Written by Jodie Pride
16th July 2015 • 8 min read
Fulfilment by Amazon is Amazon’s service which allows you to store your products in their fulfilment centers. They will also pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products so that you don’t have to, leaving you to focus on sourcing your inventories and also allowing you to take a large cut of the sale for yourself.
As a 3rd party Amazon seller you’re responsible for your own fulfillments including packaging, shipping and customer service. When customer expectations are not met you’ll be faced with the irksome task of returns and refunds, but handing the responsibility of order fulfilment over to Amazon FBA could be the answer to your problems, allowing you to focus firmly on the selling side of business.
Adding FBA to your Amazon seller account is both quick and easy:
If you’re selling on Amazon, register your Amazon account for FBA by going to Amazon’s dedicated FBA page and clicking “Get Started”.
Secondly, select the option “Add FBA to your account” if you already have a Selling on Amazon account. If you don’t currently have an Amazon seller account, select the option to “Register for FBA today”
Review Product Labelling Requirements
Amazon’s receiving systems and catalogs are barcode-driven.
Each item you send to Amazon for fulfillment needs to have an Amazon product label so that Amazon can associate the unit with your account. These labels can be printed from Seller Central as you create a shipment to Amazon.
You have three options for labeling your products:
- Print and apply Amazon product labels to each unit.
- If your items are eligible, you can sign up for Stickerless Commingled Inventory, which eliminates the need for a separate product label. For more information about commingled inventory, go to the Skip Product Labeling with Stickerless Commingled Inventory section below.
- You can use the FBA Label Service if you would like us to label your eligible products for you. Learn more about the FBA Label Service. If your items are eligible and you have chosen the commingled inventory option, or if you opted to use the FBA Label Service to have Amazon label your items for you, then you can begin to Package and Prepare Your Products.
Sending Products to Amazon’s Fulfilment Centres
There are 2 main areas you need to focus on when sending your items to Amazon’s fulfilment centres:
Labelling your products correctly
Each item sent to Amazon has to be labelled with a scannable barcode so the fulfilment centre can help you pick and pack products when fulfilling your order.
When labelling, make sure that:
- Labels are stuck to flat surfaces as they won’t be scannable on curves or corners.
- It’s clear which barcode is yours – cover up any other visible barcodes so not to confuse warehouse operatives which could result in lost items.
- Labels are printed with high-quality ink so that they won’t smudge or fade.
- Labels include: Barcode; FNSKU (Amazon fulfilment centre identification); title and description; and product condition (new or used).
Packaging your units for shipping, and labeling each package properly
You need to package your items securely to avoid any damage during transit. All boxes and packets should be packed tightly with padding material to minimize excess space. Amazon does not allow you to bundle packages with tape, bags or straps, and stuffing material cannot be packing peanuts, crinkle wrap or paper confetti.
Amazon’s guidelines for certain products, so if you are selling any of the following, look up their specifics in Amazon’s shipping guide.
- Loose products
- Sold as sets
- Boxed units
- Poly-bagged units
- Case-packaged items
- Expiration dated items
You are not permitted to include any marketing materials (such as pricing tags and pamphlets) with your goods. Amazon also has tips for packing certain items you’d want to protect from damages caused by handling in the warehouse and durings shipping, including liquids, fragile items, jewellery and sharp objects.
Organizing and correctly labelling your packages will ensure that Amazon will be able to receive and sort your products efficiently so that you can start selling goods as soon as possible.
Some of the most common errors that Amazon encounters when people ship their inventory to their warehouses involve:
- Mislabeling, where the product doesn’t match the product label
- Missing label, where the product wasn’t labeled with the Amazon product label at all
- Barcode unreadable due to poor placement
- Shipping requirements issues: any of the above shipping guidelines was not followed, impeding the warehouse staff from properly receiving your products
Amazon recommends that you have the following in order for shipping:
- Designated product and shipment prep workstation
- Thermal or laser printer
- Scale for weighing boxes
- Measuring tape to measure boxes
- Printed copies of the Prep Matrix and Shipping Matrix
- Product labels (printed from your account, if applicable)
- Paper for packing slips
- Tape Dunnage (packing materials)
- Boxes Poly bags (at least 1.5 mils thick)
- Opaque bags (adult products only)
- Bubble wrap “Sold as Set” or “Ready to Ship” labels
Amazon also recommends that your products should be “ecommerce ready” so they can be safely and securely transported throughout the fulfilment cycle and so that there’s no delays or charges involved once the items reach the warehouse.
The guidelines are there to make sure that Amazon can organise your inventory for you so that you can sell your products – all you need to do is make sure to follow the instructions, and you can’t really go wrong.
Wondering how to sell on Amazon? Check out more of our blog posts!
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