It is becoming quite clear that sellers on Amazon are opting against Amazon FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) in favor of the more time-efficient approach of Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) to boost sales.
As of 2023, 73% of Amazon sellers utilize Amazon FBA to fulfill orders, and whether you are new to Amazon FBA or are considering implementing FBA into your brand’s business strategy, it’s easy to see why you may be tempted to try it.
In order to sell products through Amazon FBA, you must adhere to how Amazon FBA works, meaning that there are packaging requirements you have to honor to avoid Amazon’s refusal of your inventory.
If your products aren’t prepped and packaged in congruence with Amazon’s guidelines, you risk having to pay additional FBA fees and could even have your ability to utilize Amazon fulfillment centers revoked.
Don't worry - at OA Cheddar; we have produced an informative guide that strives to shed light on the different rules and regulations that Amazon sellers must adhere to to start a prosperous FBA business.
What is Amazon FBA?
Before we explore the Amazon FBA packaging requirements, you need to know what exactly Amazon FBA means and what it can do for you as an FBA seller.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) takes care of all of your storage, packaging, and shipping needs.
Thus, Amazon FBA is a service that is designed to save time and grant flexibility to the typical Amazon FBA seller. Furthermore, the time that you save by using Amazon’s fulfillment centers can be put to better use.
For instance, you could be browsing through first-rate repricing software like BQool, which dynamically adjusts your pricing strategies to boost your profit margins.
Can You Become One of The Highly Successful FBA Sellers?
Simply put, the answer is yes, but there are some requirements that every Amazon seller must meet to do so.
What you can sell on Amazon FBA is reliant on the brand, product and category. While some products are eligible to sell for any Amazon seller, some products require a professional Amazon seller account.
Note: we only recommend a professional selling plan for the Amazon seller who intends to sell more than 40 units per month.
Check Amazon's FBA product restrictions page to familiarize yourself with what you cannot sell.
You are now ready to organize your FBA inventory and ship it off to one of Amazon's fulfilment centers.
So, what requirements must you follow to store products in Amazon's fulfillment centers and send FBA shipments?
Amazon FBA Labeling Requirements
Before we delve into packaging requirements, it is vital that you have a complete understanding of the rules of Amazon’s shipping labels and how to use them.
- Print your labels in black and white.
- Size your labels between one and two inches.
- Place a white space around the barcode with an SKU or ASIN number included in the label. The product title and condition must be placed next to these details.
- Use laser or thermal printers to print labels. Inkjet printers should be avoided.
- Your barcode should be scannable for up to 24 months.
- Other barcodes should not be visible or on top of prep materials.
- Labels should not be placed on the corners or curves of the package.
- There should be a 0.25-inch gap between the label and the package.
Similar to FBM shipping label requirements in nearly every way, if you are an FBA seller, there are a few distinctions that you should be aware of:
- Individual products must have appropriate, organized labeling and packaging. However, running an Amazon business can be highly demanding, and you may worry about finding time to sort out the finer details. Amazon can do this for you, but you have to decide if it's worth the unplanned service fees.
- Secondly, the labeling and packaging for products shipped in bulk are slightly different. If you are sending pallets to an Amazon fulfillment center, every individual item must have respective pallet labels.
For instance, if you have four pallets, you need four pallet labels and four carrier labels placed on all four sides.
Once prepped together, they must be labeled as ‘sell as set’.
Foremost, you mustn’t forget to include a barcode on your shipping label. This applies to both individual and bulk products.
FBA requires the use of barcodes to identify and track an FBA seller’s inventory so that Amazon can tell which products belong to your seller account.
When sending units to the fulfillment centers of your choosing, you must ensure every unit has a scannable barcode.
There are two types of barcodes available:
It’s a default setting within Amazon to use a manufacturer barcode (this could be a UPC, EAN or GTIN barcode) unless you manually change it in your Seller Central account.
This means that the barcodes that are already printed on your products can be used, making it so that you don’t have to apply an Amazon barcode label.
If you would prefer for your inventory not to be commingled with the stock of another Amazon FBA seller, you can still opt to use Amazon barcode labels on your units.
However, if you still wish to use a manufacturer's barcode, you run the risk of Amazon sending the same product from a different supplier if their stock is stored in a closer warehouse.
Things to remember:
- Some products are not eligible to use manufacturers' barcodes. For instance, products with expiration dates will require an Amazon barcode.
- If the manufacturer’s barcode maps to more than one ASIN, then you will be expected to use an Amazon barcode.
Amazon Barcodes (FNSKU)
The application of an Amazon barcode is vital if you are not using a manufacturer’s barcode.
You can place these FBA shipment labels on every one of your units yourself. You can have your supplier print the barcode on top of your FBA packaging materials. Alternatively, if you don't mind incurring extra fulfillment fees, you can have Amazon label your products.
Having an Amazon barcode makes your inventory easier to track, so we recommend that you always opt for to use an FNKSU wherever possible.
Amazon FBA Packaging Requirements
So, you know what you must include and how you should present the carrier label that will sit atop the packing materials that you send to a fulfillment center.
It's time to familiarize yourself with the Amazon FBA packaging requirements. Don't worry - we will cover everything from shipping boxes to bubble wrap so that you can effectively conduct order fulfillment.
Every loose product (when sold together) must be sent to Amazon fulfillment centers in a completely sealed, single package.
Units that aren't contained in a package must be then alternatively secured with easily removable packing tape.
The barcode must always be scannable and unobscured by any bags or tape.
Poly Bag Units
Poly bags are ideal for clothing and footwear as they effectively prevent potential damages that may occur during the shipping process. Here are some things you should know about using a poly bag:
Source: Poly bags
- Poly bags with a 5-inch opening or larger (this measurement is taken when flat) must have a suffocation warning.
- The thickness of the bag must be at least a thousandth of an inch.
- The bag must be transparent.
- The poly bag must have a visible, scannable barcode.
- Poly bags must be completely sealed.
- The poly bag or shrink wrap mustn't protude more than three inches past the dimensions of the product.
- Adult products must be packaged with black or opaque poly bags/shrink wrap.
Amazon sellers who use shipping boxes must ensure that said shipping box is six-sided and difficult to reopen. Like all types of Amazon FBA packaging, an FBA box must be fully sealed.
Shipping boxes must be able to withstand medium amounts of pressure without collapsing.
If your shipping box has perforated sides and doesn't pass a three-foot drop test, you must place your product in a poly bag.
Bubble wrap may be required if the item you wish to start selling is fragile.
You must make sure your items are tightly wrapped, labelled with a carrier label that is scannable and able to pass a three-foot drop test.
Blister packs are used for smaller items that need to be sterilized.
Toothbrushes and pills are good examples of products that require a blister pack.
Products that expire must include the date of expiry on the exterior of your shipping box. The expiration date must be in a large font and on every individual unit.
Expiration dates must be in the format of MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY.
Lastly, the date of expiry must be accessible to Amazon's fulfillment centers during the receiving process.
All boxes with the same product must contain equal quantities and have matching FNSKU.
Amazon-Approved Packing Materials For Amazon Sellers
- Bubble wrap.
- Full sheets of paper.
- Inflatable air pillows.
- Polyethene foam sheeting.
Optimize Your FBA Shipments: Where to Get Packaging Materials
Unsurprisingly, an Amazon seller can get the majority of their packaging materials from Amazon!
Tip: we recommend that you use B-flute or regular slotted carton (RSC) box types! These types of shipping boxes are highly efficient and accepted by Amazon!
FBA Inbound Shipping Requirements
When you're happy with how your product is packaged, you are ready to start shipping out your inventory via shipping boxes to Amazon fulfillment centers!
From here, you must provide content information to your Amazon fulfillment center. You must include what products you're sending and their quantities.
To ensure your products are in an acceptable, undamaged condition, we have a few tips to help you:
- The maximum shipping box dimensions are no more than 25 inches on each side.
- The maximum shipping box weight is 50 lbs.
- Use a single address label that has clear delivery and return information on it.
- Your shipping box must be six-sided and intact.
- Every box must have its own unique FBA Box ID Label. Every pallet requires four FBA Pallet ID Labels, one on the top center of each side.
- For multiple case packs that are shipped in larger boxes, the FBA Box ID Label must be on the exterior of the primary shipping box.
- If you are reusing boxes, remember to remove old labels.
- Render any old unusable barcodes unscannable with opaque tape or black felt-tip markers.
- Wrap items, respectively.
- Ensure the packaging materials are approved by Amazon.
- Use 2 inches of cushioning in your shipping boxes to protect your items.
Get Started with OA Cheddar
Now that you have gained valuable insights into how Amazon FBA works, it is time to employ useful FBA tools to develop your career further. This is where OA Cheddar enters the picture.
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