5 Packing and Shipping Tips for Sending Packages to FBA Fulfillment Centers
In the past, Amazon sellers had to pack their products carefully to ensure their customers will receive these items in good condition.
But with the advent of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), retailers who signed up for this program can now do away with this time-consuming task since Amazon will take on the job of preparing and shipping the orders of their buyers.
However, FBA sellers are not completely free of packing and shipping chores.
Since they still need to send their inventory to an Amazon fulfillment center, they will have to go through the process of packaging their products.
This process is sometimes more challenging, especially for new FBA sellers, since Amazon has strict requirements for packaging shipments.
If you are a new FBA seller and your first batch of inventory will have to be prepared for shipping to the USA, here are five important tips you have to remember:
1. Get the right boxes
For sending shipments to a fulfillment center, use a strong, six-sided box with intact flaps. New, single-wall, ridged delivery containers that have high-burst or crush-strength are highly recommended.
Some examples of standard boxes that Amazon accepts are regular slotted cartons or RSC, B flute, and ECT-32.
It is crucial to use the right-sized box for the items you are shipping.
If you get a container that is too big, you will have to fill it up with enough packing materials to ensure that it will not collapse if heavier items are stacked on top of it while it is in transit.
This will translate to a waste of bubble wrap and increased outlay on packaging and other protective and filling supplies.
To ensure the receiving facility does not encounter any delays in getting your packages, use boxes that measure at least 15 cm x 10 cm x 2 cm, and weigh at least 0.5 kg.
However, make sure their dimensions do not exceed 45 cm on the longest side, 35 cm on the middle side, and 20 cm on the shortest side. Keep the weight under 22.67 kg as well.
If you will reuse boxes, make sure to remove the old shipping labels or markings.
2. Stock up on boxes and other packing supplies
Even if you don’t need to regularly send packages to Amazon, you may find that you suddenly need to replenish your inventory during certain times of the year.
To be sure that you can send your products to a fulfillment center quickly to meet customer demands and avoid disappointing them, it’s best to maintain a ready supply of packing essentials.
These include boxes, packing tapes, bubble wraps, and other packing materials.
Keep in mind that a lot of other Amazon sellers and e-commerce merchants need packing materials regularly as well.
To avoid running out of supplies and scrambling around to buy available ones at the last minute (which may not be of the best quality), stock up on the items you will use for packaging and shipping inventories.
3. Wrap your products correctly
Before placing your items inside the box, wrap each item separately.
If you are shipping fragile, breakable items, make sure they are properly wrapped with bubble wrap.
Use multiple layers and secure each one with packing tape.
In case you are sending items that have different parts or that need to be assembled, you need to pack all of the pieces in one secure package.
Amazon does not accept any unit with various components placed in different pouches or boxes.
These include multiple-volume set books. If you are sending these, you need to place the entire collection in a single box or package.
If you are sending items with parts that cannot be contained in the package, such as loose sleeves or pouches, place them in a bag or secure them with a non-adhesive band or removable tape.
4. Pack each box properly
Although you have wrapped each item securely, for additional protection, make sure you pack them properly in the box using the right packing materials.
Amazon has a list of acceptable packing materials to use, which are:
- Bubble wraps
- Heavy-weight craft paper and other types of full sheets of paper
- Polyethylene foam sheeting
- Inflatable air pillows
If you use other materials that are not listed above, such as packing peanuts and shredded paper, your package may not be accepted at the fulfillment center.
When placing the products inside the box, use at least 5 cm of the acceptable packing material around each item.
Place the same amount of padding or filler in between the content and the walls of the box.
Before sealing the box, wiggle it around a bit. Make sure the contents do not move when shaken.
Next, weigh the package to ensure it does not exceed the standard weight limit of 22.67 kg.
Lastly, seal the box using strong packing tape designed for shipping.
5. Label the box appropriately
Amazon will give you an FBA shipping label for each box that you will be sending. You can get this and print it from your account Shipping Queue.
If you are still creating your shipment plan, make sure you use a single address label that has the complete delivery and return information.
Additionally, ensure that it has your correct name, the Amazon reference ID and shipment ID, and the name and SCAC code of the carrier.
It should have the shipping reference number of your shipping carrier or freight forwarder as well.
Put the printed label on an easily noticeable part of the box. Avoid placing it across the seams since these will be cut.
If you are shipping multiple boxes, make sure you place the right label on the corresponding container.
In case you reused an old box, remove any irrelevant barcodes from its surface.
As a bonus tip, find a shipping or freight forwarding company that offers packing services.
These carriers have trained teams that will pack your inventory in the manner recommended by the FBA center.
When your package is received and stocked in the fulfillment center without delay, you can sell and send your products immediately and start earning as soon as possible.
As such, when arranging your shipping or freight booking, find out if the carrier offers packing services so that you can skip this time-consuming, painstaking process.
You will be sure your inventory won’t encounter any delays and will be stocked by Amazon straightaway as well.
As Chief Product Officer for Shipa Freight, Paul Rehmet is responsible for translating the vision of Shipa Freight into an easy-to-use online freight platform for our customers.
Formerly Vice President of Digital Marketing for Agility, Paul managed Agility’s website, mobile apps, content marketing and online advertising campaigns.
In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways.
Paul has a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Brown University. Paul is based in Philadelphia.