All you need to know about Amazon packaging and labeling.
Packaging for Amazon and getting it labeled correctly for Amazon FBA standard size can be rather confusing, especially if it's your first time. You may wonder what are the requirements for Amazon FBA? In this article we're going to talk about how to properly package and label your products from beginning to end. So you don't get your inventory rejected or subjected to penalty fees. The first thing, take a look at the Amazon packaging and labeling guidelines, so we can follow them.
Additional reading: What is an Amazon FBA business?
Three main types of packaging that you're going to encounter are:
Which one you choose should suit the product as far as protecting it from damage, for example a box can be a custom designed box or a generic plain cardboard box. If you believe a custom designed package will add value to your product then you should consider it.
Products that don't need to come in a box can be put in what's called a poly bag. They are general plain clear poly bags as well as designer bags and bags with insert cards in them to add up value.
Then there are blister packs. Some products are best suited for this type of packaging. You can show the contents like a toothbrush or a pack of markers, pens.
No matter which type of packaging you go with that's included. The unit must be contained within the package as you know Amazon will not accept loose items or if your product comes in multiple pieces.
When it comes to boxes you want to make sure that it meets these requirements. The box dimensions for Amazon FBA must be six-sided and must have openings or a lid that will not be easily open on its own and if it can, it must be taped or glued or stapled shut. It cannot break when medium force is applied to any of its sides.
If the box unit has penetrated size or openings, it is essential that the product pass a three-foot drop test consisting of one drop on each side and one drop on the corner. If the product does not pass the drop test then it must be placed in a polybag with a suffocation warning.
If your product goes in a polybag where the opening is at least five inches or bigger, it requires having a suffocation warning on it. It needs to either be printed on it or attached as a sticker. If you do not do this, it may cause the items to be re-bag which will incur more fees.
The warning should be published or set in a prominent location and in readable font size for the bag. The thickness of the bag should be at least 1.5 mil. The bag must be transparent and must have the barcode meaning the UPC or FNSKU barcode in a scannable location through the bag or on the outside of the bag must be entirely sealed, and the bag must not protrude more than three inches past the dimensions of the product.
If your product does have multiple pieces it should all be contained within one package and a pro-tip here is always double-check the overall size of your packaging. So that it doesn't bump your product into the next sized Amazon fee tier. If you need to stay within the limited standard size tier your product needs to be within these size constraints. If your packaging does not meet these requirements it will strike you into the next size tier which will increase your fees.
It's crucial that you get the following labels done correctly. If you are importing your products from outside the U.S. by law it needs to be on every single unit. If your product is coming from for example China all units need to have made in China on it.
Every unit needs to have a barcode on it. If you're doing a private label it is always recommended to put FNSKU on every unit, not the UPC barcode. Applying the FNSKU it keeps the possibility of your units being co-mingled with another seller's units.
You can get the FNSKU from the manage inventory page by clicking the drop-down menu and going to print item labels or while you're creating a shipping plan if you choose who labels as merchant meaning you're going to label your units you get the option here to print the FNSKU labels. By selecting print you're actually going to save it as a pdf, so you can email it to your supplier, and they can put it on each one of your products.
One important thing to note the FNSKU must be on the outermost packaging, so that it can be scanned easily and there can only be one visible barcode. If for whatever reason there are other barcodes visible on your package you need to cover those other barcodes with a sticker.
If you're having a custom package design you can have the country of origin and the FNSKU incorporated into the package design so that they can be directly printed onto the box instead of using a sticker. If you're using a sticker, you can add the country of origin and FNSKU onto one sticker. In this way, you can save costs and make the packaging look cleaner.
If for whatever reason your supplier can't do the labeling for you, or you don't want them to do so you can have Amazon do it, but it'll cost you 30 cents a unit.
You want to make sure that your product is correctly labeled because if you send them to Amazon, and if they're incorrectly labeled or missing, Amazon will charge you to fix them. They're called unplanned service fees. For example, if the label is missing or incorrectly labeled they're going to charge you a penalty fee to fix it and if you continue to keep doing it that penalty fee goes up. There are a few other labels that have specific guidelines such as expiration dates.
Additional reading: FBA or FBM: Which One Is The Best Practice?
The requirement for the shipping cartons is what your supplier is going to ship your products to Amazon. If you ordered a thousand units of can openers then how are those 1000 units going to be packaged up and labeled for shipping to Amazon. Now for most people starting out you're going to be shipping using SPD or small parcel delivery option. You have to make sure your shipping cartons meet these requirements. They must not weigh more than 50 pounds, cannot exceed 25 inches on any side and for partnered carrier shipments a maximum of 200 units per carton and 500 units per carton for non-partnered carrier shipments.
Amazon makes so much volume they have worked out deals for domestic shipments within the US where you can save a lot of money versus arranging the shipment yourself through UPS, FedEx or DHL. If you are shipping domestically to Amazon's fulfillment centers then definitely take benefit of the partnered carrier program. The Amazon partner SPD carrier program gives deep discounted rates and the costs are set up to your account as an inbound transportation charge. You can choose that by selecting Amazon partnered carrier program.
Now there are two labels that need to go on them, and they're both called shipping labels. This is the reason this part is often a cause for confusion for all shipments going to Amazon. Amazon requires that you create what's called a shipping plan.
The shipping plan lets Amazon realize what you are shipping in, and the shipping plan will instruct you which fulfillment centers to ship to and print out the subsequent shipping labels to put on the shipping cartons.
Amazon shipping labels are simple to identify the shipping cartons when they reach Amazon. They know what it is and who they belong to. When you finish your shipping plan you can download these shipping labels and email them to your supplier, so they can place them on your shipping cartons.
If you're shipping multiple boxes of different products or quantities for example you want to make sure that the correct labels go on the corresponding shipping cartons, so they go to the right fulfillment center.
To ship your Amazon products you have to arrange a shipment with a shipping carrier like ups, FedEx or DHL. They will give you their own shipping labels.
So these labels also need to go on each one of your shipping cartons but you most likely won't be dealing with these because your supplier or freight forwarder will set up the shipment, and they will generate these labels and place them on the cartons for you.
Amazon Fulfillment Packaging and Labels
Lastly the final form of packaging and labelling is how your product will ship to your customers. If you are doing Amazon FBA, Amazon will manage all the packaging and labeling for you. When people buy your product, Amazon will pick your product off the shelf put it in a shipping box or soft envelope and label it for shipping. You don't need to handle any part of this final step.
Setting up a successful Amazon FBA business involves more than just sourcing great products. It's about ensuring that these products reach your customers smoothly and efficiently. One critical aspect of this process is getting your FBA shipping labels right.
Here's a checklist for Amazon Barcode labeling requirements:
1. Include country origin on every unit if imported.
2. Apply a barcode on each unit; preferably the FNSKU for private label products.
3. Ensure the FNSKU barcode is on the outermost packaging.
4. Confirm that there is only one visible barcode on the package.
5. Access the FNSKU from the manage inventory page or during shipping plan creation.
6. Print the FNSKU labels as a PDF for suppliers to apply.
7. Ensure correct labeling to avoid Amazon's unplanned service fees.
Additional reading: Improve Your Amazon FBA Margins with Automated PPC and FBA Reimbursements.
It's important that once you've decided on how you want to package your products, you refer to these guidelines to make sure that you're following what's laid out for your packaging type.
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