Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a streamlined service that provides access to Amazon’s logistics network. Businesses send products to fulfillment centres and when a customer makes a purchase, Amazon takes care of the receiving, packing, shipping, customer service, and returns for those orders. Many sellers choose to use Amazon FBA because it’s easy, reliable, and your products will be Amazon Prime eligible. Amazon FBA can help sellers scale their business and reach more customers.
What is fulfillment?
Fulfillment is the process of receiving and storing inventory, then packing and shipping the inventory out to ecommerce customers. If you are a first time seller on Amazon, you can choose between in-house fulfillment, Amazon FBA, or another strategy. It’s important to make sure your fulfillment service works best for you and your business needs. Ecommerce customers value quick shipping times, so it’s important to get fulfillment right.
How do I ship my items to Amazon FBA?
If you are a first time seller, shipping to Amazon FBA may seem confusing at first thought. Essentially, FBA allows you to ship your inventory to one of Amazon’s 75 warehouses in North America, or one of Amazon’s 175 warehouses across the world. Because of the high volume of shipments, Amazon has some strict shipping guidelines that sellers must follow. All products must be labeled and shipped properly, as well prepared for the safety of the item and the employees handling the item.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to ship to Amazon FBA.
Create a Shipping Plan
The first step to shipping to Amazon FBA is creating a shipping plan. A shipping plan will identify:
- The items you are sending to Amazon
- The quantities
- Your shipping method and carrier
- Who will handle the preparation and labeling (you or Amazon)
If this is your first listing, log into Seller Central and head to Inventory > Manage Inventory. From there, you can add your products to your account by clicking on “Add A Product” on the top right section of the page. Once you have your first listing, you are ready to create your shipping plan.
The first step of your shipping plan is to add products. To do this, head to the “Manage Inventory” page and select the item you want to ship. Then select “Send/Replenish Inventory” from the “Action on Selected” drop-down menu.
On the “Send/Replenish Inventory” page, select either “Create a New Shipping Plan” or “Add to an Existing Shipping Plan”.
From here, confirm your ship-from address (where your shipment will be picked up) and confirm the packing type of the products you are shipping to Amazon. Then, click “Continue to Shipping Plan”.
Set the quantity
Setting your quantity is the first step to when you create your shipping plan. In this step, you create a list of the products you want to ship and specify how many of each you wish to include in your shipment.
One of two notifications may appear at this point:
Information required: more information is needed for a product. Click this tab to review any information that must be added for your shipping plan.
Removal required: this item must be removed from the shipping plan. Click this tab to remove any products that must be removed.
Remember, Amazon has strict FBA guidelines. Failure to comply with FBA product preparation requirements, safety requirements, and restrictions may result in disposal of your products, blocking of future shipments, and more.
After you have made the necessary adjustments, click “Continue”.
Prepare the products
Amazon requires products to be prepared to their standards. Some products require specific preparation according to Amazon FBA standards.
If you choose to have Amazon prepare and label your products, you will still need to safely ship them to an FBA warehouse. If you did not choose to have Amazon prepare and label your products, you will have to follow these FBA prep requirements.
Some products set with preparation requirements may be required to be prepared using:
- Poly bags
- Bubble wrap
- Opaque bags
Amazon uses a barcode system to store and track their products. Each product you send to an Amazon warehouse requires a barcode so it can be tracked.
Amazon gives you the following three options for labeling your products:
- Use existing UPC or EAN barcodes for eligible products
- Affix Amazon barcodes directly to the product or packaging material
- Use the FBA Label Service to apply barcodes to your products for a per-item fee
The “Labeling Required” tab lists all the products in your shipping plan that require Amazon barcodes.
If you chose Amazon to label your products in the “Who Labels” column, you must use the FBA Label Service. The per-item label fee will appear in the “Label Cost” column. If “Merchant” is selected under the “Who Labels” column, you must label your products yourself.
Next, click “Print Labels For This Page” and make your selections. A PDF will then be created. Make sure you use the correct label stock for your printer, as well as ensuring your printer as a resolution of 300 DPI or greater.
Review shipment details
Carefully review your shipment. On this page, you can review and approve your shipment. On the “Review Shipment” page, the information provided includes:
- Shipment name
- Shipment ID
- MSKUS (unique product identifiers)
- Ship to
Carefully review each section and remember that if you make any changes here, it will impact your packing list. It’s best to print packing lists after you approve your shipping plan. Once you approve your shipment, the page will be renamed to “View Shipment”.
From here, click “Work On Shipment”.
On the “Prepare Shipment” page, you can:
- Select your shipping method and carrier
- Determine the number of boxes required for shipping
- Schedule and pay for the shipment
- Print box labels
You can also make small changes to your shipping plan. There is a limit to the number of minor modifications you can make, and in some cases, it’s better to cancel or recreate the plan, or delete the shipment.
Remember to check your shipment requirements prior to shipping.
Summary of shipment
The “Summary” page is the last step in the Shipping Plan. It provides an overview of your shipping plan, tracking tools for you to use, and the plan’s receivement status. Once the product is in a received status, it will be live on your listing and available for purchase.
Shipping to Amazon FBA may seem daunting at first, but Amazon has many resources to help you along the way. Our team at Welke Custom Brokers is always available to answer any Amazon FBA questions you may have.