, they may reject your products or repackage them at your expense… so it’s important you follow the rules or you might incur extra costs!
When It Comes To Barcoding Your Product, Here’s How To Label Your Products
- There must be one visible barcode on each shippable unit
- A shippable unit is each unit that will be shipped to your customer.
- For example, if you are selling a gift set, the whole set would be the shippable unit. If you were selling the items separately, each item would be a shippable unit.
- Make sure there are no other barcodes visible, other than the Amazon FNSKU barcode. If you have other barcodes visible, these need to be covered.
- More than one visible barcode will confuse Amazon and could result in units getting lost!
- If you haven’t created your barcodes yet, check out this article on Amazon Barcodes 101 (and how to create an FNSKU barcode)
- Make sure you stick the barcode on a flat surface. If it’s around corners or curves, the label will not be scannable.
- The labels need to be printed in high-enough quality so that they won’t smear or fade. Laser-jet printers work best for this.
How To Label Your Cartons
- When you are ready to ship your stock into Amazon FBA, you will need to create a shipment plan in Seller Central.
- Here, you inform Amazon how many units you are shipping and will be given an address and labels for your cartons. This is where you can download your labels for your pallets and individual cartons.
- You might like to ask your supplier to label the cartons for you (as they will know what’s in each box!)
- Individual cartons on pallets should not weigh more than 23 kg.
- If your cartons weigh between 15 kg and 23 kg, they must be marked “Heavy Package”.
- This should be marked on both the top AND sides of each heavy-weight container.
Now that we’ve gone over how to package and label your products and their boxes correctly, let’s move onto how to pack them so they are safe for transportation. For this, your goods will typically be loaded onto pallets.
How To Package Your Pallets For Amazon FBA
- Each pallet needs the following details on the upper right-hand corner on one of the sides:
- Vendor Name
- To and From address
- PO numbers
- Number of cartons
- Pallet #____ of _____ pallets
- Use a rigid, six-sided box with flaps intact.
- If you are reusing boxes, remove all old shipping labels or markings.
- It’s best not to mix different products on your pallets. If your quantities allow, ship individual products on each pallet. All pallets carrying mixed products (even if they are similar) MUST be labeled “mixed SKUs”.
- Stretch-wrap all your pallets in clear plastic with a “do not break stretch-wrap” or “do not break down” notification. This will help your pallets arrive safely – and pallets wrapped in black or opaque stretch-wrap may be rejected by Amazon!
- Broken or damaged pallets are not acceptable and may be rejected at the merchant’s expense. You can also use regular cardboard boxes when packaging your products.
Dimensions to follow for your pallets:
- The pallets used must be the standard four-way access pallets: 1,200 mm x 1,000 mm.
- The total weight of each pallet must not weigh more than 500 kg.
- For single pallets, each individual pallet must not be over 1.8 m high.
- Make sure your products do not overhang the pallet edge by more than 25 mm.
For more info, check out Amazon’s support articles:
So there you have it – all the guidelines to follow when preparing your shipments for Amazon fulfillment centers.
Don’t forget – there are FBA inspection houses which you can use to double-check that your stock has been packaged correctly. FBA inspection houses are middle-men who check everything is in-line with Amazon’s guidelines. Typically, they charge per unit and they can even package, bundle, and label your stock too.
Finally, make sure you spend adequate time on this. It’s easy to rush this part as its the last hurdle before your stock goes live – but rushing it might cause delays and/or fines. Doing it properly will ensure that your stock is received as quickly as possible, and will be stored in preparation for upcoming orders. Good luck!