Not sure how to get your products prepped for FBA management? Start here with our simple guide on product packaging requirements.
April 19, 2022
Are you new to selling on Amazon? One of the preliminary issues you’ll have to address is how to get your products packaged and sent off to Amazon in compliance with all Amazon guidelines.
The Ultimate Process of Product Packaging on Amazon
Prepping your packages correctly is essential when selling on Amazon. If you don’t follow all of Amazon’s guidelines, you may be subject to fees from Amazon, receive your inventory back from the warehouse, and ultimately be unable to sell your products effectively.
These guidelines are subject to change, as Amazon is always updating its requirements. In this guide, we have summarized the most important elements of proper FBA packaging. It is always a good idea, however, to verify Amazon’s most recent guidelines before getting started.
What is Amazon FBA?
FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. FBA is one of three kinds of fulfillment that sellers can choose for their products when selling online. This is the standard for sellers who wish to majorly grow their brand and experience top-level success as online sellers. That being said, there are other options for sellers.
FBM is Fulfillment by Merchant. Sellers using FBM are responsible for managing their own inventory and sending all packages out to customers themselves. Most FBM sellers do not have access to Prime - however, there is a subcategory of FBM called SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime) in which these sellers can enjoy the benefits of Prime.
There are fees associated with FBA, but they are certainly worth it. Using FBA allows you to easily access prime, advertise free shipping for your listings, enjoy customer service by Amazon, and reduce the hassle of a return.
No matter how you decide to manage your inventory and shipping, your packaging will still need to abide by all Amazon packaging requirements. In this article, we’ll be exclusively referring to FBA prep, although many of the requirements are the same.
How Do I Package Products For Amazon FBA?
When you use FBA, you send inventory to Amazon’s warehouse and they process it for shipping at the time of order.
When sending your inventory en masse to Amazon, it must be packaged according to these guidelines:
- All items must be wrapped individually.
- There must be two inches of cushioning between each item and the interior of the box.
- All products must be packaged in a secure, six-sided box. Flaps must be functional & intact.
- If you are using pallets, each pallet must be labeled four times. Labels should be placed on the center of each side.
- All boxes on a pallet must also be labeled individually.
- Each box must include its own FBA shipment label. These can be found in the Shipping Queue on Seller Central.
- If using a master carton, you will need to place your unique shipping label on the master carton.
- You may reuse boxes - but they must be rigid and free from old shipping labels or markings.
- Use a single address label clearly marked with the proper delivery and return information. Amazon must have a return address in order to properly manage your inventory, in case they must send it back.
- Reduce delays by choosing boxes that are at least 6” x 4” by 1” and at least 1 lb in weight. Try to keep it under 25” on any given side and under 50 lb.
- Use approved packing materials, like polyethylene foam sheeting, bubble wrap, air pillows, and sheets of paper. Do not use packing peanuts, foam strips, crinkle wrap, styrofoam, or shredded paper.
- Use approved boxes such as RSC, B-flute, ECT-32, and 200 lb/sq inch burst strength boxes.
- Each individual unit must be labeled properly according to the below labeling standards.
- Products must be packaged in accordance with the category in which they are sold.
- If you are selling a multi-pack, these must be clearly labeled as such.
- Products over 10 pounds, products that fail a 3-foot drop test, or particularly vulnerable products may require over boxing to secure the package.
- When packaging in cases, each case must contain the same number of identical products with the same SKU. You may include up to 150 items per case maximum.
- Expiration dates must be labeled clearly in MM-DD-YYYY format when applicable.
Make sure you review your packaging a few times before you send it in. Always shake your boxes before finalizing them to ensure minimal moving around inside. This will help protect your items.
For those who are selling private labels, your products should be packaged just as your customer will receive them. Be sure to include well-branded packaging that fits with your brand identity as a whole!
How Should I Label Products For Amazon FBA?
Labels need to have adhered to almost every step of the way with Amazon FBA prep. Your individual items need labels, the boxes in which they come need labels, and so do cartons and pallets. Labels go everywhere, and they ensure accuracy in the delivery phase.
If you don’t label items correctly, you will be charged or have your items sent back if Amazon is unable to fix these errors.
First, it’s important to ensure that all of your products have a proper barcode on them. If you are selling in multi-packs, make sure it is clear on the multi-packs that they cannot be separated. Otherwise, put a barcode with your unique ASIN number on the exterior of the individual product in question, or the poly bags/custom packaging option you have for each individual item.
Next, all your boxes will need to be labeled. Every box must contain its own shipping label. These are generated for you in Seller Central when you set up an inventory shipment to an Amazon warehouse.
In addition to individual boxes being labeled, all cartons need to be labeled as well. Cartons are for shipments up to 30kg. Any box weighing more than 15kg must be labeled as a heavyweight box, and have its own shipping ID. Include this label on all four sides of the package, regardless of weight.
All cartons should be placed onto pallets. These pallets will also be labeled. Each pallet needs a shipping label with a proper return address, the seller's name, and the shipping address.
You will need to specify how many cartons are included in the pallet and how many pallets are in the shipment. All pallet labels should be on the upper right-hand side of the pallet. Pallets must also be stretch wrapped in clear plastic with a “do not break stretch wrap” warning located somewhere on the pallet. Pallets may not be damaged - if you do send in damaged pallets, Amazon may not receive them.
A few more things to consider about pallets:
- Your pallet may not weigh more than 500kgs.
- Pallets may not exceed a total height of 1.8 meters.
- There may be no merchandise hanging over the pallet’s edge.
- Your pallets must be standard-sized, 12000mm by 1000 mm.
- You can either send bulk shipment pallets or mixed merchandise pallets. Any bulk shipments must include only similar items. Mixed merchandise pallets must include a label of “mixed SKUs” or “mixed merchandise.”
Exploring Packaging Options
Packaging is not something that most Amazon sellers want to deal with. This is why we recommend working with a third party who can prepare your products for you. Ideally, you want to find someone to do this who is familiar with Amazon FBA services, has ample customization options, and is willing to include product inserts upon request.
You can work with people with ample experience regarding Amazon FBA packaging and prep requirements. Your product boxed units will meet FBA packaging requirements through elements like pre-priced labels or price tags, and Amazon preferred poly bags, etc. You could also buy Amazon packaging supplies to align all your branding efforts and make it easier for consumers to accept marketing materials from you.
Getting custom packaging for your products, rather than allowing your products to be commingled, is a great way to streamline this process and enhance your brand image in the meantime.
This kind of preparation requires a bit more than DIY can offer. If you’re looking for help from the pros, look no further. EcomHub is now offering professional branding and packaging solutions for e-commerce sellers just like you. All of our solutions abide by Amazon’s standards, and we're able to help you with product inserts when you're ready to include them as well. You can find more info about our packaging solutions here.
Amazon packaging guidelines are intense, there’s no way around that. But it is essential to abide by all of Amazon’s requirements in order to avoid fees or doubling your own workload. Need help with your packaging? EcomHub has got your back. We’ll help you create beautiful packaging that abides by all Amazon standards while showcasing your brand perfectly. Let’s chat and get started!
Julia Grant is a copywriter specializing in e-commerce and small business, helping businesses expand their reach with copy that clearly communicates their message and converts. She is a certified translator and interpreter and prides herself on providing culturally relevant content in both English and Spanish.See more posts from this author