Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) sellers can enjoy the perks of the Amazon FBA program. While most of the services are done by Amazon, such as the fulfillment of orders and customer service, FBA sellers and/or their product suppliers pack the products that go to Amazon warehouses. In addition, the sellers must follow Amazon FBA packaging requirements.
In this blog post, I will discuss the different types of FBA packaging, Amazon’s packaging and preparation requirements, and how to properly label and ship packages to Amazon warehouses.
Read until the end to find out what will happen to your packages and how it will affect your inventory if you fail to follow Amazon’s packaging and prep requirements.
What are the Different Types of FBA Packaging?
If you’re an FBA seller, it is important that you ship your items to Amazon Fulfillment Center (FC) the right way. One of the things you should know is the different kinds of FBA packaging you should use.
Below are the most common types of FBA packaging you can use to send items to Amazon FC.
Most Amazon sellers prefer to send their products in a box since they are easier to store and handle. If the package will be in transit for a long period, there’s less chance that the package will be misplaced or separated.
However, Amazon sellers cannot just use any type of box for their products sent to the FCs. There are only four types of boxes that Amazon FBA sellers can use. Regular Slotted Carton (RSC), Edge Crush Test (ECT)-32 Box, 200BH, and B-flute.
RSC is made from corrugated sheets that are pre-cut and pre-creased. It has two apertures that have four flaps. This type of box can be used for almost any type of product packaging.
ECT-32 is also corrugated cardboard that has passed the edge crush test and has a rating of 32. This rating is suitable for shipping packages.
200BH (Burst Strength Box) is a type of box that can hold 65lbs as its maximum weight capacity. It is a corrugated box that passed the Mullen burst strength test when faced with 200lb/sq inch pressure.
B Flute box has a wave-like shape that is covered by two corrugated pieces of cardboard. These flutes in the box provide additional cushioning to give protection and support to the cardboard. B Flute boxes have a thickness of ⅛” and are generally shorter.
Items that can’t fit into a fixed structural pattern, such as wires and sneakers, can be packaged using polybags. It is a type of container that is made of plastic film or plastic textile.
Unlike boxes and poly bags that you can use on their own for packaging, bubble wrapped items must still be placed inside a polybag or box before shipping.
What are Amazon’s Packaging and Preparation Requirements?
Now that you know the different types of packaging used, it’s now time to know Amazon’s packaging and preparation requirements to ensure that your packages will be accepted in their FCs.
Here are the following packaging and preparation requirements that every FBA seller must follow.
- Every package should have a scannable barcode or label with a scannable barcode outside the packaging.
- Any Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU) used on the item should be unique and must match a unique product. For instance, assorted items such as different sizes or colors should have a different FNSKU.
- If there are existing barcodes on the shipping boxes, make sure to cover or remove them. This is to avoid scanning the wrong barcode. One way to cover them is by using opaque tape to cover it.
Loose products or items that come as a set must be placed in a single package securely.
- Amazon will not accept items that require assembling multiple pieces that are intended to be sold as one piece.
- Items that are not placed in secure packaging, such as pouches and loose sleeves, must be bagged or must have a removable tape or a non-adhesive band.
- There should be no exposed material when packing shoes or any type of footwear. They should be placed in shoe boxes or poly bags.
Sold as Set
- Items that are sold as a set should be marked as sets on the packaging. There should be a label that states that the item is sold as a single unit so that Amazon associates can see them easily and will not separate them. You can add labels such as “Sold as Set” or “This is a Set. Do not Separate.”
- In case the individual units in the set already have an ASIN, be sure to provide a unique ASIN for the new set.
- The barcodes for a bundled set should be covered or should face inward so that FC associates will not scan the barcode for the individual items inside the bundle.
- For boxed units should be six-sided and should not collapse when applied with medium pressure.
- The lids or openings must not open easily on their own. If the lid opens easily, use staples, glue, or tape to hold the lid and keep it closed.
- For boxes with openings or perforated sides, they should pass a 3-foot drop test. The package will be dropped on two sides and in the corner. If it fails the drop test, the package should be placed inside a polybag and must have a suffocation warning.
- Polybag used should be transparent and must have a thickness of at least 1.5 mils, and must be sealed completely.
- Polybag with a 5 inches opening or larger should have a suffocation warning on the bag.
- It should have a barcode, a scannable X00-label, or an ASIN label outside the bag.
- When packing adult products, use an opaque black polybag or shrink wrap.
- Products using a bubble wrap must be taped and wrapped tightly to avoid the item from falling and must pass the 3-foot drop tests which consist of five drops.
- It should have a scannable barcode.
- It should be used on items that are fragile or dense and heavy to avoid damaging the product and other products while in transit.
- Over-boxing is necessary for sharp products, those that failed the 3-foot drop test even when using bubble wrap, vinyl records, and liquids with hazardous content in glass containers with more than 4.2 oz.
- For items that weigh more than 10 lb, a double-wall corrugated box is required for over-boxing.
- All items in the box should have a similar SKU and must be packed together.
- There’s a limit of 150 units for every case.
- Place small products in sealed bags that are transparent.
- Place a scannable barcode with the description of the product on the area with the biggest surface.
- Don’t force an item into a very small bag, and don’t use bags that are too large for the item inside.
- Don’t pack the small items in opaque or black polybags.
- Fragile units such as ceramic and glass must be wrapped individually.
- Never leave an empty space or allowance in the package, as this may lower the chance of passing the drop test.
- For multiple units, make sure each item is individually wrapped so they won’t damage each other during transit.
How to Properly Label and Ship Packages to Amazon?
Here’s a guide on how to properly label and ship your packages to Amazon FCs.
- Every label is unique, so never photocopy, modify or reuse it. Make sure to print the full set of labels.
- Labels must have a measurement of 3 ⅓ by 4 inches.
- Never place the labels on the box opening or a seam to prevent breaking or damaging the label when opening the box.
- Place the FBA box ID and carrier label on a flat surface to ensure the barcodes will not fold. Ensure that both labels are not covered and must be readable and scannable.
- For Amazon pallet requirements, make sure they have four pallet labels placed on each side.
- Use the FBA box ID label on the larger box when shipping several case packs in one large box.
- Make sure to provide the content information for each box when creating the shipment workflow.
To ship inventory to Amazon, you need to create a shipping plan, pack your products according to Amazon packaging and labeling requirements, and send them to the designated FCs.
You can use your preferred carrier to ship your inventory to Amazon. Once inventory is received from the FC, it will be scanned and checked before it becomes available for sale.
What Will Happen if Sellers Fail to Comply with Packaging Requirements?
There are several consequences that sellers have to face in case they fail to follow Amazon’s packaging requirements. Some of these consequences are:
- Refusal of the package.
- Returning of the products.
- Disposal of inventory.
- Pay certain fees for repackaging or preparation fees if sellers fail to properly label and prepare their packages.
- Blocking of shipments in the future.
To avoid delays and paying additional fees, make sure to follow Amazon FBA packaging requirements. Be sure to read all their guidelines, as some items may require additional requirements.
Did you fail to follow one of their packaging requirements? Please tell us what happened and what you did to solve the issue in the comment section below.
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