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Can I Drive My Products To Amazon FBA?

Working on getting your inventory ready for Amazon FBA? Here's our guide to prepping your products correctly.

David Zaleski

September 27, 2021

How Do I Get Products Ready For Amazon FBA?

Fulfillment by Amazon is a great tool for your Amazon store. It provides quick shipping and easy shopping for your customers, and it’s convenient for you. Your least expensive option with FBA involves you prepping packages and sending them to an Amazon fulfillment center. Let’s “unpack” 😏 exactly what you need to do to get your products FBA ready.

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Source: Giphy

Packaging Basics

There are a few things you will need for all or nearly all types of products. Here is a list of those items: 

  • Barcode Label: Each item will need to be labeled clearly so that Amazon can scan and ship your products. Make sure the barcode is clear and in plain sight. It cannot be covered in any way. If you’re unsure if your label is printed correctly, visit Amazon’s instruction page to check up on specific requirements here.
  • Bubble Wrap: For breakable items. The bubble wrap must be tight around the object and closed so that the product cannot slip out. A barcode must be placed on the exterior of the wrap. It must also be able to pass a 3-foot drop test - so make sure you wrap your product well.
  • Poly Bags: These polyurethane bags will protect your items from getting dirty or wet, as well as contain any spills that may happen or loose pieces from the product. If your product requires a polybag, it needs to be clear and at least 1.5mm thick. 

The barcode must be able to be scanned through the bag, or affixed to the outside of the bag. If the bag has an opening of more than 5 inches (when laid flat), you also must affix a suffocation warning to it. 

Items that may require poly bags include pellets, powders, and granular products, liquids, gels, pastes, and creams, plush units, apparel, fabrics, and textiles, jewelry, small products, baby products, adult products, Plexiglas, and batteries.

  • Shrink Wrap: This will be used to keep items together that come as a set. If your item is a set, Amazon requires that you package it together so that they do not have to find each piece during fulfillment. Shrinkwrap is a handy way to do that quickly. 
  • Boxes: Boxes are required for most items that do not already come in a box. Some items that come in boxes, like snacks with perforated boxes, do require extra packaging to keep them from tearing open too early. Additionally, you may need to “over-box” items that are sharp, fragile, or toxic. 
  • Tape: Some products will be required to be taped shut or require extra taping on the packaging. Keep quality packing tape on hand.

Note: with the exception of baby items, Amazon requires you to remove hangers for almost all other apparel items as part of the prep process.

You can find these items at office supply stores, or order them online in bulk from stores like Uline or even Amazon Business.

Finding Your Package Requirements

When packaging your items, you must visit the “Prep required” tab on the “Prepare Products” page to be sure exactly what needs to happen for each product. Follow the instructions for each product carefully, because you can be charged if you send a shipment of products that don’t meet the specific guidelines for the given category. 

Here are Amazon’s prep categories as per their website:

List of Amazon's prep categories as per their website.
Source: Amazon

As long as you have on hand all the items listed above, you should have no problem meeting the specific requirements listed for your product. 

Items you cannot ship: Clothing on hangers, expired products, perishable items.

Note: The shipping of live animals is also prohibited. 

GIF of chihuahua being wrapped in green bubble wrap next to packing boxes.
Source: Giphy

Standard Requirements

Always check Amazon’s requirements page first - as these details may change as regulations change. As of late 2021, here are some general guidelines you can follow.

Products that require bubble wrap: 

  • Fragile items. Any item made of glass, porcelain, or other delicate materials will need to be protected with bubble wrap or another protective packaging. 
  • Tools, knives, or other metal items that may be sharp. 

Products that require a polybag: 

  • Small pieces. Anything smaller than 2 inches (measure the longest side) needs to be in a bag so it doesn’t get lost.
  • Clothing, stuffed animals, general fabric items. The polybag keeps them clean and dry while they travel.
  • Liquids. The polybag keeps liquids in and away from other products in case of breaks and spills. 
  • Toys and baby items. These items must stay clean and dry.
  • Powders, grains, and similar items. Similar to liquids, you’ll want these in bags in case of spills.
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Source;: Giphy

A Few More Things to Know

There are a couple more rules that you can find from your Amazon seller central account, to be aware of before you send your items off.

  • Rules may overlap. For example, if your product is very small (under 2 inches) but also fragile, it will need to be wrapped in bubble wrap AND placed in a polybag for best results.
  • You can pack units in “cases” - meaning you can put several smaller items in one large box. The way to make sure Amazon is aware of this is to only put your barcodes on the items themselves, not on the outside of the box. 
  • When you are packing items into boxes, if you are out of bubble wrap, you can use crumpled paper or another large packing, but do not use packing peanuts or small piece packing similar to them. 
  • If you are placing a barcode label on the outside of your box, do not put it over the edges or the opening of the box. Place it on a completely flat surface. 
  • Any items that may expire will need to have an expiration date clearly visible. This could be visible through a clear poly bag, on the outside of a box, or you can add an extra label to the outside of a box or bubble wrap with the date noted. 
  • Amazon has specific rules (and even months!) for selling temperature-sensitive products. Check out their page here for more on when you can send these in. 

If you have a unique product and you’re unsure about the rules, e.g. a small parcel delivery or a private label product, check out the Amazon Fulfillment page for prep guidance specific to your item. This is a lot to take in - but you’ll get the hang of it as you go.

 

Ways to Avoid the Hassle

You don’t have to prep items for Amazon. You can simply have your inventory sent there and allow them to prepare everything for you - although this will cost you some extra money. To do this, you must enable the “FBA Prep Service” in your FBA settings. You can make this the default by selecting Amazon in the “Who Preps?” portion of your FBA settings.

With this option selected, you still have to take care of shipping labels of products. But Amazon will manage inventory from Amazon FBA warehouses. To avoid this, enable the “FBA Label Service” in your FBA settings as well. You can make this the default by selecting Amazon in the “Who Labels?” portion of your FBA settings.

Both of these services that Amazon provides cost extra money per item that Amazon preps and/or labels for you. This cost will differ depending on what category your item falls into and how much prep work is involved.

There are also a variety of third-party services you can utilize to handle labeling and prep work for you - for a fee, of course.

If you are too busy to take the time to prepare your items and be confident that you are meeting all of Amazon’s requirements, using FBA Prep and Label Services or using a third party will be your best option.

Did you know? You can avoid preparing your items by using Amazon's FBA Prep Service and FBA Label Service.

Conclusion

Be sure to check Amazon first when it comes to preparing your products. We can provide guidance, but Amazon is constantly updating and revising its instructions and requirements. Keep on hand the products mentioned in this article, and consider using FBA Prep and FBA Label Service (or a third party) to handle the prep/label work for you!

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David Zaleski

David Zaleski is an entrepreneur, Amazon seller, and the founder of EcomHub. He's been operating in the eCommerce space since the age of 14 years old. At the age of 18, he started his own Amazon business with just $4,800 in start-up capital.

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