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 Amazon Packaging Requirements For FBA And FBM Sellers [2024]

 amazon-packaging-requirements-for-fba-and-fbm-sellers-[2024]
 Amazon Packaging Requirements For FBA And FBM Sellers [2024]

Amazon

Amazon Packaging Requirements for FBA and FBM Sellers [2024]


By Tinuiti Team

Imagine you’re ordering a new cutting-edge electric shaver, and you’re really excited about it. But when it arrives, your heart sinks.

The box looks like it’s been used to transport wild animals. When you open the lid, the shaver lies at the very bottom with just a brown crinkled paper to shield it from apparent MMA moves during transit.

Not exactly a great buying experience.

Today, we’re going to cover the reasons why Amazon packaging matters for both FBA and FBM sellers, and how to ship successfully to keep products safe and customers happy. 

Why Does Amazon Packaging Matter?

Even if brand isn’t the #1 selling factor on Amazon, you can bet your customers are paying attention to the packaging for your items. And if it’s bad, it could result in negative seller reviews.

Here are a few more reasons why Amazon packaging is important:

  • Amazon returns inadequate FBA shipments
  • Bad packaging can result in damaged products
  • Improper packaging can damage your relationship with Amazon
  • Overpackaging is a waste of materials and money
  • You don’t want to be featured on the “Packaging Fail” Subreddit
  • Poor packaging can negatively impact your ratings
amazon packaging requirements

Of course, for drop shippers, it’s hard to control the packaging. That’s why most successful sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) for top selling products.

But even if you’re using FBA for some or all of your products, you’ll still need to know the packaging rules and regulations for those shipments to Amazon.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Amazon Packaging Requirements for FBA

As we mentioned before, it’s important not to get sloppy with FBA packaging.

Just because Amazon isn’t the final destination for your products doesn’t mean you have full license to send everything in a giant duct-taped mass of bubble wrap.

On a now removed Help page, Amazon gave a stern warning for those who don’t comply with product prep requirements: “Failure to comply with FBA product preparation requirements, safety requirements, and product restrictions may result in the refusal of inventory at the Amazon fulfillment center, disposal or return of inventory, blocking of future shipments to the fulfillment center, or charging for preparation or for noncompliance at the fulfillment center.”

So let’s start with something basic yet incredibly important. How will Amazon recognize your products when you send them in?

Label Requirements for FBA Sellers

Once you ship your products off to the warehouse, the Amazon team should be able to quickly identify which unique products belong to you.

If you opt into “Stickerless Commingled Inventory,” where your products get mixed with other sellers’ products in one bin, you should use UPCs, ISBNs, or the lesser-known EAN.

“Labeled” or “Stickered” Inventory, on the other hand, means your inventory is kept separate from other sellers’ products—and is assigned a “Fulfillment Network SKU” (FNSKU) to tie back to your seller’s account.

Here are the requirements for both…

Manufacturer Barcode or Amazon Barcode:

  • You will need a manufacturer barcode (e.g., GCID, UPC, EAN, or ISBN), unless you change your barcode setting to use the ASIN assigned to your product by Amazon.
  • All FBA sellers must use unique barcodes/SKUs for each unique unit and product type (size, color).
  • FBA sellers should opt into using FNSKUs for quality control reasons. The Amazon barcode will ensure that your inventory isn’t mixed with products from other sellers. Amazon may send a product with the same manufacturer barcode to customers if they’re closer to an Amazon fulfillment center.
  • You can use FNSKUs instead of the manufacturer barcode. If your product doesn’t have a manufacturer barcode (for example, handmade products), you can apply for a GTIN Exemption.
  • A unit that falls under multiple categories must be prepped according to all applicable prep types.
  • Any FNSKU you use on a unit must be unique and correspond to one unique product. For example, each assortment type, such as size or color, will have a different FNSKU.
  • Each unit must have an exterior scannable barcode or label (which includes a scannable barcode and the corresponding human-readable numbers) that is easily accessible.

Address Label:

  • Ensure you include an address label that has delivery/return info.

Handling Labels:

  • Include a Team Lift label if your box is heavier than 50 lbs and a Mech lift label if your box is heavier than 100 lbs.

Label Quality:

  • Labels need to be high quality with no smudges and easy to read, made from high-quality material.
  • Must have the correct quantity of items contained within.
  • Double-check accuracy of labels – Ensure it matches the unit before sending.
  • For Labeled Inventory, use one FNSKU.
  • For qualifying Stickerless, Commingled Inventory, use one UPC, ISBN, or EAN.
  • Remove or cover scannable barcodes on the outside of a carton that includes multiple units. Only the individual units within the carton can have scannable barcodes.

Packaging Requirements for FBA

Shipping Boxes

  • Amazon does not accept loose products; they must be packaged in a box and/or polybag.
  • You must use Slotted Cartons, which are standard cardboard boxes with flaps that fold over each other for closure, or Corrugated Carton Boxes, which are made from corrugated cardboard and are rated based on their strength.
  • Dimensions: Each side of the box should not be larger than 25 inches, unless you are selling oversize units. Must be a six-sided box with no funky shapes.
  • Weight Limit: For standard weight, no more than 50 lbs (for jewelry and watches, 40 lbs). If you exceed this, you need to add a team lift (50-99 lbs) or Mech lift (100+ lbs). This is only valid for individual units heavier than 50 lb or larger than 25 inches.
  • Barcode Removal: Any old barcodes on boxes you are reusing need to either be removed or have the codes covered up with tape or black marker to ensure they can’t be scanned.
  • Box Securing: Tape boxes using tape designed for shipping. The box must be sturdy enough to not collapse under a fair amount of pressure.
  • Cushioning: Use approved packaging materials such as bubble wrap, sheets of paper, air pillows, or polyethylene foam. Packing peanuts, foam strips, crinkle wrap, shredded paper, thermocol chips, and styrofoam are not allowed. Ensure proper cushioning to secure the product and survive a 3-foot drop.
  • FBA Box ID: When shipping multiple case packs in a larger box, apply the unique FBA Box ID shipping label on the outside of the primary box.
  • Case Packed Products: The manufacturer must package case-packed products and ensure they have the same SKUs. No more than 150 units per case.

Product Boxes

  • Durability: Any product boxes with perforation or openings must be able to endure a 3-foot drop without breaking the packaging. Packaging that fails the test must be put in a polybag.
  • Sealing: The box cannot easily open on its own and should be secured with adhesive or staples.
  • Set Marking: If you are selling units in a set, mark them as a set on their package using language like “Sold as Set, Do Not Separate,” and the package with those units must be sealed.
  • Expiration Date: If your product expires, mark the expiration date on the master carton.

Polybags

  • Requirements: Poly bags must have a 5-inch opening or larger, thickness should be at least 1.5 mm, and must be sealed. The bag can’t protrude more than 3 inches past the dimensions of the product.
  • Suffocation Warning: Must include a suffocation warning with specific font sizes based on the size of the bag.
  • Transparency: Bags must be transparent (except for adult products, which should use opaque black poly bags).
  • Barcode: The bag either needs a scannable barcode (or X00 label) outside the bag or clearly visible through the bag.

Items Sold as Sets

  • If selling multiple products in a single package, they must be packaged with a sticker that reads “Sold as Set, Do Not Separate” or similar language. Do not make individual product codes visible, only a single barcode associated with the set of products.

FBA Product Packaging & Label Requirements

Packaging Requirements:

  • Each individual unit needs to be sold in a single package and cannot require any assembly.
  • Products need to be bagged or secured with tape.
  • Any seller using poly bags must add a suffocation warning.
  • If you sell footwear, it must be contained in a shoebox or a poly bag – can’t be put directly in a box with shoe material exposed.
  • Apparel also must be secured in a poly bag before shipping.

Product Labeling:

  • Product labels should contain the quantity of the product, weight, gross weight, box size, box number, and country of origin (if your product was not manufactured domestically).
  • Product Title: Must have the same product title, no longer than 50 characters. Capitalize the first letter of each word. Do not use all caps, symbols, special characters, or promotional titles.
  • Barcode: Cover the types of product barcodes – Manufacturer barcodes or Amazon barcodes (FNSKU).
  • Sold as Set Labels: If selling products in a set, ensure it is labeled as “Sold as Set.”
  • Suffocation Warning: Add a suffocation warning label if your products are contained in a bag with a 5-inch opening or larger.
  • Stick labels on the product-level package in an orderly fashion that is not near the packing tape and with no overlap. Stick them at least 2 cm away from box edges away from seams.
  • As always, double-check the accuracy of labels.

If you’re not sure where to buy these packing, labeling, and shipping materials, visit UPS, FedEx, or USPS. If you’re sending products to FBA, these shipping providers may even provide a limited quantity of materials for free.

FBA Packaging Checklist

Now you’re onto the final part of packaging for FBA: the packaging checklist.

Just remember, once everything is boxed up, you should not include marketing materials and expect Amazon to ship them with your products. Additionally, Amazon requires that you use only safety blades while packing so that you don’t accidentally let a blade slip through that could injure an unsuspecting employee.

FBA Shipping Requirements

Now that your product is properly packaged, it’s time to ship. Inform Amazon of which products you’re sending, how many, and how many to expect in each box through Seller Central. There are three types of shipping methods available:

Small Parcel:

  • Definition: Small parcel shipping involves shipping packages that are small enough to be handled individually and typically do not require palletization.
  • Process: For small parcel, just ensure everything is packaged correctly and arrange to ship it with the carrier you chose for your carrier label.

Less Than Truckload (LTL):

  • Definition: Less than truckload shipping involves shipping goods that do not require the entire capacity of a truck trailer.
  • Process: Follow instructions provided by Amazon for preparing and shipping LTL shipments.

Full Truckload (FTL):

  • Definition: Full truckload shipping involves shipping goods that require the entire capacity of a truck trailer.
  • Process: Follow instructions provided by Amazon for preparing and shipping FTL shipments.

Basic Pallet Requirements

Pallet Types:

  • Sellers should use GMA Standard B Grade Pallet by default.
  • If you sell grocery products, use GMA 1A.
  • If you sell health, personal care, or beauty, use GMA 1A or 1B.

Pallet Specifications:

  • Pallets should be made of wood and measure 40 x 48 inches.
  • If your products are too large for a 40 x 48 inch pallet, you may use a larger pallet.
  • Max weight of 1,500 lbs.
  • Max height of 72 inches for single pallets, 100 inches for stackable pallets (50 inches per pallet).
  • Make sure the pallets are in good condition.

Pallet Stacking:

  • Stack boxes on the pallets so the heaviest items are on the bottom of the pallet.
  • Place the boxes so the labels face outward on each box.
  • Boxes cannot hang over pallet by more than 2.5 cm.
  • All pallets must be stretch wrapped using clear plastic.

Pallet Label Requirements

  • Pallets require special Pallet Labels.
  • Every pallet needs 4 visible labels, one on the top center of each side.
  • All pallets need a label on the stretch wrap with language like “Do Not Break” or “Do Not Break Stretch Wrap”.
  • If you’re only shipping a single ASIN, use a Single ASIN Pallet Label.
  • As always, ensure your labels are correct and high quality.

Amazon Shipping & Packaging Requirements for FBM

FBM is really where the packaging “rubber” hits the road because the seller (or drop shipper) is solely responsible for what shows up on the customer’s doorstep.

The thing is, Amazon won’t see your packages when they go out. They won’t know if you don’t use metered postage when you should or neatly print out your customer’s complete address. However, they will know if the customer leaves a negative review about your products, and if your packaging is to blame, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.

This is why communication with Amazon is key, and it’s very important to keep track of your packages so you don’t lose any customers due to late shipments or damaged packaging.

Follow these steps to ensure you’re adhering to the best practices and Amazon Shipping & Packaging Requirements for FBM… 

Setting Up Shipping Template:

  • Start by setting up a shipping template in Seller Central to indicate:
    • Product information.
    • Shipping methods.
    • How long it will take for you to handle the product.

Packaging Guidelines:

  • No Marketing Materials: Remember you cannot include marketing materials in your boxes – only the product and necessary packaging/packing slips.
  • Follow Best Practices: While there aren’t strict rules, you may still want to follow some of the packing and shipping guidelines that are given to FBA sellers since they’re designed to ensure the best customer experience.
  • Ensure Product Safety: For example, make sure your product survives the drop test, have plenty of cushioning, etc. These practices not only protect your product during transit but also enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring they receive items in good condition.

Conclusion

Selling on Amazon can be complex, and even small mistakes in packaging, labeling, or shipping can have significant consequences. Mistakes can result in warnings or sanctions that can interrupt your business operations, or even worse, lead to customer dissatisfaction if items are damaged.

At Tinuiti, our Amazon experts can provide support to ensure you’re doing everything right from a marketing perspective. With our expertise, we can help you navigate the complexities of selling on Amazon, minimize the risk of mistakes, and optimize your performance on the platform. Contact us today to get started.

This article originally appeared on Tinuiti Blog and is available here for further discovery.
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