How to prepare your Amazon FBA shipment | Checklist
Having your shipment rejected at Amazon’s door can be a costly experience that can significantly hurt your business. Amazon has dozens of prep requirements for Amazon FBA Sellers under their Terms of Services which all sellers need to comply with.
Returning the items to a US prep center for a second round of prepping, paying the couriers to bring the goods back to the prep center and then back again to Amazon are just some of the elements that brings down profit margins after a shipment has been rejected.
By ensuring a 100% Amazon compliant shipment before departure you're already way ahead of your competitors. Not only do you save costs by not having to re-pack and relabel your boxes, but more importantly, you avoid having Amazon reject your goods at the door.
Here are the most important prep requirements for Amazon FBA sellers who want to ship from China to Amazon’s fulfillment center anywhere in the world.
- Shipping cartons should be double wall, corrugated cardboard, preferably reinforced on sides and corners
- Cartons should not exceed 25 inches (62 cm) on any side unless the product package exceeds this limit
- Carton weight must not exceed 50 lbs (22.73 kgs)
- Items in poly bags with an opening greater than 5 inches (12.5 cm) need a suffocation warning label either printed on the bag, or applied to the bag with a sticker
- Shipping marks should include brand name, item description, carton weight and dimensions, unit count, carton number, and total number of cartons
- Carton should not contain more than 150 units of the same sku
- All units must contain a scannable barcode. FBA Transport may apply these barcodes after picking up your goods from your supplier. Alternatively, Amazon can do this upon reception of your goods, although at a higher price point.
- All units must contain a label of origin i.e."Made in China"
How should you prepare your shipment?
There are many ways to prepare your shipment, but each way has it's benefits and cons. Here we will talk about the benefits and the cons with the most common ways to prepare a shipment:
1. Prep the products yourself
The main advantage with this approach is that you are in full control of the prep process. You can ensure 100% compliance without worrying about wrong labeling or damaged boxes.
The disadvantage is that it can be costly and time consuming. Firstly you'll end up shipping the products to you before shipping to Amazon, instead of shipping directly to Amazon from China.
You will also need to purchase prep material and apply all labels to each unit manually. We therefore think this approach is outdated as the market is becoming more competitive. Speed to market and being competitive on price is crucial if you want to make it a success.
2. Have a prep center in the US prepare the shipment:
The main advantage is that you likely are in safe hands. Most US prep centers are familiar with all the prep requirements for Amazon FBA sellers.
The main disadvantage is that prep centers in the US are costly. FNSKU labeling can cost until $0.35/unit.
You are additionally forced to pay for shipping from China to the prep center, and then pay for trucking from the prep center to Amazon, instead of shipping directly from China to Amazon. This approach is likely better than preparing the units yourself, but it is still less optimal then option 3.
3. Have your supplier prepare the shipment:
The advantages with this approach are many. Firstly, most suppliers are willing to prep the products for free if negotiated. This means that you might be able to reduce your prep cost down to zero.
Second, by having the goods prepped before arrival you can now ship the products directly to Amazon's warehouse from China, without any middle stop. These two factors can lead to huge savings, especially for larger shipments.
The disadvantage with this approach is that you have no guarantee that your supplier has fully complied with all of Amazon's TOS unless you have worked with he supplier before. In this case we recommend that you conduct a pre-shipment inspection for FBA in China before departure.
Amazon has many prep requirements for Amazon FBA sellers.
It is important to ensure that your shipments are fully FBA compliant and that they meet with these requirements to avoid rejection at Amazon's door.
There are many ways to prepare your FBA shipments. However, the most economical is having your supplier deal with all the prep. If negotiated, you can in many cases have your supplier prep the shipments for free.
To ensure correct labeling and to avoid sending damaged or defective products we recommend conducting a pre-shipment inspection tailored for FBA sellers.
Important note: Different products require different prep work. The list above only contains the elements that is mutual for all FBA sellers. You can download our Amazon prep guide in the bottom of the page.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below and start a discussion.