Amazon has opened its doors to Australians for over a year now, and many sellers have had to wait a long time for its Fulfilled by Amazon feature, where their products can be packed and shipped directly from Amazon's fulfillment centre, under the Prime programme. This blog post runs through some of our knowledge and tips on how to prepare your products to be Amazon FBA ready.
What is Fulfilled by Amazon?
The FBA program is an alternate selling channel available to Amazon sellers. While normal sellers can list and fulfill products on their Amazon store, Amazon also offers to fulfill the products and handle pick, pack, ship, & returns as an added service. In Australia, the FBA Amazon fees are based on fulfilling & selling fees, just like any other online marketplace. Think of your Amazon FBA store as a 'second store', where you have to maintain the inventory, but the shipping and customer service is handled by Amazon.
So how does FBA work? You store your SKUs at Amazon's warehouse, and when a customer places an order for that product, Amazon does the picking, packing, and shipping to the customer for you. If they decide to return the item, Amazon handles the restocking at its warehouse.
I'm ready to sell on Amazon FBA, how do I prepare my SKUs to be Amazon FBA ready?
Amazon has very strict packaging and labeling requirements, and that is because the FBA service only works if the SKUs are labelled correctly, and are easily located, and be picked & packed in Amazon's tightly run warehouse.
Failure to comply with FBA product preparation requirements, safety requirements, and product restrictions may result in the refusal of inventory at the Amazon fulfilment centre, disposal or return of inventory, blocking of future deliveries to the fulfilment centre, or charging for preparation or for non-compliance at the fulfilment centre.
Amazon Australia also has restrictions on FBA products, so before listing or getting your products ready, read through this list to check your products are FBA eligible.
FNSKUs are Fulfillment Network SKUs, which are identifiable product codes associated with each of your SKU that is at Amazon FBA center. Amazon FBA requires each of your SKU to have a unique FNSKU, and must have an individual external barcode or scanable label. The barcodes can be obtained in the Amazon FBA seller centre, or obtained from your supplier. Make sure your barcodes also follow FBA requirements.
Amazon FBA requires different packaging to be applied for different types of products. We recommend checking out this official guide from Amazon FBA AU to see which requirements are applicable to you.
Here are several types of products and their corresponding packaging requirements from the above link:
Each unit, including multiple-volume set book publications, must be contained within a single, secure package.
- Amazon does not accept units that would require Amazon to assemble multiple pieces (for example, wheel barrows where the handles and legs are separate but are sold as one piece).
- Units that are not contained in secure packaging (like loose sleeves or pouches), require bagging or need to be secured with a non-adhesive band or removable tape.
- Footwear, regardless of material, must be packaged with no shoe material exposed, either in shoe boxes or bagged in a poly bag with a suffocation warning.
- Watch this brief video for examples of how to prepare your products for delivery to and storage at Amazon fulfilment centres.
Sold as a set
Units that are sets (for example, a NASCAR set of six unique Hotwheel cars, sold as one unit) must be marked as sets on their packaging. Add a label to the unit that clearly states that the products are to be received and sold as a single unit. For example, Sold as a set, Ready to ship, or This is a set. Do not separate.
- Must be six-sided.
- Must have openings or a lid that will not easily open on its own. If the box can easily open on its own, then tape, glue, or staples must be used to keep it closed.
- Must not collapse when medium pressure is applied to any of the sides.
- If the boxed unit has perforated sides or openings, the product must pass a 3-foot (91.44 cm) drop test, consisting of one drop on each side, and one drop on a corner. If the product does not pass the drop test, it must be placed in a poly-bag with a suffocation warning.
Poly bags used to protect units must meet the following requirements:
- Poly bags with a 12.7 cm opening or larger (measured when flat) are required to have a suffocation warning, either printed on the bag itself or attached as a label.
- The thickness of the bag must be at least 0.003 cm.
- The poly bag must be transparent.
- The poly bag must have a barcode (UPC, EAN, and so on) or X00 label that is scannable through the bag or have an X00- or ASIN-label on the outside of the bag.
- Poly bags must be completely sealed.
- Poly bag or shrink wrap must not protrude more than 0.007 cm past the dimensions of the product.
- All products in box will have a matching SKU and condition and will have been previously packaged together by the manufacturer.
- All boxes of the same product will contain equal quantities of that product in each box. For example, a case-pack of 24 units must always contain 24 units.
- The case pack limit is 150 units per case.
- While receiving this type of delivery, the fulfilment centre scans one unit from the box and the box is placed in inventory. There is no need to scan every unit because they are all the same.
- In some cases, a manufacturer or distributor may package more than one case-pack into a larger box called a master carton. Master cartons do not qualify as a case-pack and must be split at the appropriate case-pack level.
- Products that expire must include the expiry date on the master carton in 36+ point font and on the individual units. Lot numbers alone are insufficient.
- Expiry dates must be displayed in the format or MM-YYYY. If the expiry date is printed in a different format, a sticker with the correct format must be applied, covering the original expiry date.
- Products that expire and are contained in packaging that requires additional prep, such as glass jars or bottles, must be prepped to ensure that the expiry date is accessible for Amazon associates during the receive process.
- For more information about requirements for products with expiry dates, please review FBA product restrictions-date and temperature-sensitive products.
Final words for Amazon FBA Australia sellers
Packaging and labeling is one of the most important aspects of prepping and selling your products on Amazon FBA. Incorrect packaging and labeling will result in your consignment being turned away by Amazon FBA centre, and thus leaving you with inventory without a storage facility. If your goods are perishable, this can lead to considerable inventory damage or even loss.
There are three options for sellers to be 100% compliant with Amazon FBA requirements:
- Add the packaging and labeling requirements at supplier (you are responsible)
- Add the packaging and labeling requirements at Amazon (Amazon is responsible, but at an extra charge per SKU unit)
- Add the packaging and labeling requirements at a third party service (not recommended as this may costs you a lot more in transport fees)
Whichever method you choose, ensure that all your SKUs and product units are eligible, ready, properly packaged and labelled before getting them to an Amazon Australia warehouse.
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