Amazon FBA Prep Requirements: Our Checklist
Few services make e-commerce easy like Amazon FBA. Amazon FBA excels at processing vast quantities of products, shipping them to your customers with speed and efficiency. This service does require that you take certain preparatory steps before delivering your packages, though, and failure to follow FBA prep requirements could cause you to incur great costs.
There’s no need for you to go through the entire prep process again just because you made a mistake. We want you to avoid any stress or headaches so you can focus on what truly matters: giving your customers the products they want.
Streamline Fulfillment explains FBA prep requirements and how to follow them for a seamless and straightforward shipping experience. We provide Amazon fulfillment services and help countless business owners handle their logistical operations.
Amazon FBA Explained
Amazon FBA, or Fulfilled By Amazon, offers e-commerce retailers a convenient way to deliver goods. By outsourcing packaging and delivery to dedicated third-party centers, you can avoid time-consuming and expensive logistical tasks, avoiding stress in the process.
Amazon FBA relies on certain information to keep your operations afloat. The services require that all products feature three barcodes: manufacturer-affixed, Amazon-affixed, and transparency authenticity codes.
Manufacturer-affixed codes are your standard barcodes — ISBN, JAN, and UPC, among others. The Amazon-affixed barcode, or FNSKU, is a proprietary code the company uses to track products within its system. Finally, the transparency authenticity code serves as an additional anti-counterfeiting measure.
Once you’ve squared your product barcodes away, you can participate in the FBA system.
Amazon FBA Checklist Steps
It’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with Amazon’s Terms of Services and requirements before participating in the FBA program. All too often, e-commerce professionals fail to properly adhere to Amazon’s guidelines. Here are several crucial requirements that you should follow when preparing your merchandise for Amazon’s FBA program.
Many sellers sleepwalk into the preparation process, purchasing only a few of the tools they need to prepare their items. While obtaining the right supplies can be a hassle, it helps avoid small mistakes that can add up over time.
You’ll need certain items before you start preparing your shipments. Some of the items you need for your shipment preparation include:
- Measuring tools, such as a scale and measuring tape
- Packaging items, like poly and opaque bags, bubble wrap, tape, boxes, and paper
- A printer with thermal capability
- A dedicated workstation
Don’t forget the labels and barcodes Amazon needs to track your packages.
Consider Prep Center Preparation
You have the option of either packaging your items yourself or delegating the responsibility to a prep center. Prep centers are operated by third-party companies that work with Amazon and the FBA program. Providing shipping equipment and labels to optimize e-commerce operations, these centers are quite popular among many retailers.
The downside of prep centers is the cost: typically about $0.35/unit for an Amazon FNSKU label. Additional charges may make these services more expensive.
FBA prep requirements allow for several types of packaging. Poly bags and boxes are the most popular.
Boxes are the easiest to use since they’re simple to handle and effective for storage. Amazon supports the following box types:
- B Flute: Flute boxes use three-layered lining. Two layers of corrugated cardboard cover a wave-shaped portion in between. B flute boxes feature medium-grade construction, while other varieties vary in thickness and strength.
- ECT-32: ECT refers to Edge Crush Test. ECT-32 boxes pass this safety test with flying colors, achieving a rating of 32, hence the name.
- 200 Burst Strength: This box packs a hefty punch. It can handle pressure levels up to 200 pounds per square inch for a total load-bearing capacity of 65 pounds. Retailers specializing in heavy and fragile merchandise rely on this box and tend to prefer this box.
- Regular Slotted Carton: These shipping cartons are your standard type of box. The carton dimensions vary depending on the size, although Amazon regulations stipulate specific limits.
Amazon regulations govern both carton weight and size. Regular boxes should feature a median side under 14 inches and the smallest side under 8 inches. The longest portion can be up to 18 inches long.
Larger boxes are available for use, but they require classification as oversized products. Regular boxes must weigh under or at 50 pounds.
Poly bags are an alternative to boxes. Poly bags may go inside boxes or stand alone. Poly bags with suffocation warning labels are mandatory for items with 5-inch or larger openings to protect children.
Amazon stipulates two additional requirements for poly bags: side restrictions and transparency. All sides must be at least 1.5mm in thickness, and the bag itself has to be transparent.
Both boxed and bagged items prone to damage may benefit from bubble wrap. Bubble-wrapped items must pass a three-foot drop test. After tightly wrapping an item and applying a label, drop the item five times on each of its sides to test it.
Consider Additional Requirements
Case-packed items come in bulk quantities. Any shipment box that features more than one of the same or similar items at a consistent quantity rate counts as case-packed.
Multiple case-packed boxes only require one scan to process. However, case-packed items have to meet specific specifications. Individual boxes cannot contain more than 150 units, and, as stated, each box has to have the same number of items.
Clothing items also have specific rules. You cannot ship clothing items with hangers. However, there are three exceptions to this rule: suit items, baby clothes with mini hangers, and dresses valued at over $300 may come packaged with hangers.
Amazon FBA prep requirements mandate certain shipping marks and labels for all participating items. You may feel confused or concerned about accidentally missing one of these labels. Fortunately, complying with Amazon’s regulations doesn’t have to be hard.
Start with barcodes. As stated, there are three main types of barcodes. Your product must include a manufacturer-affixed barcode if you are participating in the FBA Label Service. Items without barcodes by default should have an Amazon FNSKU barcode attached, yet items with a manufacturer-affixed code should also feature an Amazon code.
Any self-labeled items need an Amazon code.
Safety labels pertaining to item fragility and size may be necessary. If you are shipping an oversized item that weighs more than 50 pounds, attach “Team Lift” safety labels on the sides and top portion of the box. Do likewise with an oversized item weighing more than 100 pounds, although in this case, apply a “Mechanical Lift” label instead.
After applying these safety compliance labels, turn your attention to shipping concerns. All Amazon FBA products need a shipment ID label. Place this distinguishing feature in a visible and easy-to-locate place.
Include a scannable barcode, ship-to, and ship-from address as well. Amazon needs these features to keep track of your item as it travels to its final destination.
Smaller parcels require additional labels. These items should feature both a shipping and FBA label. Both stickers should rest at least 1 1/4 inch away from the box’s sides. Never place them on top of seams or edges, as this may interfere with the shipping process and prevent Amazon from monitoring your items throughout transit.
Truckload items require four FBA shipping labels, each placed on the top center of the pallet’s sides. The pallets must be no more than 72 inches in height. We recommend using a 40×48-inch wooden pallet, although larger units are available for bigger items.
How to Avoid Amazon FBA Shipping Errors
There are some common mistakes retailers make when shipping items through the FBA program. Many vendors use forbidden packaging items, such as styrofoam, foam strips, shredded paper, and packing peanuts. These packaging items are not permitted for use, although you can instead use air pillows or full sheets of paper.
Take the time to read more about potential mistakes you should avoid when following Amazon’s FBA prep requirements. Talk with the experts from Streamline Fulfillment. We’re more than glad to help you improve and optimize your FBA experience.
Take Advantage of Streamline Fulfillment’s High-Quality Fulfillment Services
New and experienced vendors alike are prone to making mistakes with the FBA service. With so many criteria to keep track of, it’s entirely possible to make even a tiny mistake. We are glad to help you avoid any potential issues by preparing your merchandise for Amazon FBA.
We offer fulfillment services in Los Angeles for e-commerce business owners keen on improving their operations. Look no further than our dependable experts for the assistance you need to make your business thrive.
We make shipping and storage easy. We prioritize our relationship with you, the customer, above all else. Our unique focus on small-to-medium-sized businesses sets us apart from the competition.
Don’t hesitate to work with Los Angeles’ finest fulfillment services.
To learn more about FBA prep requirements and how to follow them, call (508) 888-2880. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with one of our team members. Streamline Fulfillment is here for you.